Last night thousands of Star Wars fans descended on Disneyland for the most recent Disneyland After Dark event. Star Wars Nite brought a galaxy far, far away to the happiest place on Earth. The result was a lot of VERY happy Star Wars fans as they were able to experience sights, sounds, and even tastes of Star Wars!
The event began at 9:00 P just as Disneyland ended its normal operating hours. As day guests streamed out of the park, the Star Wars Nite guests streamed in. Many were already in the park though having entered at 6:00 PM when the gates opened for the night. Star Wars Nite ended at 1:00 AM on May 4th with a happy May the Fourth greeting as fans flocked out of the park.
The entertainment for this Disneyland After Dark event revolved around some tentpole offerings and one fireworks show. Most of the entertainment could be found on the East side of Disneyland. This included the Small World Mall area, the parade route, and of course Tomorrowland.
Star Wars: Celebrate the Nite
Star Wars: Celebrate the Nite lit up the skies over Disneyland with a beautiful montage of Star Wars music, projections, and of course fireworks. It pulled from several different corners of the Star Wars galaxy and had music that was likely to resonate with everyone. There is something incredibly magical about listening to the amazing music of John Williams coupled with fireworks. This was definitely a highlight of the night!
March of the First Order Featuring Captain Phasma
Another highlight of the night was the March of the First Order Featuring Captain Phasma. This march, much like its counterpart at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, has Captain Phasma on patrol with her squad of Storm Troopers. The group made three stops as it made its patrol through Tomorrowland. It began on the second floor of Star Wars Launch Bay, came down the ramp, and then patrolled Tomorrowland. This was really fun to see and was a great addition to Tomorrowland!
Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Panel
Throughout the night there was also a panel offered on the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land. This panel actually was offered first at 7:30, before the event officially began. It allowed guests to get a look at what is coming when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens at the Disneyland Resort next year. For those who have been keeping pretty good tabs on the news behind this new land, there wasn’t a lot of new reveals offered during this presentation. However, there was a re-infusion of excitement and some personal pictures from the panel that definitely add to the thrill of what is coming. To see the passion, dedication, and fun this team is having was not only inspiring but also exhilarating. There has never been any doubt that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be awesome. However, panels like these just add to the weight of evidence that this is going to be AWESOME! The panel ended with a video by Ron Howard kicking off the ‘Roar for Change.’ This was followed by all in attendance being filmed together roaring to help support UNICEF.
For many of us who have watched Jedi Training Academy in Tomorrowland or at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there has always been a wish to participate. Lightsaber Masters at Star Wars Nite offered this chance. If you had a lightsaber, you were invited to step into the experience and learn the routines of many of the great lightsaber wielders of the Star Wars movies. It was led by some super-fans from the Disneyland Resort cast and also was joined by Daniel Logan, best known for portraying young Boba Fett. There weren’t any Jedi or Sith involved in this, just training, but it really was a fun experience.
Fleet of Fandom
At midnight, Darth Vader and a host of fans dressed up in their favorite Star Wars uniforms and costumes marched down the parade route from it’s a small world. This was a fun moment and made many of us who aren’t, wish they were members of organizations like the 501st Legion. There were some pretty incredible costumes and while it was short, it was awesome to see Darth Vader leading his troops through Disneyland!
In Town Square near the Firehouse, a plethora of droids could be found beeping around and interacting with the guests in attendance of Star Wars Nite. There were several iterations of R2-D2 along with a bunch of other droids. Throughout the night fans took pictures and selfies with them as they came and went from the park. This reminded me of Star Wars Celebration and was a wonderful addition to the party. It really was great to see Disney reaching out to the fan communities and bringing them in to participate in the evening!
There were a LOT of characters on hand for Star Wars Nite at Disneyland After Dark. Throughout the park, there were both character and photo locations. The locations offered guests to make memories with their favorite Star Wars movies and television characters and scenes. Throughout much of the night, the lines were fairly substantial for these but it didn’t seem to dim the enthusiasm of guests. The longest lines were for Star Wars Launch Bay where many of the bigger characters could be found, including Rey who was making her first appearance at the Disneyland Resort. The photos that came from all of these locations were incredible and downloads of the photos were included with entry to the event. Here is a look at all the characters that were offered:
- Boba Fett
- Darth Maul
- Darth Vader
- Kylo Ren
- Seventh Sister
- Jawas (walk around, which was AWESOME!)
