The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Disney’s New Seven Hour STAR WARS Guided Tour
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Disney’s new Star Wars Guided Tour! One of the most underrated attractions at Walt Disney World are the guided tours available across property. Behind the Seeds at EPCOT is a true gem, Magic Kingdom’s Keys to the Kingdom is a must-do for hardcore Disney fans, and the Sanaa Cultural Tour at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a fascinating look at all the details in one of Disney’s best restaurants. In late 2016, Disney announced that a new seven hour tour based around Star Wars would be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at a price of $121.12 per person, not including cost of admission to the park.
To put seven hours into perspective, if you were to watch A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi consecutively it would take less than six and a half hours (although watching the prequels back to back would probably seem like 100 hours). The price is also one of the highest of any tour that WDW offers, would there be value to be found? Thanks to an in-depth investigation by SATURDAY SIX editor in chief Megan Stump, we’re happy to report back the answer is a resounding YES. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite parts of the new guided tour, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…
# 6 – March Behind the First Order
One common theme you see among many of our favorite shows that go to Walt Disney World – including Full House, Step By Step, and last year’s Blackish – is that characters from the show end up joining Disney parades or other shows in the parks. I think this because there is a subconscious, or maybe even conscious, feeling by many people that they want to be part of the show. Guests who take part in the Star Wars Guided Tour get to live out their theme park fantasy by being a part of Captain Phasma’s march of the First Order. Guests meet up up with Captain Phasma and the gang as soon as they come onstage and you travel directly behind the stormtroopers as they make their way down Hollywood Blvd.
# 5 – Guaranteed Spots in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
One of the most fun shows to watch in all of Walt Disney World – but especially for Star Wars fans – is Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. You basically get to see young kids live out the dream most of us had growing up, battling Darth Vader and the Dark Side as Jedi padawans. Guests on the Star Wars Guided Tour don’t need to battle the crowds to check out this extremely popular show, as there is a front row spot waiting for you. Even better, any kids in the group aged 4 through 12 will get to participate in the show.
# 4 – ALL Food and Snacks Are Included During the Tour
Good news, guests will not be going hungry during their seven hour tour. Popcorn and soda is offered during the outdoor activities, followed by a Star Wars themed dinner at Backlot Express, and the event is capped off with a next level bananas dessert party (which we’ll get to later.) The meal at Backlot Express is something else, as choices include the bonkers Royal Guard Burger and the is this real Dark Side Chicken and Waffles. One great touch that the tour has is that guests are assigned planets at the beginning of the tour. We were given Alderaan (we’re 90% sure that this doomed planet wasn’t given because we were from the SATURDAY SIX). When you get to Backlot Express, the tables are reserved for each particular planet. Small things like that make a huge difference when looking at how special a theme park experience is. Guests also place their order for dinner at the beginning of the tour, and it is brought directly to you at Backlot Express.
# 3 – The Best Spots for Every Star Wars Related Show
We mentioned earlier that guests in the Star Wars Guided Tour get right up front for the Jedi Training show, but you also get that same type of reserved viewing area to every Star Wars related show in the park, including the A Galaxy Far, Far Away stage show and the A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show. Guests are also given priority access to the Path of the Jedi movie, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, and exhibits in the Launch Bay.
# 2 – The Dessert Party
There is no denying that some of the offerings sound just plain goofy (c’mon, Grape Saber?) but the overall amount of offerings at the dessert party inside the Star Wars Launch Bay was very impressive. Pretty much ever type of snack was available. Fruit, cheeses, flatbreads, cookies, cupcakes, rice krispie treats, brownies, bread pudding, ice cream, and even freeze-fried Nutella truffle (which shockingly was not called Carbon-froze Nutella truffle). Drinks included Lunar Lemonade (watermelon lemonade) and Jettison Juice (everyone’s favorite POG juice with mango syrup) for the non-alcohol drinkers, and Galactic Punch, Cosmic Citrus Twist, and Light Speed Margarita for those aged 21 and over.
It is important to note this is not a dedicated dessert party solely for Guided Tour guests, but the tour does get let into the party area first. This dessert party alone costs $69, so it is something to factor in when considering the overall value of the Guided Tour. While enjoying the dessert party, guests are encouraged to participate in the meet and greets with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca in Launch Bay. Guided Tour guests recieve immediate access to the characters whereas the other party guests had to wait in line.
# 1 – Tour Guides Giving Fun Facts About Star Wars
The highlight of almost any tour at WDW is the actual Cast Members who guide you throughout the day, and the Star Wars Guided Tour is no exception. From the beginning of the tour all the way until the end, our guides were giving unbelievable details on everything we were experiencing. Some of our favorite bits of info included the cameo of Captain Rex in Star Tours – the Adventure Continues, pointing out the Droids hieroglyphic in the Great Movie Ride, and alerting us to the ice cream maker of Willrow Hood in the Launch Bay. Now we consider ourselves pretty big Star Wars fans, but even we never heard of Willrow Hood, but apparently there is a whole community that cosplays as his character. For Star Wars and Disney parks fans like us, this was the absolute highlight of the entire tour as it let us in on stories that combined two of our most favorite things.
