Disney’s Hollywood Studios wasn’t technically open until 9 a.m. Thursday, but that didn’t stop thousands of would-be Resistance fighters from storming the ancient ruins of Batuu for a chance to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge’s newest attraction, Rise of the Resistance.
The ride opened to the public Thursday, but guests were only able to ride if they reserved a spot in a boarding party through the virtual queue. Spots in the virtual queue, and therefore the ride’s line as a whole, were full for the day by 8:30 a.m.
The Hollywood Studios parking lot opened around 4 a.m., and guests, like John Hildebrandt and Tracey Birch from Clearwater, were able to enter the park at 5, well before the scheduled open time.
Once inside, guests used the My Disney Experience app to book their boarding party. Alicia Stella, of Orlando, said she was able to book hers as soon as she stepped through the gate. Seth Kubersky got his shortly after 5 as well. He rode by 6:30 and was able to book another trip.
Rise of the Resistance puts guests in their own Star Wars story, Disney Imagineer and Galaxy’s Edge executive producer Jon Georges said. You start in a Resistance base on the fictional planet of Batuu, then board a transport to another hidden base.
But, as is custom for most Star Wars stories, things don’t go as planned.
Your transport is captured by a First Order star destroyer and you have to escape Kylo Ren, General Hux and the First Order, with the help of Finn, Poe Dameron and, of course, BB-8.
The franchise’s new generation of stars, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleason and Adam Driver, all appear throughout the ride.
Rise of the Resistance is one of Disney’s longest and most complicated rides ever, Georges said. Guests sit in a trackless vehicle on a fast-paced multilevel escape past full-size AT-ATs, blasting turbo cannons, and get dropped from an escape pod through space and back to the surface of Batuu.
Rise of the Resistance is so unique, Georges said, it doesn’t even fall into any existing ride category.
The extensive complications of the ride system have continued to cause problems. The ride was opened to Disney cast members and members of the media throughout the week but was frequently shut down. It was no different Thursday. After the first flights launched around 6:30 a.m., the ride shut for about an hour starting at 7.
The hiccups didn’t seem to bother guests.
“This is the best ride in Orlando and possibly the best ride in the country,” Kubersky said.
According to Disney representatives, Rise of the Resistance is expected to only allow reservations via virtual queue through the next few weeks. It will then accept fast passes and have a standby line.