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After several months of anticipation, Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy Edge experience will be fully operational come tomorrow, Jan. 17, with the debut of its flagship attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The immersive, multi-part thrill ride takes guests (or in this case, newly recruited Resistance fighters) from Batuu up to space, onto a First Order Destroyer, into the middle of a battle, and then back to the rebel base. While the ride has been up-and-running in Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort since summer of 2019, Star Wars fans on the west coast have had to wait patiently to see what all the hype is about.
SYFY WIRE was invited with other select media to talk with Imagineers behind the Galaxy's Edge world, and then experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance the day before its official launch to the public. To start, Scott Trowbridge, Park Creative Executive for Disneyland at Walt Disney Imagineering, hosted a brief panel with his Imagineering peers on the project: Margaret Kerrison (Managing Story Editor), John Larena (Executive Creative Director), Kirstin Makela (Art Director), and Anisha Deshmane (Assistant Producer).
In particular, Makela explained that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is essentially the connective experience that ties together the three, separate visual and narrative environments of Galaxy's Edge: the ancient history of Batuu and its civilizations, the makeshift Resistance outpost, and the sleek First Order aesthetic. "As there is balance with the Force, so too is there balance with those aesthetics in the ride," said Makela.
While the nearly 15-minute ride itself is essentially the same as the one in Florida, Deshmane confirmed to SYFY WIRE that for fans who plan to visit both parks, "The ride queues are set up a little differently. There are certain things that you'll see in [Disneyland] that you won't see in Disney World, and things in Disney World that you won't see here. But they are one in the same in terms of storytelling." Those exact details they leave to astute fans to seek out and identify.
Where the parks hope to invigorate the experience is via their Play Disney Parks mobile app, which will now fully integrate into Disneyland's Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, as the ride's queue will add new levels of exploration and integration with the already existing Galaxy's Edge content. The app allows guests to choose to align with the Resistance or The First Order, and either choice will mean Resistance queue time is now an opportunity to reveal new secrets and goals.
Deshmane said the app will allow for the Imagineers to refresh the storyline for attendees of the parks on a micro level, while the major attractions like Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run and Rise of the Resistance remain set in their narratives for the foreseeable future.
"We're really excited for this to be the first of what we hope are many rollouts of additional content to keep the datapads fresh and updated," Deshmane enthused. "That being said, we are also excited to keep fleshing out this point in time because that is also still happening in our TV shows, and novels, and other media. You might see hints from the past and the future, but they will all exist in this time period."
Everyone in the galaxy can experience Galaxy's Edge for the first time with all sections available to the public tomorrow, Jan. 17, at Disneyland in Anaheim.
For a sneak peek at what you'll see, check out our gallery: