Just Opened: Star Wars Hyper-Reality Experience at Downtown Disney


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If the force is strong with your family, your Star Wars dreams are about to come true. A new totally immersive experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, invites you to step into the Star Wars galaxy––literally––and live the experience as if you’re the main character on the big screen. This cutting-edge technology: hyper-reality (think virtual-reality on steroids), creates a jaw-dropping world you can touch, feel and smell and totally interact with. Rebels, ready to disguise yourself as stormtroopers? Read on for the details and prepare to be totally blown away!

photo: The VOID

Step Into a Galaxy Far, Far Away
In Disney’s newest attraction, The VOID, led by the droid K-2S0 from Rogue One, a door opens and you are transported into the awesome molten world of Mustafar. Upon entering the scene, you leave reality. Anything you can imagine happening in a scene from Star Wars can now happen to you. You and your team of four become part of the story. Look down at your fingers; they look just like a stormtrooper’s. Look at your family members and you’re surrounded by stormtroopers short and tall.

So much more than a game: you are not just pressing buttons on a controller, not just firing a laser tag gun with buddies. You fire your blaster, feel the vibration, dodge shots as virtual stormtroopers fire round after round. The platform rumbles underfoot, you feel the heat from the lava, smell the ash, all while cheering with teammates as you yourselves defeat The Empire. It is a thrilling experience (even for non-gamers and those not totally obsessed with Star Wars). Ian Bowie, Lead Experience Designer at Industrial Light & Magic offers, “Since 7th grade I’ve imagined bringing the Star Wars world to life. This is a dream come true.”


Ready? Your Mission: A Briefing
After showing your ticket, you’ll receive a wristband and sign a liability waiver. Scan your wristband and choose your color so teammates can distinguish you from other stormtroopers. On the big screen, leader Cassian Andor informs you of your mission:  Disguise yourselves as stormtroopers, navigate your way through an enemy facility, grab your blaster and solve puzzles to recover vital Imperial intelligence.

photo: Cherie Gough

Set? Suit Up.
Next, a Disney team member will help you gear up. Your team enters a darkened room where gear hangs from the ceiling. Put on a helmet equipped with headset that includes a microphone. You’ll be able to hear yourself and team members as you journey through the galaxy together. The helmet’s visor flips up and down and you can adjust the volume. Adjust your computerized backpack and vest so that it’s snug fit rumbles and vibrates when you’re shot. When you’re ready, the backpack is released from the wall and you’ll feel its weight. Don’t worry, you won’t even notice it as soon as you’re immersed in the world of hyper-reality.

photo: The VOID

VR enthusiasts will be thrilled to know there are no tethers, no gloves, nothing to hold you back from a total experience. This is the newest technology at its best.

Insider’s Tip: Be sure young Jedis have gear properly adjusted before the mission begins. The helmet must fit just right to experience the hyper-reality (without having to readjust) to make your journey fully immersive.

photo: The VOID

No Lines!
A great perk of the Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience is that you reserve your tickets for the experience online. No long wait in line! You participate in teams of 4— perfect for a date night with another adventurous couple or an out-of-this-world experience for your family or your tween and a few good friends.

photo: Cherie Gough

Is Your Jedi Ready to Join the Rebellion?
This is an immensely fun, intense experience. Any kid who loves watching the Star Wars films will be blown away and will most likely love it. Diana Williams, Story Group Executive & Content Strategist of ILMxLAB says “I love watching kids go through the experience. Kids step in without hesitation.”

However if you’re not sure your kiddo can handle the intensity, here are some things to consider:

  • Kids must be 10 years old and at least 48 inches to participate. Anyone 16 and younger must have their parent present to sign their waiver.
  • It’s worth having a discussion prior to booking about what to expect.
  • The atmosphere is dark. Kids who are claustrophobic or have a big fear of heights may not be ready. You walk through the experience with your team and droid leader and have to trust and follow him even if it looks scary.
  • It’s important that your little Jedi is an assertive, clear communicator who will speak up and ask for assistance in getting suited up correctly.

Good to know: Anyone who needs assistance can raise their hand and the Disney team can help out.

photo: Cherie Gough

You’ll stow belongings (purses, backpacks, cameras) in a cabinet with the help of Disney team members. No filming or photos are allowed inside.

Park in the Downtown Disney lot and receive 3 hours validation.

1580 S. Disneyland Dr., Suite 103, Building G
Anaheim, Ca 92802

Cost: $29.95. Reserve tickets online here. NOTE: The VOID requires separate admission, not included with a ticket or pass to The Disney Resort.

––Cherie Gough

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