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What to See and Do at Disneyland’s STAR WARS Season of the Force Celebration

A whole Star Wars-themed land is on the way to Disney Parks on both coasts. However, building out entirely new spaces and attractions takes time; no opening date—not even a vague one—has been set for the addition. But Disney didn’t let the chance to throw a Star Wars party before the release of the The Force Awakens slip away, so they created Season of the Force. The celebration of all things Star Wars kicked off at Disneyland on November 16 and will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 1. In Disneyland, Season of the Force takes place in Tomorrowland and offers several attractions you’ll want to make time to see. And no, there’s no announced end date yet, either.

The first thing I noticed while exploring Season of the Force was the music of John Williams and Kevin Kiner in the background. A loop of scores from the original trilogy, prequel trilogy, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars plays throughout Tomorrowland, and sometimes hearing the “Force Theme” at just the right moment will do things to your heart. (You’ve been warned.) It’s the perfect music to go with shopping for Star Wars merchandise—there’s a First Order TIE fighter popcorn bucket—and eating themed food.

Besides eating and shopping—and maybe before eating and shopping—visit these attractions:

Star Wars Launch Bay

Housed in the Innoventions building, the Launch Bay is a museum, a shop, and a place to meet and greet characters from the Star Wars universe. It contains models and props from all eras of Star Wars and has merchandise you won’t find anywhere else.

Path of the Jedi

Over in the theater that was once the home of Captain EO, watch Path of the Jedi. This brief show is a montage of Star Wars footage edited together in a way that emphasizes the journeys of Anakin and Luke Skywalker and the big themes of the movies themselves. The footage is accentuated by the theater’s lighting, wind, and movement effects. It wraps up with the full length trailer for The Force Awakens. If you ever get emotional about the galaxy far, far away (and I do), you’ll enjoy this show.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Star Tours got its first update since it reopened in 2011. To the surprise of no one, the Starspeeder 1000 now makes a stop on Jakku. Though the destinations on Star Tours are usually random, Jakku will be the default first stop for a little while to ensure everyone visits the sandy planet. I won’t give away spoilers about what you’ll see on Jakku—you can easily find them around the Internet if you really want to know—but I will say that familiar characters from The Force Awakens pop up.

And that’s not all! There are little changes sprinkled throughout the ride. You’ll notice them if you’ve been on Star Tours several times. For example, in the opening with Darth Vader, Boba Fett now appears on the platform.

Hyperspace Mountain

The Star Wars overlay on Space Mountain is the crown jewel of Season of the Force. It’s like the classic attraction was made to be taken into the Star Wars universe. Overlays aren’t a fresh concept for the roller coaster; it gets a spooky one when it becomes Ghost Galaxy during the Halloween season. That is fun, but Hyperspace Mountain goes for immersive storytelling and is beyond thrilling. You’re the pilot of an X-wing in the Blue Squadron heading into battle against TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer. The pacing of the ride ebbs and flows with the fight, and it’s more exhilarating than I could have imagined. The overlay is accompanied by a new soundtrack recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Make going to the Fastpass distribution area for Hyperspace Mountain your first priority upon entering the park.

Have you been on Hyperspace Mountain? What did you think? Talk to me in the comments.

Images: Disney, Amy Ratcliffe

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