Exclusive first look at Disney’s new Star Wars ride Rise of the Resistance – The Sun

AS our droid-piloted space vehicle spins into a huge hangar occupied by two full-size AT-AT walkers, the whoops from the passengers almost drown out the sound of imperial laser blasters being fired in our direction by a squadron of First Order stormtroopers.

It’s just one of many jaw-dropping moments in Rise of the Resistance – the new showpiece attraction at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s $1billion (£0.77billion) new “land” at its two US theme parks (the California version of the ride opens in January).

Visitors to Galaxy’s Edge were already able to pilot the Millennium Falcon on Smuggler’s Run, a thrilling flight-simulator ride in which groups of six enter the famous cockpit and team up to fly the legendary “piece of junk” through asteroid fields and other galactic hazards.

But at well over 15 minutes long, Rise of the Resistance is a much more impressive and ambitious attraction.

The fun starts in the queue, where a hologram of heroine Rey addresses the room, helped by an excited BB8.

Rey explains that her friend Finn has infiltrated a First Order Destroyer and we’re going to help the Resistance forces escape the clutches of the baddies.

The next section sees us herded on to a shuttle ship which is, surprise surprise, captured by Kylo Ren’s forces.

As the ship is boarded by evil looking actors in grey uniforms, we are ushered into a vast holding bay with a huge platoon of animatronic stormtroopers glaring at us, with subtle movements of their heads adding a satisfying level of menace.

It's a spectacle which places us straight into a Star Wars movie, and the backdrop of a huge window looking out to space is nerve-tingling.

But it’s the last, and longest, stage of the ride which really knocks the passengers' socks off.

Our vehicle is chased around the ship by a terrifying Kylo Ren, sometimes a projection, sometimes an animatronic figure.

He comes at us from every angle and when our droid pilot takes us into an elevator to escape Ren’s clutches, he tries to cut his way in using his light saber.

Using a mixture of movement, flight simulation and dazzling sound and effects, the ride hurtles along at a frenetic pace until we find ourselves plummeting through space dodging Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers.

There are so many wonderful details, which vary according to which car you get in, so it is impossible to list them all here.

But it’s a ride which has raised the bar for theme parks and will leave Star Wars fans wanting to ride over and over again.

The Sun also had a first look at the new Millennium Falcon ride when it launched earlier this year.

When the ride launched, fans queued overnight and then faced a three hour wait to get on it.

There's a lot of speculation around Rise of the Resistance, including rumours that the ride could be as long as 28 minutes.

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