Originally published in Theme Park Tourist Wednesday, December 7, 2016 04:59
Earlier this week, Disney held a special one night only event after hours at Epcot in celebration of the upcoming release of the new film Star Wars: Rogue One. Though the highlight of the event was when Disney used the magic of high-quality projection to transform Spaceship Earth into a gigantic Death Star (you can check out that amazing moment here), Disney also used this event to make some announcements about the future of current Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And while some of their announcements had previously been rumored for some time, Disney also threw in a few interesting surprises that we did not see coming, including the addition of yet another upcharge event at this park coming in the near future.
1. This month guests will be able to book a new “Star Wars Ultimate Tour”, which will debut in 2017
Next year, Disney is introducing what it is calling the “ultimate guided tour” for Star Wars fans at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which will debut in January and will be an immersive full-day experience for fans of this franchise. The seven-hour walking tour will include the following activities:
- A Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide will be on hand for the full day to answer questions, lead discussions, and keep guests on schedule.
- Priority boarding for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, no FastPass+ reservation required
- The chance to meet two Star Wars characters (currently Chewbacca and Kylo Ren) at the Star Wars Launch Bay
- An in-depth, insider’s tour around Star Wars Launch Bay that includes additional facts and information about exhibits
- Screening of the Star Wars: Path of the Jedi film
- A quick service dinner at Backlot Express, which will include a drink, a side, dessert, and a Star Wars-inspired entree item
- Admission to the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party as well as guaranteed viewing for the nighttime spectacular
- A reserved spot for guests 4-12 interested in participating in the interactive Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show.
This new upcharge experience will cost $129 per person, and will be offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting January 2, 2017. Tours will be available weekly on both Mondays and Saturdays throughout 2017. Reservations are not available yet but should come online in the next few days for guests who want to reserve their spot now.
2. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular to return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios early
Though the seasonal Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! nighttime spectacular will still be bringing Christmas cheer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios until January, the park announced that it will be bringing back its Star Wars spectacular a few weeks early on December 16 2016 for some holiday season screenings. In order to accommodate both shows, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be scheduling Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at 6:15PM most nights, with Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! then capping off nights for the rest of the month at 9:00 PM.
This is the first time that Disney’s Hollywood Studios has run two different nightly fireworks shows at the same time (and three nighttime spectaculars total, if you count Fantasmic!), on a daily basis, which is certainly a massive undertaking, and will hopefully drive guests to this park during this holiday season, during a time when Epcot and the Magic Kingdom can overflow with guests. And speaking of the holiday season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there’s something else guests can look forward to just before the holiday season kicks into high gear…
3. New Rogue One characters added to Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
As we guessed earlier this week, it looks like when Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away returns from its brief hiatus in just a few days, it will be coming back with an update that will see new characters added from the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film. These new characters will be the Advanced Weapons Research (AWR) Troopers (pictured above), who are soldiers who serve the empire with specialized advanced weapons and shiny black armor. This new segment will debut on December 16, 2016 and will remain a part of the show for the foreseeable future.
4. Random sequences return to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue in just a few days
Another development that was previously rumored but has now been confirmed is the return of randomized flights to Star Tours – The Adventures Continue in mid-December. Instead of each ride experience launching from the planet of Jakku, the attraction will be randomized to both start and end at different locations for every galactic journey, which means classic locations like Kashyyyk and Hoth, which have not been available for more than a year, will be back in the official rotation in just a few days.
And while we know that a new sequence has already been filmed for Star Wars: Episode VIII, (which will presumably result in another instance of locked coordinates) at least for the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 guests will be able to enjoy the random nature of this attraction once more.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has really become the center of all things Star Wars at Walt Disney World, and though it will be a long time until we are able to set foot inside Star Wars Land (this upcoming land still doesn’t have a release target yet), it looks like Disney is working overtime to make sure that Star Wars still has a major presence inside this park. In fact, in addition to the changes listed above, Disney has also been quietly adding new exhibits to the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction related to the aforementioned Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film.
Are you interested in any of these new and improved Star Wars offerings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Or are you looking forward to all of the other new experiences coming soon to Walt Disney World?
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