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Is this the coolest show the park has ever launched?

Carlye Wisel
May 02, 2016

One of the most innovative experiences ever created for Walt Disney World is about to arrive—and no, it’s not the new Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet over at Epcot.

Star Wars-themed desserts, attractions, and shows have been popping up across Disney parks for months now, but the movie’s presence will expand in a massive way when Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular opens at Hollywood Studios later this summer. If this sounds like old news, the source of confusion is understandable. While there is an impressive fireworks show at Hollywood Studios with a near-identical title, Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular, that show is just the beginning.

The current fireworks display, done on select evenings, is actually just a prelude of what’s to come when the new iteration debuts in the coming months. The upgraded experience will be entirely multidimensional, transporting viewers to the scenes and sounds within their favorite films, including the Death Star and Tatooine, and everything in-between. Video montages will be projected onto Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, home of the Great Movie Ride, as well as surrounding ride buildings and structures, and each projection will be different, making for an entirely new experience from varied vantage points.

Regardless of where one takes the show, though, it’ll still feature a deeply immersive mix of music and famed dialogue on 7.1 Surround Sound. (How else would you have felt the jaw-dropper that was Han’s response to Leia professing her love?)

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is said to be pulling out all of the stops for this display, including lasers, fireworks, special effects, and smoke effects for holograms, making us think the princess will definitely be pleading for Obi Wan Kenobi within the performance. And what is re-interpreting Star Wars’ epic battles without some pyrotechnics? There will be a 150-foot tower of fire used within a portion of the show, similar to massive bursts of flames used in World of Color at Disney California Adventure—only that show happens on the water, and this one is impressively close to surrounding buildings, smack in the middle of the park.

Designers are even bringing in effect beams called SuperSharpys to recreate the look of lightsabers in the nighttime sky, making this show more intense than any battle between Rey and Kylo Ren in the latest film.

This new nighttime show will change how guests experience evening entertainment at Walt Disney World, not just for its technological advancements but for its sheer numbers. With a show of this stature and Rivers of Light coming to Animal Kingdom later this summer as part of its new nighttime experiences, there will be five signature evening shows across the four parks instead of three. (Despite the addition of the new nightly Star Wars experiences, Fantasmic! is and will continue running at Hollywood Studios per usual.)

Shows with video projections of this kind already exist across Disney parks. Celebrate the Magic, which typically preludes and concludes each night’s Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom is one such example, as is the forthcoming Awakening atop Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life—but no park at Walt Disney World currently offers a combined projection mapping-and-fireworks experience, and none of the Disney parks in California or Florida have ever introduced one specifically for a certain genre of movies and their characters.

Don’t be surprised if your trip to the parks this summer includes a stop to see fireworks and it’s not around Epcot’s World Showcase or above an illuminated Cinderella’s Castle. Between its innovative mix of concepts, immersive movie clips, and a wall of fire outside one of Hollywood Studios’ most iconic rides, this could be Disney Parks’ most showstopping performance yet.

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