NEW Star Wars at Walt Disney World

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters in just hours, fans are on the brink of exploding with excitement.  It's been 32 years since we've last seen Luke, Han and Leia.  With the anticipation growing, fanatics are filling up Disney's Hollywood Studios in preparation for the next installment of the Star Wars Saga.  Let's begin with Star Wars: Launch Bay.

Launch Bay is, in a nutshell, a Star Wars exhibit.  It is located in what was previously an animation building in which Disney animators would work on movies (during a time when Disney's Hollywood Studios was a functioning studio).  Now, shrouded in gray and red, this building belongs to our favorite galaxy far, far away...  As you enter Launch Bay, Disney employees with Lightsabers direct you to the Launch Bay Theater.  During the journey to the theater, the queue does not disappoint.  Star Wars artwork fills your vision.  It's impressive...Most impressive.  When you get to the Launch Bay Theater, you walk into a small auditorium to watch a short video detailing the importance of Star Wars and providing hands on experience of what it was like to be involved in making the films.

The main reason attendees enter Launch Bay, is to look at the fabulous exhibits on display.  The displays (for the most part) are replicas of items used in the films and not the actual screen-used versions of the items.  Items from the Original Trilogy, the Prequels, Clone Wars, Rebels and The Force Awakens are all represented.  Whether you're into model ships, replica props and costumes, cool-looking sets, or big speeder displays, Launch Bay has it all.

In addition to the amazing displays and exhibits, Launch Bay provides the opportunity for fans to encounter Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and a few Jawas.  At the conclusion of the exhibit, a store containing high-end collectibles and merchandise gives fans the opportunity to add to their collection.  Items included full costumes, Sideshow and Gentle Giant pieces, autographs, artwork, Force FX Lightsabers, and statues.

Launch Bay is definitely a must-see attraction for all Star Wars fans. 

Upon completing your time at Launch Bay, make sure to head on over to Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (previously known as Jedi Training Academy).  This is where young children get the chance to learn the ways of the Force and test their skills against some of the most feared Force users in the galaxy.  The concept is very similar as in the past, but what is new about Trials of the Temple, is look, the dialogue and the characters involved in the show.  The Seventh Sister (an Inquisitor in Star Wars: Rebels) is one of the villains these young fans can face-off with.  The audio of the Seventh Sister was done by Sarah Michelle Gellar who also voices the Seventh Sister in the show.  If you have young Star Wars fans in the family or you want a short but entertaining show, make sure to check out this new and improved attraction!

Star Tours is another attraction that really brings fans to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  While Star Tours (a 3-D flight simulator attraction) has been in the park for years, the updated version of this ride included scenes on the new planet, Jakku, a BB-8 transmission and updates to some of the older scenes in the ride.

The last new attraction is called Path of the Jedi.  it is a video about 20 minutes in duration that follows Luke Skywalker's Jedi Journey.  It is located in the ABC Sound Studio and is a great way to get out of the Florida heat.  At the conclusion of the video, a preview of The Force Awakens prepares fans for the upcoming film.

Walt Disney World is doing a great job getting fans excited about Star Wars and more specifically, The Force Awakens.  The newest installment of the Saga hits theaters on December 14th.  Nerds everywhere are also eagerly awaiting the much anticipated Star Wars Land that will be on both coasts within the next few years.

By: Eric Pfeifer