If you have not yet read part one of my guide to Disney’s attempt to bring the galaxy far, far away to Earth, then please do so. Check out Part I of the “A Star Trek Fan’s Tour of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”
This ride has been around for a while. My family and I rode it back in 2013 when we came to Disney. And I must give Disney a lot of credit — they have spent money upgrading this ride. Rather than let it be a part of the Rebellion like it used to be, the “Star Tours” ride now is a part of the Resistance. This change reflects the storyline from the most recent Wars movies. They also spent the big bucks to bring in Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), who played a small but fun part in the ride.
The ride itself is a motion simulator, which can accept 40 passengers. The story goes that the guests on the ride are part of a mission for the Resistance. C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) is the pilot and host of the ride. I wondered if Disney also had Mr. Daniels come in and re-record his lines for this latest ride refresh… I cannot say for sure.
When we went a few weeks ago, there was just a ten-minute wait. And it was well worth the short line. One of the changes I noticed was that they took out the Speeder Bike (as seen in Return of the Jedi on Endor), which was fun to sit on and pose for pictures. The giant AT-AT walker is still there.
One reason for the short line could be that “Star Tours” is not grouped with the other Galaxy’s Edge attractions.
This is the ride created around missions like what Han Solo and Calrissian might be involved in. When we went, the line was at least one hour long. But the cool thing was, the line was set up to wind guests around a scale model of the Millennium Falcon ship. Now that was pretty fun!
The ride itself was … OK. Like “Star Tours,” the “Smuggler’s Run” was a motion simulator, and riders sat in the cockpit of the Falcon for the adventure. The ride, inside and out, was constructed as if you were really on Tatooine or another Star Wars planet.
But honestly, it felt like there was too much going on to enjoy the ride. Passengers were supposed to be pressing buttons as the ride went on, but I felt like that distracted from everything. I didn’t know what was going on.
“Smuggler’s Run” was fun, but I would not wait in an hour line for it again.
Rise of the Resistance
Wow. Now, this ride is incredible. We waited in an hour and a half line for this one, and I would wait in a line that long again. Disney went above and beyond for “Rise of the Resistance.” It is entirely immersive. Just when you think you’re done with the ride, it turns into an experience.
It’s unlike anything else out there. It combines live-action, animatronics, motion simulation, 3D screen projections, and actual drops. I can’t be sure, but it felt like we were on that ride for about 20 minutes.
And, yes, while I was there, I wore my yellow command Trek tee, and I got harassed by several Disney employees.
One fun item — the character General Hux plays a pretty major role on this ride. Hux was portrayed in the films by actor Domhnall Gleeson, who returned to play Hux for the ride. I wonder how much Gleeson makes on playing characters on these theme park rides, as he also appears as Bill on the “Escape from Gringotts” ride at Universal Studios.
Even though I likely don’t know you, I won’t give away too much about this ride. I will only tell you that it is probably one of the most incredible theme park ride/experiences ever created. This is based on my experience living near two major attractions (Busch Gardens Williamsburg and King’s Dominion) and a week at Universal Studios.
There might be better rides out there — this is not a roller coaster — but nothing combines all that I listed above into a singular experience like “Rise of the Resistance.” Just go ride it for yourself.