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Darth Vader & Chewbacca Return as Star Wars Launch Bay Reopens

Star Wars character meet and greets restart at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It was heartbreaking. The last time I was at Walt Disney World — in April, earlier this year — I took exactly five photos and put away my phone. After years and years of celebrating the Star Wars cinematic galaxy in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I walked up to the familiar hangar-like structure and found – nothing. Well, next to nothing.

Where previously, I enjoyed a walk down memory lane (or saw previews for upcoming productions and attractions) and then hit a terrific gift shop, there was very little. And very little that was there had changed since before the pandemic.

In my heart, I believed I was witnessing the inevitable. After all, Galaxy’s Edge is now a staple on any Walt Disney World itinerary. And there are plenty of shops to find Star Wars gifts and gear elsewhere.

Launch Bay always provided a respite, an oasis if you will. There you could watch a Star Wars documentary or visit your favorite character. Me, I picked up back issues of Star Wars comics. And I always visited Rey (or at least her costume).

Rey Costume. Image: John Bishop.

However, last time in, there wasn’t anything in the way of new exhibits or characters, and even the store was closed. Thankfully, there was still AC, which enabled me to close my eyes and enjoy the now deserted oasis.

As I sat there, I thought, “Somewhere I missed a memo….”

Launch Bay Returns

But I didn’t miss this one.

Back in June, announced:

Image: Walt Disney World

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Launch Bay returns July 17! A celebration of the legendary space saga, Star Wars Launch Bay is your place for a warm embrace with Chewbacca, a face-to-droid encounter with BB-8 or a run-in with Darth Vader himself for those brave enough.

Soft Opening?

Image: John Bishop

Meanwhile, folks from many outlets today, including our friends over at, reported a soft opening. The photos made it look like everything was back in place. But Darth Vader and Chewbacca had returned.’s Tori Carle posted:

MickeyBloggers at Disney World stopped by the launch bay today to say high to our favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader. We also were able to meet up with the best co-pilot any smuggler could ask for, Chewbacca!

Now, just a few weeks from my next trip to Walt Disney World, I look forward to reprising some of the best photos of my boys from previous travels to Hollywood Studios.

Long live Star Wars Launch Bay!

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