Check-in for the Star Wars Guided Tour is at 1PM, so to participate in attractions such as Toy Story Midway Mania or Tower of Terror, it is recommended to rope drop the park and get as much done possible before hand. The tours take place on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays. For more information or to book your own tour: CLICK HERE
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX Look at Disney’s Seven Hour STAR WARS Guided Tour! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:
How to Survive Star Wars Weekends in Six Easy Step
The SATURDAY SIX Looks at STAR WARS in Walt Disney World
Six Of Our Emotions Coming Out of the D23 Expo (featuring Star Wars Land)
Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Actually Happened at WDW
Six Reasons We Love Univesal’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
Six Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist (But Totally Should)
Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, the Sommelier of Tony’s Town Square Brian Carey, the Patron Saint of Theme Park Bloggers YoPaulieNJ, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now and support SIX NATION (boy do we need a better name than that.)
28 thoughts on “The SATURDAY SIX Looks at Disney’s New Seven Hour STAR WARS Guided Tour”
I have really disliked all the upcharge events that WDW has been offering recently…until now. Congratulations, Disney, you have roped me in! I was disappointed that Disney discontinued Star Wars weekends as I was planning to spend a day on our next trip completely immersing myself in Star Wars. I now have that opportunity again, even if it costs my family a few hundred bucks more.
Looking forward to reading more in depth review of the package.
I agree, a lot of the upcharge events have just seemed disproportionately priced, but for a Star Wars fan (especially if you have kids in the Jedi Training age range), this seems reasonable. While most of the stuff you do on the tour is “curated” from stuff you could do on your own at DHS, having it all put together, organized, with food included, and “front-row” access to everything is pretty great. I still personally would probably not do it (I am a more casual Star Wars fan), but I see the value. Based on this review, I would definitely recommend it to a WDW first-timer who was a Star Wars fan.
Wild Africa Trek and DiveQuest are the only other upcharge experiences that tempt me as being both a unique experience and not overpriced.
Generally nice review, and this seems like a neat package, but…
“X-Wing Transport Ship”? Yeesh. If Touring Plans can spend hours breaking down the films of the Canada Pavilion, surely we can get the name of the ship right.
Article has been updated with the Tantive IV and if anyone else needs me I’ll be over here watching Saturday Night Live.
The comment came off snarkier than I intended–I apologize.
Though, we could keep the “SNL” perspective about this particular internet community, as well.
What time is check-in?
This. Sounds. So. Cool.
Really curious as to whether it would be necessary to do this one day and spend another day at DHS to hit non-Star Wars things. My inclination would be to be at the gates at rope drop, use FP+ for Rock ‘n’ Rolleecoaster, Tower of Terror, Midway Mania, (if possible since Inwoukd be staying offsite and not be eligible for the 60-day FP+ window) and still have time to make the 1:00 check in.
Thoughts, or did I just give you guys an idea to test?.
RnRC and TSMM are both Tier 1 so you’d need to Rope Drop one and FP+ the other. Getting those done in time would be no problem, but Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones would make it harder.
You’re right. Forgot about tiers. But it won’t matter if it isn’t extended past March. So you all go get your tickets and make this a success until I can get out there!
firstname.lastname@example.org. I just called and was told that Disney is booking through March and the tour is a trial run. Probably by the end of February, Disney will decide whether to extend it or not. I was looking for July, so I have a wait. By the way, the tour operates on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday only.
Anyone else fed up with all the Star Wars stuff – or is it just me? I have no interest in it whatsoever – suppose if this is all going on, the queues at the non Star Wars attractions will be shorter – in which case – Hurrah for Star Wars – lol
Reading the tea leaves, with the Force Awakens making almost a Billion dollars in the US alone and Rogue One doing a Billion worldwide, if anything we are going to be getting more Star Wars, not less in the coming years.
Ruth, Maybe a blog on a website dedicated to theme parks capitalizing on popular culture properties they own and are actively promoting isn’t exactly a wise choice for your websurfing.
Just a thought.
What am I missing here? I don’t see the value. 70 bucks for the desert party and then where am I getting 50 more worth of anything? Lunch for 20 I suppose and 30 for attractions I can already do just by walking in the park. I guess if you break it down 30 bucks for the tour, but 7 hours of park time I feel like I could get a lot more done on my own.
If you’ve ever taken a behind the scenes tour at Disney or Universal, one of the biggest selling points is getting the “behind the scenes” info and miscellaneous tidbits and facts from the Tour Guides. While I mentioned some of our favorite bits of information in the article, the reality is you get a ton more. Anyone who has had to rush over in the morning and try to get their kids into the Jedi Training may appreciate that on the Guided Tour you just get to do it, skipping that hassle. As with everything, a lot of the “value” is a personal decision. For Star Wars fans, I personally think the value is there and then some.
Thanks, can you talk a little bit about the other things you get that might bring value? I have some big star wars fans, but only one can do Jedi Training (ages 12,16,18) so that isn’t a big draw. Is it worth it for star wars fans and the behind the scenes info? I have done Behind the seeds and loved it, but the price is a lot lower.
You mentioned earlier that you would have more “time” just doing the same stuff by yourself, but many guests have to waste an inordinate amount of time getting to places just to wait until a show starts so they can get decent viewing of it (and often even then the viewing isn’t that good). With preferred viewing for every single show, you not only have the best views, you have zero wait. We didn’t mention that guests get a Chewbacca stein, and that along with the personalized Star Wars name tags is certainly a $15 Disney value.
So now another 15 off, starting to sound like a decent deal, even if I don’t need 5 steins 😉
The nerdlinger factor in this article isn’t quite high enough, so I thought I would add: it’s not an ice cream maker. At some point it was revealed that it’s a computer core and the guy is trying to find somewhere to hide/destroy it before the Empire can get their hands on it.
Can you please tell us what time dinner at backlot was?
Great article! I love Saturday Six.
Around 5PM. (For you and Don I deleted the other two comments because I think it was a case of miscommunication.)
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