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Geeking Out At ‘Rise Of The Resistance’

Disneyland opens new attraction at Galaxy’s Edge

Reported by Beth Accomando

When work tells you you have to go to Disneyland to check out the new Galaxy’s Edge ride, well you make the sacrifice and go. And then you take a fellow Star Wars geek like Gary Dexter in case you run into any Imperial entanglements and end up in an interrogation chamber.

As we walked around Galaxy's Edge on our way to the new attraction, Dexter expressed a fan's appreciation for what Disney had created: "When I was 9 years old, if I'd told myself that a place like this would have existed, I just would never believe myself. It's like stepping into a video game. Everything that you see around you, Star Wars, you can't see anything in the real world except the other guests."

Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Show programmer and Disney imagineer Dani Bellar with KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando at the new Rise of the Resistance attraction at Galaxy's Edge.

That experience just goes better with the addition of a new ride called "Rise of the Resistance" that takes place in the Star Wars universe after "The Last Jedi." It is the most technologically advanced attraction in the park.

"There's a lot of conversations about what is the story we're trying to tell, what's the best way to tell it? What's the technology that tells that story?" said Dani Bellar, show programmer for "Rise of the Resistance." "And that secret is to figure out how to tell that story. So sometimes there are ideas that we don't have a way to tell. Those are for future attractions. And then there's somewhere we know exactly the technology to tell. And that's kind of the cool thing. And I hope when you ride the attraction, you guys rode it right? I hope when you ride it, you're not thinking about that technology, you're just immersed in the environment we're offering"

And we most definitely were.

"In a word it was mind-blowing," Dexter said. "It was faster than I imagined it would be. It was much, much bigger. And of course, I have no idea how they did it. And the truth is, I don't want to know either."

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

The impressive line up of Stormtroopers that await you inside the hangar at Rise of the Resistance.

"Rise of the Resistance" offers an immersive experience for park attendees but more importantly, it will allow Star Wars fans an opportunity to geek out in a galaxy that now is close enough to touch. The experience involves live actors, animatronic characters, video, massive set pieces, and more. But there are challenges to pulling something this ambitious off.

"One of the things that I say is our programming job is to deliver the creative show and make it reliable and maintainable," Bellar said. "So we build we work with our world-class maintenance teams and we start talking very early on about how can we get access to these things, how can we figure out how to make that better for them. So there's a lot of that conversation and especially on this project. They were part of our team very, very early in order to make sure that we're all talking and we're all working as one team."

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Rey greets park attendees at the beginning of the Rise of the Resistance ride.

Bellar considers herself a Star Wars nerd and liked how the story for the ride all came together.

"I really enjoy logic and how it all works together," she said. "And for me, it's the beginning of the attraction when you talk to Rey and then you go into the next step and I don't want to give too much away, but there's three or four spaces you're in before we actually put feet on a vehicle. That to me was a lot of fun working on figuring out the timing of that, how the show was going to carry through, how we have other shows that play if you get delayed in that show."

Videos to play if there are delays? That intrigued me.

"There is. There is a lot of different places in the attraction where you can be paused before you're going on the next thing and I think one of our animators said that we have animation for over an hour, you will not be in this attraction an hour but there's a lot of different paths, there's a lot of different places you can go. So I think it's a really cool opportunity to see something slightly different every time," Bellar explained.

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando and fellow Star Wars fan Gary Dexter with R2D2 at the entrance to Rise of the Resistance.

"Rise of the Resistance" opens Friday and is the latest addition to "Galaxy’s Edge," which also features the Millennium Falcon, Smuggler’s Run ride, opportunities to interact with droids through the Disneyland app, and even chances for fans to meet their heroes walking around.

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Traveling underneath a giant AT-AT was my favorite part of the new Rise of the Resistance ride at Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland.

My favorite part of the new ride was going under a pair of Imperial Walkers that convey the scale of what the Resistance is fighting against. But whether it’s escaping AT-ATs or navigating the lines at the new ride, may the Force be with you.

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KPBS arts reporter and Star Wars fan Beth Accomando went to Disneyland yesterday to check out the "Rise of the Resistance" ride that opens Jan. 17 at Galaxy’s Edge.

Aired: January 17, 2020 | Transcript

Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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