It’s the chain across the entrance, as well as the cast members stationed out front. But more than that, it’s Disney’s insistence on perfection as work continues on the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction at the end of this path, a project Imagineers call their most ambitious ever.
So when is Rise of the Resistance opening?
The answer gets no more definitive than “sometime this year.”
When Disney CEO Robert Iger first announced that Galaxy’s Edge would open in June, it was with the assumption that both of its marquee rides would be open as well: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
But when park officials later said Galaxy’s Edge would debut May 31 — deemed a soft opening — they made clear that Rise of the Resistance would not be ready.
It had been decided that opening without Rise was better than delaying the opening. Based on reviews and fan reactions, Disney made the right choice.
The new land has been well received. Guests have flocked to Oga’s Cantina (Disneyland’s first foray into offering alcohol to the general public) and Savi’s Workshop (build a $200 lightsaber), where two-hour lines have been common.
Waits for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, in which groups of six pilot the iconic ship on a dangerous mission, have been moderate. Waits typically are 30 to 40 minutes, and rarely longer than an hour.
But Rise of the Resistance is a different beast, a hulking rancor as opposed to the domesticated tauntaun. (Star Wars fans understand.) Its complexity is what’s causing the delay.
Those who follow Disney for a living — particularly bloggers who report on everything from queue refurbishments to the latest themed churros — speculate the ride’s many intricacies have temporarily flummoxed builders, as if the Imagineering has exceeded the technology.
When will Rise of the Resistance open?
Make no mistake, Imagineers are going to get it right. Whatever problems are holding up the ride will be solved.
But Disney won't open an attraction until officials are sure it can perform dependably. If they open it too soon and it breaks down every few hours, they'll face the dark side of social media.
When it comes to an opening date, it's no surprise that park officials stick to generalities. The official line is, "Rise of the Resistance will open this year." But we can't resist guessing when it may rise to the level of welcoming guests. Here goes.
End of August: There are two reasons why the ride could open at the end of August. First, the biennial convention for Disney superfans unfolds Aug. 23-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Officials are known for dropping big news here. Iger unveiled Galaxy’s Edge at the 2015 expo. Second, this would correlate with the Aug. 29 Galaxy’s Edge opening at Disney World in Florida. That would be some nice synchronicity.
Our odds: 3-1. This is the Star Wars horse we’d bet on in the Rise of the Resistance race.
Late September/early October: Crowds typically are lighter as summer transitions to fall and kids are back in school. Opening Rise of the Resistance now could stoke crowd levels to record highs for this period. If not, the season’s smaller crowds could help Imagineers break in the attraction slowly. Should it go down, fewer people will be there to complain on social media.
Our odds: 8-1. Hardly a long shot, but we don't feel strong about the timing.
November: What better way to fill the gap between Halloween and Christmas than the rise of Rise? As wreaths take the place of pumpkins, guests would pay scant attention to the decor as they line up for Galaxy’s Edge, which is committed to its story and should remain a holiday-free zone.
Our odds: 15-1. A dark (side) horse to be sure.
December: One would think Rise of the Resistance would open long before the first carols are sung. But the attraction's envelope-pushing technology may require extensive time to perfect. Not to be ignored: the Dec. 20 opening of the ninth and final "Star Wars" film with roots to the 1977 original. Is it merely coincidence the movie is called “The Rise of Skywalker?" Probably, but still intriguing.
Our odds: 6-1.
Who knows: Bob Iger initially said Galaxy’s Edge would open in June. We booked several hotel dates throughout that month so we’d be prepared to attend the media preview. Which was May 29.
Odds each of these guesses is wrong: Even money.
What to expect when Rise of the Resistance opens
Rise of the Resistance may be Disney’s crowning achievement after 64 years in the theme-park business. It will blend special effects, trackless vehicles and audio-animatronics.
While video screens will be part of the ride, it will rely largely on a 3D environment, including a detailed interior of a Star Destroyer that fans will swear was taken right from the big screen. It will be as much an experience as a ride.
Guests will proceed past the laser turret and into a cavern lined with horizontal ridges, the result of being carved by lasers. It leads to a briefing room inside a secret rebel base, where “recruits” are briefed by Rey (in hologram form and played by Daisy Ridley, re-creating her role from the "Star Wars" films).
The adventure begins as guests board a transport shuttle escorted by Poe (Oscar Isaac), an experienced X-Wing pilot. And, of course, things go badly.
The floor vibrates as the transport lifts off from Batuu, and it’s not long before the shuttle is pulled toward a Star Destroyer, an immense craft belonging to the evil First Order. The “abductees” are taken to a hangar bay, a vast space said to be one of the more visually impressive sights on the attraction thanks to the use of animatronic figures and video projections.
Travelers eventually wind up in a detention cell where Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) shows up to interrogate them, employing a few Jedi mind tricks that go far beyond “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
In another set piece, there’s an explosion and a hole suddenly appears in a wall. A Resistance fighter appears to lead recruits to eight-person trackless vehicles to make an escape, at one point dodging laser blasts from full-side AT-ATs, the four-legged tanks first seen on the ice planet Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
At one point vehicles seem to climb 100 feet, facing off with stormtroopers firing from inside the head of the AT-AT. Eventually a successful escape is completed, or so we assume given Disney's embrace of happy endings (and returning guests safely).
One last guess: The lines will be strong for this one.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: When will the Rise of the Resistance ride open at Disney's new Star Wars land?