Denise's Corner

Review: Star Wars Guided Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Hi everyone!

Disney invited us to experience the Star Wars Guided Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Friday as part of a media group. I haven’t taken this particular tour before but have taken many tours on my own through the years, including Backstage Magic around 1996, Behind the Seeds on numerous occasions, Keys to the Kingdom twice, a Segway tour at Fort Wilderness and more just at Walt Disney World (plus at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris). So while I didn’t pay on this occasion, I’ve got a good handle on what tours include and the value of them. The Star Wars Guided Tour as of this writing costs $99.00 with tax and there currently is a 15% discount for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, DVC Members or if using a Disney Visa card. Park admission is not included. When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens, any tour specifics and price will likely change if it is offered at all.

Honestly, as a modest Star Wars fan, I think the components of the Star Wars Guided Tour make for a very good value once you include lunch, VIP fireworks viewing and more. One element I didn’t experience was Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Kids 4-12 in the tour can enroll in that. I don’t have kids and have watched the show before, so I took the option of not viewing it this time. We were also invited to the Star Wars Spectacular Dessert Party (it is not part of the tour), and the VIP viewing area is the same as the tour gets.

Here is a look at the Star Wars Guided Tour from Friday. I did ask if we experienced it as any other guest would and was told yes. We received one tour credential and two dessert party admissions so I covered the tour myself.

First, here is a video overview we put together. I took both photos and video during the tour. Following that, I have about 60 photos and my tour review/overview.

I always enjoy an early park morning, and I arrived somewhere after 7:30 a.m. for the tour, which started at a few minutes after 8:00 a.m. The front of the park included guests also who were there to dine or for Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land.

The group was forming at the podium to the left for the Star Wars Guided Tour. We also made our lunch order here to be eaten later together in the Backlot Express. I didn’t photograph the menu, but it was a basic Backlot Express menu, I chose a burger with carrot sticks.

Guests were waiting to head down Hollywood Boulevard. Dining guests already were walking to their restaurants. I found it interesting to watch the process, I have not seen it since Toy Story Land opened last year.

Our tour included two tour guides. First up was Hannah, who did a lot of the talking – she was one of the most enthusiastic tour guides I’ve ever had at Walt Disney World. Possibly the most.

Darion was our other tour guide and she was terrific too.

Looking toward the Chinese Theater, we really had the park mostly to ourselves for a while.

During the tour, Hannah and Darion kept the information going – whether it had to do with the opening of the original Star Wars (I saw it in the theater) or about how Star Tours came to be in the Disney parks. Some information I knew, some information I didn’t know or remember.

We rode Star Tours without anyone else in the attraction and also learned a little more about it. Die-hard Star Wars and/or Disney fans will know some of what is talked about.

Hannah talks about Star Tours – we have about two minutes of it in our video above.

We walked under the AT-AT.

Star Wars: The Adventures Continue signage.

I haven’t ridden Star Tours in many months, it was fun to be walked on without other guests.

We slowly passed the StarSpeeder 1000 in the queue. Darion talked about some of the hidden Easter eggs.

We had a couple of minutes to walk up the ramp and to the ride.

We passed by G2-4T, who is voiced by Patrick Warburton. The ride itself we could not photograph, but my favorite part was while heading into the StarSpeeder, the lights were on in the room that it is housed in. It’s big! Back when I took the Backstage Magic tour, we went behind the scenes of Body Wars when it was an attraction in the former Epcot Wonders of Life pavilion. The amount of movement surprised me when the vehicle was in motion. I expect this is the same, there is plenty of room and they talked about how if anything – like a hat – falls on the ramp to the ride, then the attraction won’t work. And the ramp moves away from the vehicle so it can move.

Hannah got up the courage to tell us her favorite character in Star Wars is Jar Jar Binks. 🙂

We also watched Star Wars: Path of the Jedi. Not only was nobody else in the attraction, but it is closed seasonally and currently it is off season for it. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen the film, and it was nice to catch up on the movie again.

Our group being seated for Star Wars: Path of the Jedi.

The tour moved from place to place easily and quickly – not rushed, we had several rest room stops along the way. But we didn’t have to wait for anything.

Our next stop was Star Wars Launch Bay to meet characters.

The group split up so that it would be quicker to meet each. First, I met Chewbacca.

Kylo Ren was up next.

And BB-8. He was my favorite and actually I hadn’t met him before.

