PHOTOS - The Force Awakens at Disney's Hollywood Studios with new Star Wars Launch Bay

Dec 01, 2015 in "Star Wars Launch Bay"

Star Wars Launch Bay opening day
Posted: Tuesday December 1, 2015 2:24pm EST by WDWMAGIC Staff

Star Wars Land hasn't broken ground and may well be five years away from opening, but guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios are already getting a taste of new Star Wars experiences.

Today saw the opening of Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, and the new Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. It doesn't end there either, starting January 5 2016 will be the new Symphony in the Stars fireworks show.

Located in the Animation Courtyard at the former Magic of Disney Animation attraction, the new Star Wars Launch Bay is the headquarters for Star Wars at Walt Disney World.

The exterior of the Animation building has been given a bold new look with dark grays dominating the frontage, and an imposing marquee sign that can be seen from the park's Centerstage hub area. 

The queue uses the outdoor space that was once the queue area for the Animation Tour, and much like its predecessor, features concept artwork from the movies.

First up is the Launch  Bay Theater, which shows a short movie featuring interviews with key figures in the creation of the Star Wars saga.

Next is the first of two galleries displaying artifacts from the movies. The Celebration Gallery features several of the iconic ships and props from the movies, and although replicas, the scale and detail is an impressive sight.

Leaving the Celebration Hallway, the majority of the exhibit space opens up into two character meet and greet areas - the dark side encounter with Darth Vader, and the light side Rebel Base with Chewbacca.

Queues for the meet and greet are lengthy, with waits quickly rising to 60 minutes during the opening morning. Expect to see FastPass+ added here in the near future.

Outside of the meet and greets, The Cantina has been included to feature some great photo opportunities, including the holochess table and some wondering Jawas. The area is small, but very well themed.

The Cantina leads through to the Star Wars Game Center, where guests can play an exclusively created version of Disney Infinity 3.0.

The final exhibit area is the Preview Gallery, which offers a glimpse of artwork, props and artifacts from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie.

Launch Bay Cargo is the final stop at the Launch Bay, and is a high-end Star Wars gift shop offering a large range of collectibles and even costumes. You can buy a full Storm Trooper outfit for $1800!

Star Wars Launch Bay will be a popular addition to the park, and will feed the appetite for more Star Wars at the park as the new movies open in theaters and until the main Star Wars land opens in the coming years.

The exhibit is open daily from park open to park close, and is included in both morning and evening Extra Magic Hours. FastPass+ will soon be added.

Chase Disney Visa Card members also have access to an exclusive Star Wars Imperial Meet 'N' Greet location inside the Launch Bay, offered daily from 11am to 4pm EST.

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Sped2424Jul 22, 2019

Thus the cycle continues. And in 20 years time this new trilogy will be looked at the same.

FigmentJediJul 22, 2019

Sorry bud, the Prequels have undergone significant re-evaluation in recent years as the result of kids who grew up with and *gasp* enjoyed them becoming a louder part of the Star Wars fandom, the popularity of the Clone Wars animated series making the era more well rounded, and even some of those people who deem the Sequel Trilogy as a mistake have regretted crapping on the Prequels and began touting its merits.

larryzJul 21, 2019

If they were smart, they'd re-theme the ABC Commissary as an Imperial Dining Hall and turn it into a character dining experience with the Darths, Chewbacca, a Han Solo look-alike, and a couple of droids. Then they could call it the ... wait for it ... Star Wars LUNCH Bay.

