10 Things for Star Wars Fans at Walt Disney World
Star Wars fans are eagerly awaiting the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in both Disneyland and Disney World in 2019. Disney World will also feature a new hotel adjacent to the Star Wars area at Hollywood Studios that will be completely immersive. You will literally be able to live out your Star Wars fantasy (along with lots of other uber nerds like myself). While we all wait for this to become a reality, there are so many other Star Wars things to enjoy at Hollywood Studios!
1. Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
If you are between 4 and 12 years old you can participate in this free experience. Here you will be trained to use the force and come face to face with some of the iconic Star Wars bad guys! Jedi Training takes place every day (weather permitting) on the stage adjacent to Star Tours. You must sign up for this experience and it is on a first come, first served basis. It is a must do for any of the small Star Wars fans in your family. Wesley (pictured here with the Seventh Sister) was in absolute awe and still likes to tell the story! For more details, check out Wesley’s account in my blog.
2. Star Tours
Star Tours is a 3D ride experience, which puts you on a shuttle piloted by C3PO. I love this ride! As you wait in line you will see CP3O and R2D2 along with a full size Starspeeder. Before you get ready to board your shuttle, travellers will go through “security” manned by a less than qualified droid who is quite chatty about his job. He’s quite a character. Take note of the last droid at the top of the ramp: he may be talking to you! Board your shuttle and strap in for your flight which involves a 3D screen and motion to make you feel like you are zipping through space.
There are several possible scenarios so if you ride more than once you are likely to have totally different flights. Watch out though- the Empire is searching for a spy who happens to be on your ship! Is it you?
This ride is great for any age as long as you meet the minimum height requirement. It involves wearing 3D glasses and some simulated motion but nothing extreme. It’s one of my favorites!
3. Character Meet & Greets
Well, who wouldn’t want a Wookie hug? Just make sure you let the Wookie win and you’re fine. Guests can meet Chewie and several other characters at the Star Wars Launch Bay. Some of the other meet and greets include Kylo Ren and BB8. As you wander around and look at the Star Wars props, you may see Storm Troopers and even Jawas (watch out though- they love to take things and might want to make a trade!). Characters may change, so check your guide for who is available. Storm Troopers can be seen popping up in the Animation Courtyard area spontaneously and harassing small Jedi.
4. Star Wars movie props
This is for the true fan! Inside the Star Wars Launch Bay are a variety of props and models from the movies. There is a full size replica of Rey’s speeder and her costume along with other movie props, concept art and models. In the waiting area for the character meet and greets are helmets and more lightsaber models than I ever knew existed (some from the animated series). You can take a selfie at the Cantina bar or playing Dejarik (3D chess).
5. Watch a movie!
At the Star Wars Launch Bay Theater you can watch a 10-minute movie that shows some behind the scenes stories about the saga. There is even some information about the upcoming opening of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening in the fall of 2019. And hey, it’s air-conditioned.
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi is another short film that gives an overview of the entire saga (Cliff notes version). You can watch this in the theater next to the Frozen Sing Along.
6. Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular
I’m not sure I can do this experience justice. Even if you are not a Star Wars fan, it is pretty incredible. Think part laser light show, fireworks, fire, movie and BOOM! Parts of the movie are projected onto the Chinese Theater while a bit of movie magic brings it to life. At one point, you become part of a battle with a Star Destroyer which feels like it’s flying over you- complete with laser blasts and explosions. It’s just amazing. Don’t miss it!
7. Stage Shows
There are two live shows for Star Wars fans on the main stage at the end of Hollywood Blvd. First is Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away. This show covers the entire Star Wars saga and you will see favorite characters. I love when BB8 comes rolling out! This is definitely a must see if you’re a fan.
The second show is the March of the First Order. Captain Phasma and her troops march right up Hollywood Boulevard. They even interact with the crowd. The march takes place several times a day.
8. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party
This is a special experience for the Star Wars lover in your life! On nights when Hollywood Studios is showing the Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular, they offer a Star Wars themed dessert party. During this event, the Star Wars Launch Bay is closed off and becomes a private party. The menu includes a spread of themed desserts, savory snacks and even alcoholic specialties (if you’re old enough!). Meanwhile, Storm Troopers wander through the party asking guests for identification and Jawas pick your pockets. Right before the Galactic Spectacular takes place, party goers are lead out to a sectioned off area to watch the show. Everyone gets a souvenir stein to take home with them. I got Chewbacca!
9. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire Virtual Reality Experience
This experience is located in Disney Springs. Called a “step beyond reality” this is a 3D “hyper-reality” experience. You actually walk around and experience the story. It’s really amazing. I did this during my last visit and I definitely recommend it. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done. You are fitted with a helmet and gear which provides the virtual reality aspect of the experience. It’s unreal to look down at your own arms and see a Storm Trooper’s instead! Teams of four are assigned a mission. You are briefed on your goals and then off you go! You must be 48 inches tall and 10 years old. Children under 18 need a parent to sign the waiver allowing them to participate. The experience lasts about 30 minutes. You can wear your glasses along with the visor if you need them. It’s amazing technology and something really unique for the Star Wars lover in your family!
10. Star Wars Stuff!
If you’re a huge Star Wars nerd like some of my family, the shopping is an experience in itself. Like, where in the world could you find all this wonderful Star Wars stuff in one place? How about a name badge with your name in Arakesh? Or a personalized phone case with your name and Darth Vader? Like seriously? Build your own lightsaber, Yoda jammies, an entire Storm Trooper uniform, and signed memorabilia for the serious collector. It’s all here.