Last week saw the addition of a whole slew of Star Wars experiences to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even though Disneyland’s “Season of the Force” opened a few weeks ago, this was actually a ‘rush job’ for Orlando as the original opening date was in January, well after the debut of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in local theaters. Wouldn’t be much of a preview if the movie had already opened, would it.
So good job to Disney’s team who managed to get a majority of the new Star Wars themed experiences open in time for a media preview on Friday. We sent our “A Disney Kid’s Life” reporter, Indigo, to cover the event:
You’ll note that DHS has dropped the “Seasons of the Force” appellation. This is likely because the majority of the experiences will stick around longer than out in California. Also, I believe there was some worry that if it was an ‘event’ it would be seen as a cheap replacement for Star Wars Weekends, which has been canceled.
Disney officials wouldn’t go on the record about whether an official name for the Star Wars ‘stuff’ is coming, but they wouldn’t rule it out either.
So what exactly did DHS get? The new Star Wars experiences include:
Star Wars Launch Bay
Located in Animation Courtyard, Star Wars Launch Bay is a primary location within the park for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars. In this multi-sensory space with an outdoor queue area lined with special concept artwork, guests can interact with beloved Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, plus have access to special Star Wars merchandise.
- Special Character Encounters – After entering a themed atrium complete with replicas of Star Wars props, guests can journey to the dark side and encounter Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader in a 360-degree immersive area themed around the Star Destroyer, or they may choose the light side by stepping into a makeshift Rebel base and coming face to face with Star Wars characters such as the most famous co-pilot in the galaxy, Chewbacca.
- Launch Bay Theater – Guests hear directly from the creative minds behind the Star Wars saga in a short video that includes exclusive interviews with the directors, writers, producers and other key movie crew members who bring the saga to life.
- The Cantina – This setting, inspired by the unsavory “hives of scum and villainy” in the Star Wars galaxy, is a fun place to explore and take photos near elements of the cantina, such as a holochess table. Holochess is a game seen in Star Wars.
- Star Wars Game Center – Guests can play current and upcoming video games, including new Disney Infinity 3.0 content created exclusively for this location.
- Themed Galleries – Special immersive galleries will be located throughout Star Wars Launch Bay.
- Celebration Gallery features iconic ships from throughout the Star Wars saga, such as memorable ones of the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Navy fleet.
- Celebration Hallway displays large-scale replicas of Star Wars props amid scenic murals.
- Preview Gallery offers guests exclusive looks at replicas of props, artifacts and memorabilia from the latest movie in the saga, starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Among the items on display are costumes, ship models, droids and artwork.
- Launch Bay Cargo – A unique shopping area where guests may bring home a variety of Star Wars merchandise, including original artwork and collector’s items.
Star Wars: Path of The Jedi
Guests looking to relive the stories from the Star Wars saga or be introduced to the iconic characters, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, can watch an abridged, cinematic reel celebrating the Star Wars saga (episodes I-VII) in a theater setting near Echo Lake.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Fans of this popular attraction will experience journeys involving new characters and adventures from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tours takes guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they interact with characters from throughout the saga. With an eye-popping digital presentation leveraging Dolby 3D to deliver a vivid and realistic experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests are immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction.
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
This popular entertainment offering has been reimagined with new characters and a new villain to battle from Star Wars Rebels. Younglings will be guided to the site of a secret and ancient Jedi temple where they will face villains such as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the popular Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels, and discover if they have the makings of a true Jedi.
As guests enjoy the sights and attractions of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they may come face to face with First Order Stormtroopers who will patrol various areas of the park, interacting with guests during their mission to find members of the Resistance.
“Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular’’
Starting Dec. 18, guests will be treated to a spectacular finish to their visit to the park involving a dazzling Star Wars-themed fireworks show set to memorable Star Wars music from throughout the saga.
All in all, it’s a decent amount of Star Wars ‘stuff’ they’ve imported to DHS to help manage crowds while the park goes through a major overhaul. Will it be enough? That remains to be seen. It’s definitely a start.
Will the addition of these Star Wars Experience make a difference as to whether you’re planning a Disney vacation that includes DHS on the agenda?