KevinPageJul 21, 2019

Launch Bay is destined to be a Disney Junior Black box ride (if I had to take an educated guess). Something easy to change over as new shows come and old ones fade in popularity. It’s also aimed at a younger less discerning audience so the “black box” concept only makes too much sense. This way you keep Star Wars related stuff in one section of the park. RE: Star Tours, it’s always been a half baked attraction and even with the upgrade years ago it’s still preposterous: tourist vehicle can evade tie fighter and best Boba Fett and maneuver like the greatest most nimble aircraft in the galaxy? The whole concept needs a total redo for this attraction. Get rid of all prequel crap, it’s better we forget those movies ever existed. Keep the ride focused on OT and make it something logical/plausible, not what it currently is. Someone can figure out a clever way to tie the idea into GE. And for all the armchair brainiacs who seem to revel in this so called “Disney screwed SW and they blew a billion $$$”. I heard NO ONE complain prior to opening that this was a new planet, set in new trilogy universe and they’ll be nothing to do. Now that the CA GP/AP got freaked about crowds, everyone comes out of the woodwork claiming how they knew better. GE will be just fine. WDW will be packed 8/29 and even more on and after 12/05. From all reports the only negative thing you can say is stuff they can easily fix: - open ROTR - add roaming aliens/droids - find a way to add music/more sounds Ya know, stuff that any new area or land needs time to fix when the scale is so grand. I was a kid during the OT and saw all those movies in theaters with my friends and not only am I fine with GE being focused on Kylo/Rey, I applaud it whole heartedly.

mm52200Jul 21, 2019

There also just isn’t really a suitable replacements for Chewie at Launch Bay in that space. Rey will be on the new land, and there really aren’t any other resistance themed characters available to put in there. I don’t think most people realize that Luke, Leia, and Han no longer exist as a meetable Star Wars characters, they have all been retired. C-3PO would also be very hard to make happen for a daily operational meet and greets.

Tavernacle12Jul 21, 2019

My understanding was originally there was going to be more streetmosphere but due to budget cuts and a fear of destruction by guests they were cut. Fair point about Chewie, but I'll maintain that if they thought Vader was going to be more popular than Ren they would have brought him back earlier. It could also just be that Chewie is popular enough as is they just want to leave him be.

Marc Davis FanJul 19, 2019

I’ve always thought Star Tours could “stand on its own” against GE and “remain relevant” if it focused exclusively on OT/PT characters and locations. That way, you have the “old-fashioned” (but still high-quality) ride featuring the “old guard” of Darth Vader and Princess Leia, along with familiar locations like the battle of Hoth, to help offset those concerns with respect to GE. This would be valuable in DHS and in DL. The only reason I’d see them not doing this would be because they use new ride scenes to advertise each new movie (but maybe they’ll stop with that after Episode IX). And they can just go ahead and close Launch Bay. Regarding MV3D, I think putting Star Wars there or in that area (Grand Park) would “dilute” GE too much. The separateness and “reveal” of GE will require a “palate cleanser” area that’s not Star Wars. Otherwise, how will people in the general public understand/experience where “old Star Wars stuff” ends and “the planet of Batuu” begins? It would be thematically confusing and “thunder-stealing” to put Star Wars stuff right outside an immersive Star Wars land - IMHO.

TrainsOfDisneyJul 19, 2019

I wish that was really the case....

WDW ProJul 19, 2019

Muppets is about as likely to move as It's A Small World. It's Jim Henson's final performance as Kermit, and thus is sacrosanct.

jumpinjamieJul 19, 2019

They should replace Chewbacca with C3PO if Chewie is going to be in GE. Meeting C3PO during SWW was honestly the most "magical" meet and greet I have ever done.

Walt dJul 18, 2019

He won’t be there forever “

MisterPenguinJul 18, 2019

Ooooorrrrrr.... Since Kylo is meetable at GE (and shows up at the Academy), makes sense to have the Dark Side represented at Launch Bay by Vader. Maybe they should replace Chewie at LB with a Leia. Time honored tradition of a Disney princess M&G!

Chet DakotaJul 18, 2019

Chewbacca makes appearances at Disneyland GE. You would assume that he would make appearances at DHS GE also. They are not pulling Chewie from Launch Bay. Ren over Vader at LB is because Disney wants to push the ST to the masses.

iwantthescoop337Jul 18, 2019

Do you think this is also why Galaxy's Edge doesn't include streetmosphere featuring C3PO and R2D2 (yet)? Even though they are iconic Star Wars characters featured in the OT, PT, and ST?