- Hoth Photo Location
- Trash Compactor Photo Location
- Sarlacc Pit Photo Location
- Star Tours Photo Location with C-3P0 and R2-D2
- Rebel Base Photo Location with Ezra and Ahsoka
- Jakku Photo Location with BB-8
- Tie Fighter Photo Location with Chopper
- Speeder Bikes Photo Location
All of these photo opportunities made for incredible pictures. The most difficult to take pictures with was probably the most fun though. The Jawas were walking around Tomorrowland and their antics were absolutely hilarious. I think if I were to critique the two Disneyland After Dark events I’ve experienced so far, I would say I missed the walk around characters from the first event during the second event. I would have loved to have had more opportunities to just watch and enjoy Star Wars characters interacting and being themselves in whatever environment they were in. However, this might be difficult due to the popularity of Star Wars characters. What do you think?
Throughout Disneyland there were multiple themed dining options for the night. Most of them seemed to be pretty popular as we were walking. I will admit, due to the amount of time and our priorities for the night, we didn’t experience any of the food. Here is a look at what was offered thought:
Main Street, USA
- Galactic Princess Sundae – Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor
- Scum & Villainy Dog – Refreshment Corner
- Rebel Alliance Grilled Cheese – Jolly Holiday Cafe
- Imperial Red Pepper Tomato Soup – Jolly Holiday Cafe
- Darth Maul Eclair – Jolly Holiday Cafe
- Chewbacca Cheesecake – Jolly Holiday Cafe
- Darth by Chocolate – Jolly Holiday Cafe
- Red Squadron Wings – Plaza Inn
- Darth Vader Bread – Tomorrowland Fruit Cart
- Stormtrooper Bread – Tomorrowland Fruit Cart
- Dagobah Ramen – Alien Pizza Planet
- This is the Burger You’re Looking For – Galactic Grill
- Taquito Sabers – Galactic Grill
- Bulgogi Potato Clones – Galactic Grill
- Hunger Destroyer Pizzadilla – Galactic Grill
- Tractor Beam French Toast Sticks – Galactic Grill
- Beru’s Special – Galactic Grill
- Galactic Red Slush – Galactic Grill
- Cheesy Egg Soufle Breakfast Sandwich – Red Rose Taverne
- Chicharron Nachos – Rancho Del Zocalo
- Darth by Chocolate – Rancho Del Zocalo
- Peach Glazed Pork Belly – River Belle Terrace
- Southern-Fried Bone-In Pork Chop – River Belle Terrace
- Spiced Ham Musubi – Bengal BBQ
New Orleans Square
- Lump Crab and Corn Chowder – French Market
- N’Awlins Caeser Wedge – French Market
- New Orleans-Style Beef Steak Sandwich – French Market
- Chewbacca Cheesecake – French Market
- Imperial Beignets with Hazelnut Cream Filling – Mint Julep Bar
- Red & Blue “Mickey” Biegnets – Mint Julep Bar
- Chicken & Waffle – Hungry Bear Restaurant
- Funnel Cake – Hungry Bear Restaurant
The merchandise for the evening was INCREDIBLY popular. I would venture to say that outside of the line for Star Wars Launch Bay, the line for the Star Trader was the longest line for the evening. It might well have been the longest line as it filled up the queue for Path of the Jedi. As is often the case with events like this, the merchandise gets nabbed up fairly quickly. Everywhere there was merchandise unique to the evening, there was a line. We did not purchase any of the merchandise and by the time we did stick our heads into the Emporium after midnight, it was definitely all gone. If you want merchandise at any future Disneyland After Dark events, prioritize and get it immediately upon the starting of the event.
Anything Star Wars is always going to be a win as long as it is done even remotely well. Star Wars Nite at the Disneyland Resort was a fantastic mix of Star Wars offerings for everyone. It had a fantastic collection of characters and photo locations. The fireworks were definitely a highlight of the evening as was The March of the First Order. The Jawas in Tomorrowland WERE the highlight of the evening for us. They, along with The March of the First Order, really brought Star Wars to life more than any other offerings of the night and that was awesome! It was a glimpse at what I hope to experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge next year. The other offerings were great but, getting to experience the world of Star Wars coming to life and interacting with them as they go about their daily business is just incredible! This event was a late night for me after a day of work but I didn’t feel exhausted at all until the event was over. That is a testament to just how much fun we were having as we raced from one thing to the next. I personally would have liked to have had more experiential walk-around character interactions and also more Star Wars mashups instead of the current pop music but really, those are nitpicky things. Disneyland once again has created an event that is worth the extra cost of admission. I look forward to seeing and experiencing what comes next!