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5 Things You Need to Know About Disney's New Star Wars Experiences

Featured image via YouTube screen capture

Since Star Wars Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World is at least a year or two away, some of the prime real estate in that theme park is a construction zone. Disney has come up with some creative ways to add value to the Hollywood Studios experience and add a Star Wars flavor in anticipation of the new land coming soon.

And with this weekend’s release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story coming up, Disney recently revealed some fascinating new experiences at a live stream event at Epcot, in which Spaceship Earth was transformed (via some impressive projection technology) into the Death Star! Here’s what you need to know about these new features to the Star Wars experience at Walt Disney World:

5. Real and recreated props from Rogue One will populate Star Wars Launch Bay

My niece Kenzie excitedly captured the moment when Stormtroopers pointed directly at her at the Launch Bay. (image via Instagram screen capture)

My niece Kenzie excitedly captured the moment when Stormtroopers pointed directly at her at the Launch Bay. (image via Instagram screen capture)

The Star Wars Launch Bay was the highlight of my family’s recent trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (other than the kids’ first time riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster). We all enjoyed the meet-and-greets with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren, and my nieces especially enjoyed interacting with the Stormtroopers.

This month, Walt Disney World has begun to add recreated props from Rogue One, along with some behind-the-scenes artifacts, to the Launch Bay exhibits. Replicas of Orson Krennic’s shuttle and new blasters from the film have already joined the exhibits at the Launch Bay, and more props that will give a glimpse into the making of Rogue One will be added soon as well.

4. Rogue One‘s new Stormtroopers will appear in “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away”

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Disney show writer Michael Roddy shows off the new Stormtroopers from Rogue One to host Mark Daniel at Disney’s live stream on December 5. (image via YouTube screen capture)

For those who haven’t experienced it yet, “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” is an exhilarating multimedia show that pays tribute to the entire film canon. The show neatly encapsulates the story arc of all seven movies in the saga, and clips from the films appear on screen while characters from the saga make their way onstage for an impressive revue.

With the release of Rogue One, new characters will appear in the show in the form of the Advanced Weapons Research Troopers. These menacing troopers, clad in black, will represent the newest addition to the saga and add more depth to an already thrilling show.

3. Hollywood Studios guests will be in for a double treat as “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” returns in addition to Christmas fireworks!

As the holiday season approached, Disney replaced the popular “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks and multimedia nighttime show with a special Christmas show entitled “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Now, it was only a temporary switch, but demand was so great that Disney decided to change it up again – for the better.

An artist's rendering of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (image via YouTube screen capture)

An artist’s rendering of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (image via YouTube screen capture)

For the rest of the Christmas season through New Year’s Eve, guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will enjoy both fireworks extravaganzas—a two-for-one experience! This makes Hollywood Studios a definite must during the holidays.

2.”Star Tours: The Adventure Continues” will take guests on more randomized journeys

For the past year, since the 2015 release of The Force Awakens, every journey on Star Tours has included a trip to Jakku, the home planet of Rey, the heroine of Episode VII.

This December, Disney has restored the completely randomized journeys on Star Tours, meaning that guests can experience about a hundred different combinations of destinations while flying on Star Tours Flight 1401. In 2017, a new destination from the forthcoming Episode VIII will also make its debut!

1. Star Wars guided tours begin January 2!

Disney has made specialized tours a must do for die hard fans with a little extra cash to spend, so it stands to reason that a tour based on the Star Wars experiences would happen sooner or later. Well, now’s the time!

The seven-hour tour includes an uber-knowledgeable guide taking guests for a ride on Star Tours (presumably with some sort of special seating), a quick-service meal with a special Star Wars menu, and the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” dessert party. It’s a Star Wars geek’s dream (believe me, I’m already trying to figure out how to afford it)!

Rogue One star Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso) entertains the crowd at Disney's live stream on December 5. (image via YouTube screen capture)

Rogue One star Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso) entertains the crowd at Disney’s live stream on December 5. (image via YouTube screen capture)

Which experiences do you look most forward to?