It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post anything but I had the chance on the official opening weekend to make a impromptu trip to Disneyland and I got to experience Disneyland’s Season of the Force.
In case you haven’t heard about it yet, basically, Tomorrowland has been given an overlay of Star Wars theming to tie in with the release of Star Wars, The Force Awakens that came out on December 18th. These are temporary theming updates that will run for an unknown amount of time at this point.
Now initially, I wasn’t too fond of turning Tomorrowland into a makeshift “Star Wars Land” but after experiencing it for myself, I think the Disney team did a fantastic job and the entire experience tied nicely into the new movie.
The first thing I got to experience was Start Tours. It was updated for Season of the Force with a new segment that takes place on Jakku, the desert planet you see in the trailers for the new movie with a crashed Imperial Star Destroyer sticking several hundred feet up out of the ground. In the new segment, you come out of hyper space and enter the atmosphere of Jakku following the Millenium Falcon through the wreckage. Finn comes online on the display to the right of the main view window and instructs you to follow him in the Millenium Falcon. After a brief landing in the wreckage and scavengers trying to remove parts from your ship, you take back off and into space above Jakku. There, you receive a transmission from BB-8, the new spherical droid from Episode 7 with instructions for a “special mission” that C-3P0 objects to as always.
The new segments are a much needed update to Star Tours and this piece of the Season of the Force is permanent. The Jakku segment is nicely done and adds some new excitement and visuals to the ride. I also noticed that some of the original segments seemed to have gotten a visual update as well but I have not verified that.
The next thing I got to try out, was the revamped Space Mountain. For the Season of the Force, it’s being called Hyperspace Mountain. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland during Halloween and experienced Space Mountain – Ghost Galaxy, Hyperspace Mountain is the same concept just with Star Wars projections while on the ride instead of the ghostly creature from Ghost Galaxy. The difference here is that you are piloting an X-wing through a battle around a Star Destroyer with Tie Fighters. To me, this was leaps and bounds beyond what they do on Ghost Galaxy and far superior. I enjoy Ghost Galaxy but this is done much better. In some places of the ride, there are laser blasts shooting past you. Definitely worth getting a fast pass for this one.
Next up, was Star Wars: Path of the Jedi at the Magic Eye Theater. This is essentially a 12 minute commercial for Episode 7. It ties bits and pieces of episodes 1-6 together while showing the usual clips from the the new movie that have been in the commercials. There were a couple new brief looks at things we hadn’t yet seen (but by this point, who’s left that hasn’t seen the movie?).
Next, we went into the newly opened Star Wars Launch Bay. This occupies the area that used to be the house of tomorrow. That has been gutted and re-themed for Start Wars. When you first enter, you can go to either the light side or the dark side. I went to the light side first. This area was full of displays of everything from models of the Millenium Falcon and X-wing Fighter to Rey’s costume and speeder from the new
movie. The light side is also where you can go to meet Chewbacca. The light side also has an area themed like the Mos Eisley Cantina that can host meets of several different characters. When I was there, you could meet Boba Fet.
The dark side also has displays of things like models of the Emperor’s shuttle and life size Storm Trooper costumes. The dark side is also where you can meet Darth Vader. The dark side is also where the Star Wars shop is. The merchandise here is different from what is normally at the Star Trader in Tomorrowland. There were customizable phone cases, Metal Earth replicas, collectible resin figurines and my absolute favorite thing I saw there (and I would buy it if I have a spare $6000.000) was a 2.5 foot tall “lifesize” statue of Yoda.
The collectibles in their shop were slightly more expensive than size and quality equivalents in other parts of the park. For instance, there was an R2-D2 resin statue that I liked. the size and quality of it would have warranted maybe a $150.00 price tag at Disneyana, but here was priced at $262.00. So there is a markup for buying Star Wars collectibles at the park.
About a month after my first trip where I experienced Season of the Force, I was able to go back, and this time, my son wanted to do the new Jedi Training Academy, now called Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple. The story line here is that a group of youngling Jedi’s (your kids) are facing a training challenge where their “fears” materialize. Their fears materialize in the form of Darth Vader and The Seventh Sister (from Star Wars Rebels). The younglings then perform the maneuvers they were trained in the first half of the show to fight their fears. This new format allows more kids to participate in each show since there are 2 villains to fight. After all the kids take their turn facing their fears, they are gathered to fight one last fear: Darth Maul. All the younglings use the power of the Force Push to send Darth Maul back into the temple. This was another good update to an outdated attraction.
Lastly, we tried the food at the Galactic Grill, which is the Tomorrowland Terrace with Star Wars themed food. Everything on the menu is separated by “light side” and “dark side”. The food on the dark side comes on a “dark bun” which to me, didn’t look too appetizing. Looking around, it didn’t appear that anyone else thought it was too appetizing either because I didn’t see anyone eating the dark bun.. Other things you can get at the Galactic Grill in celebration of Star Wars is a BB-8 shaped cup and you can also order your meal in a box that is Han Solo in carbonite. I couldn’t resist these and I bought both.
Overall, I think the Season of the Force is worth spending some time in. Especially for those of us that grew up with Star Wars. But I will not complain when we get Tomorrowland back to it’s regular self. Thanks for following and may the Force be with you.