"The Last Jedi" opening weekend (Sun)

by Darth Danno
on 2018-01-31, 07:53:42

Now I attended "Secrets of the Empire" the second day it was open, so my review/report is based on that. Since then, the facility's appearance, both outside and in, MAY have changed from what I've reported here.

I wanted to get up and go to Magic Kingdom and see what they did with the park for the holidays, but considering I tackled two parks + Disney Springs the day before, add to that I'm hitting the half century mark this year, my body was having none of that. Since I didn't have to be back at Disney Springs until 3:30, I ended up sleeping in.

After getting up and having something to eat, I headed over to DS early in the afternoon and just killed time until my scheduled appt. time. I didn't take any pictures of the building because there really wasn't anything noteworthy to take pictures of. From the outside, it looked like a regular house. No signage or anything in the windows indicating what was going on inside. They actually had employees standing outside telling people what was going on inside, and I'm sure they were also stating that the event was sold out for the weekend, at least it was per their website.

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There wasn't even anything pic-worthy in the lobby either, it was all rather drab, and I hope in the near future they do something to spruce it up with at least a few banners, posters, or something. I checked in, got my wristband, got scanned in, and was ready to go.

You need to go through the event with at least one other person, so they teamed me up with a girl who was doing this by herself as well. They first take you into the briefing room where you're told you'll be disguised as Stormtroopers, and we needed to pick the color of our pauldron. I picked black while my compatriot chose pink. Then we listened to the briefing given by none other than Cassian Andor himself. (I was told this mission takes place right before the events in "Rogue One") It was just a transmission tho, unfortunately Diego Luna wasn't actually there. We were to board a hijacked Imperial transport to infiltrate one of the Empire's top secret bases to find out what was inside a particular shipping crate the Imperials had acquired, how exciting!

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Then we were led into what I would best describe as the "gear up" room, and it looked like a locker room for a S.W.A.T. team. All our vests hung on chains from the ceiling, and the VR helmets were all lined up neatly on shelves. With the vest still attached to the chain, we had to slip into them, buckle them up, then pull on various straps to tighten them. Then we were given our VR helmets, put them on, buckled the chin strap, and then turned a knob on the top of the headset to tighten it to our preferred fit. Now we were ready to go, and were ushered into another room, I started to move only to realize my vest was still hooked to the ceiling chain and one of the employees had to release me before I could go anywhere.

Now we were led into a plain, blank, room and were instructed to lover our VR visors, but before doing that were told to check 3 things after doing that: 1. Make sure you can see your partner. 2. Hold up your hands and make sure you can see them. 3. Talk to each other and make sure you can hear each other. So after lowering my visor, I turned to my left and lo and behold, there was a Stormtrooper standing next to me. I held my hands up to my face and sure enough, I had Stormtroooper armor on. Then I asked my cohort if she could hear me, she said she could and asked if I could hear her, I could, then we turned to face the employee who brought us into the room, he wished us good luck and that the Force may be with us, then simply…pixelated away. Not sure what to do next, I turned to my right and was suddenly face to chest with K-2SO, who instructed us to come in and sit down (and sure enough, there was something to sit down on) as we began our adventure to the planet Mustafar!

I don't want to give any more away other than to say that somewhere along the trip, you actually get to pick up and use an E-11 blaster rifle. The whole thing from start to finish took 30 minutes, but it felt sooooo much shorter than that. A few tips for those planning to go:

  1. If you know when you're going to be going to Florida as far as dates, try to buy your tickets to this at that time, rather than waiting until you get to Florida as the time slot(s) you may like/want/need could be sold out. The cost for this was $30.00, I believe, and well worth the price.
  2. The gear you have to wear is warm and snug fitting. I was just wearing a t-shirt under it and I was sweating, so no jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts, and the like. But I believe there were lockers you could use to store things like that if need be. I'm not sure if the vests fit all sizes, so if you, or anyone accompanying you, let's say shop at a big and tall store, you might want to check before purchasing your tickets. I also took my glasses off before putting on the headset, I believe you can use it over your glasses if need be, but I'd check on that just to be safe.
  3. I know this is going to sound weird, but if you can, practice up on your "Simon" before accepting this mission as there is one portion in which you are literally playing a version of the game to unlock a door whilst your compatriot(s) are fending off a battalion of the Imperials finest who have come to realize you are not who you appear to be. You actually can feel it when you're shot. It doesn't hurt or anything like that, and you don't have a life bar that you need to worry about, thank goodness!

This is something I would definitely do again whenever I can return to Florida. I believe everyone gets the same mission however, and so everyone will get to see the exact same thing. Over time, I would like to see them be able for you to make different choices. Like you come to a hallway where you could either go left or right. If you go left, X happens, if you go right, Y does. Giving people more reason to want to do this over and over, kind of like "Star Tours" where I believe they have over 30 different scenarios for you to partake in.

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After the mission ends, to a resounding success I might add, we're led back into the "gear up" room where we now take off everything, then we could enter our comments/criticisms regarding the event in a little datapad, and then were free to leave. I expected to spend 30-45 minutes perusing their gift shop, but their wares consisted of only two hats, one black and one grey, and both just said "VOID" (that's the name of the company who runs this whole thing), nothing Star Wars-related whatsoever. Wanting some sort of memorabilia from my day, I bought the black cap.

I had also bought a ticket to see "The Last Jedi" at the AMC theaters here at Disney Springs today, but not wanting to be rushed for time, my ticket was for the 6:30 show. Considering it was now just after 4:00, I had a lot of time to kill. But it was a nice day, and I didn't mind walking around the complex, seeing what there was to see, and just sitting outside, taking in the beautiful weather, knowing full well what awaited me tomorrow upon my return to Chicago. I didn't realize that Disney Springs had 2 AMC theaters, right in close proximity to one another, but I found that out soon enough when I went into one theater and couldn't find the screening room I was supposed to be in.

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After the movie ended, I made one final stop at the Star Wars store to pick up some things that Eric wanted me to get for him, then headed out to catch the bus back to the hotel. My flight was well after 12:30 in the afternoon on Monday, but the bus I was scheduled to be on from the hotel to the airport was at 8:25 am! So I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how to best pack all my newfound treasures to avoid damage, and pondering when I'd be able to return to this wondrous and magical place again.





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