November 2015 – present
Tomorrowland – To find the Launch Bay, follow the main path from Main Street USA into Tomorrowland. You’ll see the round building at the end of the walkway, to the right of Autopia.
With the opening Star Wars Episode VII in 2015, Disney wanted to bolster the franchise’s presence within the park. Disneyland announced plans to break ground on Star Wars Land in 2016, but until the new land debuts, Tomorrowland will serve as the Star Wars hub of Disneyland. To commemorate what Disney calls “The Season of the Force”, various Tomorrowland attractions have temporary overlays, new names, or exclusive Star Wars merchandise. But the biggest news of all is that Season of the Force has introduced a brand new attraction: The Star Wars Launch Bay.
The Star Wars Launch Bay replaced Innoventions, which closed in early 2015. The Launch Bay is the largest Star Wars attraction in the park (until Star Wars Land opens, of course), and serves as a mixture of a museum, meet and greet space, and interactive arcade.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – N/A
When you arrive at the launch bay, you’ll pass the famous opening line to each Star Wars film: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”, and enter through the main doors. Once inside, you’ll see a carpet with the famous Star Wars scroll, welcoming you to the Launch Bay. This space has a number of different rooms branching off the central atrium, which closely resembles the Jedi Archives from the films. The different activities within the Launch Bay are the following:
- The Force Awakens Gallery
- Light Side vs. Dark Side character Meet & Greet (Chewbacca & Darth Vader)
- Star Wars game room
- Mos Eisely Cantina room
At the end of the walkthrough, guests enter a Star Wars gift shop, which includes virtually identical costumes to those in the film, light sabers, and other memorabilia. Guests exit the Launch Bay through the side doors, which lead right back into the center of Tomorrowland.
MY RATING: ★★★☆☆
There’s quite a bit to see in the Launch Bay, but there’s also a lot of empty space. The gallery at the front of the Launch Bay is the best part; you can see props, costumes, and vehicles from The Force Awakens and other Star Wars movies. The meet and greet is also cool, especially since you are supposed to choose to align yourself with the light side or the dark side of the force. But the Launch Bay could have been a lot more than it is. When I visited, I went straight for the Mos Eisley Cantina, and was extremely disappointed to find a completely empty room with a small bar in the back corner; there’s nothing to see and nothing to do. The central atrium also lacked much detail, aside from two or three corner walls illuminated as opposed to a huge glowing library. I’m hoping if this attraction is here to stay, it grows over time into something really great. In the meantime, it’s worth seeing, but only for the galleries at the front.
The Star Wars Launch Bay is a walkthrough attraction that is completely open, so you can spend as much or as little time here as you want. Even on very crowded park days, you shouldn’t have any problem making your way through the exhibits, minus the meet and greet. If you want to meet Chewy or Vader, visit before lunchtime; otherwise you’ll be in for a much longer wait.
This building has been host to a number of different attractions during its lifetime, including the Carousel of Progress, America Sings, and Innoventions.
The upstairs of the building is a separate attraction, called Super Hero HQ.
The Star Wars Launch Bay is the only place at the resort where guests can purchase adult-size replica costumes.