Next, we spent just a bit of time looking in Star Wars Launch Bay. A lot of what is here are replicas, but some are actual set pieces. We didn’t spend too much time here after meeting characters but Hannah and Dorian gave us a little information.

Next, we were going to be part of the March of the First Order. Hannah passed out bottles of water.

During March of the First Order, Captain Phasma leads, then the Stormtroopers follow and we were behind them.

Guests line up to watch Captain Phasma and the Stormtroopers. This was a highlight for many in the group, getting to be part of the procession.

The Stormtroopers stand at attention.

They spend a few minutes at center stage, and we had a viewing area for this.

I then thought we were going to see Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away. We didn’t, it was lunch time and I’ll share some from the show later in the article – that is what we did after lunch.

We were given a reserved area in the Backlot Express.

Each table had place settings with our names. This is the type of thing that I really like during tours, the touches that you won’t get during a standard day visit. I received a nice souvenir certificate, a badge and they also gave us a souvenir Darth Vader stein. I figure the lunch was probably a retail value of $20 and the souvenirs about the same, so that adds a nice bonus to the tour. We were told that the stein can be Chewbacca or another character depending on the day.

One aspect of the tour and also the dessert party that I really liked was having Stormtroopers working the room. It makes the tour something more special, they went from guest to guest for photos and were really a lot of fun.

The Stormtrooper seemed to be instructing Hannah on taking photos.

The Stormtroopers actually took control of who was photographed with them in an organized fashion. I was ordered from the table for my photo.

Just before leaving, we were given dessert – a light saber churro. It was a nice ending to lunch.

Here is a look at our room, it was reserved for our tour.

Next, we went to Walt Disney Presents to see the model of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

It had been a while since I’d looked at it, so it was a nice few minutes to catch up. However, I recommend taking a spin on the very fun Slinky Dog Dash to get a view of the real land construction – it looks great!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open this fall. No date has been given yet.

This gives information on the scale.

An AT-AT model.

Next, we showed up just about 3 minutes prior to Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away into our VIP spot. It was really nice just being able to walk up to a reserved area and view it.

I recommend – especially for kids or anyone with sensitive ears – ear plugs. There are a couple of pretty big booms during this show, I brought a mild pair of ear plugs just to minimize it.

I took a small amount of photos as I was videotaping the whole show as well. Chewbacca was up.

Boba Fett was next.

Darth Vader and Stormtroopers.

Rey with BB-8. She does not meet at Walt Disney World, but does star in this show.

There are some other characters I didn’t show, but this is the ensemble. And yes, you can see it yourself during the day – but the nice aspect of the tour was arriving at the last minute and having the reserved area ready. Everything was ready at every stop we made.

These are Mark Hamill hand prints at the Chinese Theater. This was our last stop for the full group, at about 1:00 p.m. The tour lasted 5 hours until this point and then anyone with kids or wanting to watch the Jedi Training Academy could do that at 2:00 p.m. Kids ages 4-12 can be part of this show without being in the tour, but it is first-come, first serve in the morning to register and is VERY popular. So this is a nice bonus as part of the tour, and there is a reserved area for the family members taking the tour as well.

Later in the evening, we were invited to the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party – this is not part of the tour. However, the VIP fireworks location is the same so I am adding some photos here. I liked this location a lot. It is close to the Chinese Theater so you might not see every firework, but the viewing of the projections is excellent and I could see plenty of the pyrotechnics. This is honestly my favorite spot that I’ve had for the show. We also watched Disney Movie Magic, the projection show before it from this location. I believe that will be replaced by Wonderful World of Animation in May for the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here is a look at some photos from the show.

And here is the end of the show! It was an all-day adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios except for a quick walk I made over to Epcot in between the tour and the dessert party.

I will be reviewing the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party soon.

Here is our Mousesteps Weekly #301 show, queued up to our overview talking about both the Star Wars Guided Tour and the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party. If you want to hear about Epcot too, you can start at the beginning.

We were hosted for this event, receiving one tour credential and two dessert party admissions. We also received admission into the park, but we are Walt Disney World Annual Passholders so we have admission on our own. All views are mine. I enjoyed the Star Wars Guided Tour and recommend it for those who like Walt Disney World tours or are Star Wars fans. I have always enjoyed taking Disney tours, experiencing unique aspects of the parks that are not part of a regular guest experience.