On May 31, 2019, a brand-new land opened at Disneyland Resort that took Guests to a galaxy far, far away. That land was Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and three months later, in August 2019, Galaxy’s Edge also opened at Walt Disney World. The new lands both only featured one ride at the time, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, but a second, even more impressive ride, would be opening in the near future.
December 2019 saw the opening of one of Disney’s most impressive rides to date — Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The ride opened the following month at Disneyland Resort. The attraction saw Guests taken by the First Order to a Star Destroyer, but the Resistance arrives and loads them into a transport vehicle as they try to escape the clutches of Kylo Ren and his Stormtroopers.
The trackless ride was an immediate hit with Guests as it fully immersed them in the Star Wars universe with life-size AT-ATs, incredible visuals, and an unexpected twist that makes your stomach drop and your eyes widen. An attraction of that style was a Disney first, and many considered it a truly technologically advanced, industry-leading experience that could have only come from the minds of the brilliant Imagineers who work for Disney.
However, a recent lawsuit claims that Disney never came up with the idea, in fact, they stole it.
On November 9, Raven Sun Creative filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, claiming patent infringement. The lawsuit was filed by Louis Alfieri, the chief creative officer of Raven Sun Creative — Alfieri is a former Universal creative director who is responsible for the creation of the popular Universal Orlando roller coaster Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
In a report by FloridaPolitics, the lawsuit claims the following:
In the lawsuit, Raven Sun Creative says it has a patent for technology that coordinates a vertical-moving rider trolley with videos on a screen, so theme park riders feel like they are really moving in the environment they see on the screen. The movement on the tower is synced with the video screen and the seat’s movements, making the theme park ride experience feel more immersive and real.
But the lawsuit alleges Disney used that same technology in the Rise of Resistance scene when theme park-goers feel like they are jettisoning out of an escape pod during the ride’s controlled drop finale…
Raven Sun Creative claimed it contacted Disney Imagineers in 2014 and submitted a detailed proposal for the technology, but Disney wasn’t interested, the lawsuit said.
On March 10, 2020 — just days before Disneyland and Disney World temporarily shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic — Raven Sun Creative said it contacted Disney again and informed the company that Rise of the Resistance was infringing on Raven Sun Creative’s patent.
Disney has not responded to the lawsuit claims, but in November 2020, the company told Raven Sun Creative that they would not continue to pay for infringing on the patent.
Rise of the Resistance is so popular that it currently operates on a solely first-come-first-serve virtual queue system at Disneyland Resort. The attraction’s virtual queue was eliminated at Walt Disney World, but it is an attraction where Guests must pay extra if they want to get to the front of the line faster.