With Star Wars-themed lands coming to both Disneyland in California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, the excitement for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which premieres this month, is heating up on both coasts. In fact, when it comes to Disney attractions, there are so many thrilling new themed experiences on their way that navigating them can be as challenging as, say, firing a torpedo into the Death Star’s exhaust port.
While Disneyland’s Season of The Force opened in November and will remain open for a few months, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is instead opening themed outposts throughout December and January, meaning they may stay in place for a while to come. There are fireworks shows at one park, a temporarily themed roller coaster at another, meet-and-greets everywhere and Chewbacca steins for sale at both—if you know where (and when!) they’re for sale, that is.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the parks or ready to be convinced that you should, let the force—and our cheat-sheet—be with you:
What’s Open Now
Star Tours—The Adventure Continues at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park
The beloved motion simulator is now showing experiences from Star Wars: The Force Awakens during every single ride. Be sure to stop by soon if you want to catch a flight through planet Jakku—in a few months, the fresh clips will be shuffled throughout and randomized with the others.
Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland Park
The much-anticipated experience opened in early November, allowing guests can see holochess and sabacc tables inside a themed cantina, explore galleries of costumes and props from past movies and play current and upcoming video games, including Disney Infinity 3.0 with exclusives to the Launch Bay. The immersive takeover allows future Jedis and Galactic obsessives choose the light or dark side, meeting Chewbacca while exploring a Rebel base or facing Darth Vader himself in an Imperial-class area inspired by the Star Destroyer. Don’t miss the Launch Bay Cargo, a shop packed with an unbelievable amount of collectors items, exclusive merchandise and holiday gifts to send hints to the entire family.
Hyperspace Mountain and Galactic Grill at Disneyland Park
Hop aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a re-imagining of the galaxy’s most thrilling ride which throws you into the midst of imperial warfare, complete with a brand-new soundtrack recorded by London Symphony Orchestra. After you leave your ship, grab a First Order Burger served in a Han Solo Carbonite lunch box or a Jawa Turkey Sand-Wich on Bantha Blue Milk Bread at this reimagining of Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. Be sure to visit (and swig a drink from a Chewbacca stein!) soon, as these experiences will only happen once in this galaxy, and won’t be coming to Walt Disney World.
Star Wars Shopping at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Jedi Training Academy at Disneyland Park
This interactive adventure lets little ones learn how to fight the Dark Side in front of your very eyes. Prepare to hoist young Padawans on your shoulders to grab the Jedi’s attention—participants are chosen at random from the audience—and watch as they learn how to battle forces of evil from the best in the galaxy. (Check with Disneyland cast members upon arrival, as the park has been exploring early sign-ups and the procedures may change in the near future.)
Star Wars: Path of the Jedi at Disneyland Park
New to the world of Star Wars? Take a break while your family geeks out over Stormtroopers wandering the park with this short 4D film summarizing everything that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Disney Visa Cardmember Imperial Meet-and-Greet at Disneyland Park
Cardmembers can meet the head of the Galactic Empire himself from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at a private Launch Bay location. (https://disneyrewards.com/vacation-perks/?acc=disneyland)
What’s Happening Soon
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Starting December 1st, you can watch as your little ones transform into young members of the Rebel Alliance and learn the way of the force—and how to yield a lightsaber. Enjoy the twenty-minute experience as they challenge Darth Vader and Seventh Sister, a new villain from the Star Wars Rebels series, in this updated take on Jedi Training Academy. First-come, first-served signups are available at park opening in its new location near the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost.
Star Wars Launch Bay and Star Wars: Path of the Jedi at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The prop-filled hub of meet-and-greets, galleries and exclusive merch hits Walt Disney World on December 1st following its successful launch at Disneyland Park. New fans can also take in Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, a short film summarizing everything that’s happened in the galaxy thus far.
Disney Visa Cardmember Imperial Meet-and-Greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Beginning December 1, cardmembers can meet the head of the Galactic Empire daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at an exclusive location inside the part.
Specialty Star Wars Food at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Some Jedi-approved items have been popping up early throughout food stalls and quick-service restaurants at the park. Do or do not try to find themed food, there is no try!
What's Coming Once Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Opening Night Event at Disney Springs and Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In an out-of-this-universe partnership, AMC Disney Springs 24 will be providing early evening screenings of the movie followed by a private Star Wars party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 18th. Guests can enjoy the newest Star Wars enhancements at the park, a DJ dance party and a preview of the forthcoming Star Wars fireworks show. Adult guests are also allowed to attend in costume — something Disney rarely permits. Tickets are currently sold out, but available on third-party resellers.
Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The intergalactic magic will be alive nightly with this exciting fireworks show at the soon-to-be-home of Walt Disney World’s Star Wars-themed land, transporting all park visitors to the unrest between the light side and the dark side with its famed themed soundtrack starting opening night on December 18th. (This is two and a half weeks earlier than the previously announced for January 5th, 2016.) Die-hard Jedis can rejoice, too—Symphony In The Stars will be be a completely new show from the one previously performed at Star Wars Weekends.
What’s Arriving Next Year:
A Galactic Fireworks Spectacular
While WDW will not have an immersive restaurant on par with Disneyland’s Galactic Grill, considering the incredible offerings at Darth’s Mall during Star Wars Weekends, the themed treats available starting January 5, 2016 should be out of this world. Blue Milk Panna Cotta, BB-8 cupcakes, and children’s meals inside a Han Solo-themed bucket are already confirmed to be for sale throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a Galactic Spectacular fireworks dessert party with specialty drinks and souvenir Chewbacca steins is now taking reservations. Just be sure you don’t drop your Rebel Alliance treats when you see Stormtroopers wandering the park, which is slated to begin on the same date.