How Does It Work?
Theme parks love pre-shows that make you feel like you’re going somewhere even though you really aren’t. Fake elevators tend to be a favorite, with decades of guests’ experiences informing them that if they end through the doors on the right, they ought to congregate by the doors on the left, which will undoubtedly open onward.
But on Rise of the Resistance, you exit onto the Star Destroyer out of the same set of doors you entered through. Consciously or not, guests take notice, eliciting “whoa” reactions that prove just how unexpected the move is. Only those like you and I who are super into Imagineering would then bother to reflect on the experience afterward, recognizing that for the same set of doors to be used in both locations, the ITS had to actually move.
The trick that makes the ITS possible is genius. Believe it or not, there are three ITS interiors arranged on a turntable – something like a small version of Carousel of Progress. When guests feel the heave of the ship departing from Batuu, they’re actually feeling the turntable beneath their feet beginning its rotation. The “show” portion of the ride takes place in the turntable’s second position, where a motion base beneath the ship offers the bobbing and weaving motion that synchronizes to the in-cab film projection. As the show comes to an end, the turntable rotates again, shifting the group in the “show” position into the unload position aboard the Star Destroyer.
Why It Matters
The brilliance here should be obvious. Not only does the reveal of the Star Destroyer and the “wow” moment of having your expectations fall flat set just the right tone for a ride that breaks lots and lots of norms; it also vastly increases the capacity for the attraction. Think about it: at any given time, a group of guests are boarding an ITS, mid-flight on an ITS, and disembarking from an ITS.
Of course, the physical ITS ships you see on Batuu and once landed on the Star Destroyer never move. Instead, the three ITS interiors on the turntable rotate behind them. In other words, if you were to stand on the Star Destroyer long enough, you might be surprised to find that without moving an inch, the ITS you just exited off would open its doors to reveal a whole new batch of prisoners as is by magic.
The ITS presents one of the most stunning moments in any Disney Parks attraction. Its the reason that when people talk about Rise of the Resistance, they say that it’s hard to know where the “line” ends and the “ride begins.” In so many ways, the ITS is a standalone ride in its own right; merely one of several ride systems that guests step aboard on this multimodal experience.
If you want to dive even deeper into how Imagineering packed Rise of the Resistance with “best of” secrets, illusions, and effects culled from Disney Parks around the globe, make the jump to our Secrets of the Resistance in-depth feature, exploring the behind-the-scenes of this “U-Ticket” ride. Until then, let us know what other in-park effects leave you stunned and surprised on your first ride…