Star Wars Season of the Force Review: Path of the Jedi and Hyperspace Mountain!

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Tonight on my way to the podcast studio to prepare notes, my friends at Skywalking Neverland tweeted out two messages:

I rushed down from my house to Disneyland. My wife and kids were napping, so I was able to fly Solo. Which is good, I’m faster on my feet! I was able to attend Path of the Jedi and take a ride on Hyperspace Mountain

I was able to walk right into the theater and sit down for Path of the Jedi when I got there, which was great.

The video consisted of random shots from the previous six Star Wars films that sort of inform the audience who everyone in Star Wars was, more or less. It isn’t particularly effective at informing anyone of anything, but the footage was generally wisely chosen. Is it cool seeing Star Wars footage on a big screen? Yes, it is. But at the end of the day, you can chalk 90% of the Path of the Jedi to a highlight reel and not really much more. I don’t want to embrace hyperbole too much, but it was like a really well done YouTube video (and I mean that positively). The highlight of the video is when footage of the second Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer starts to play. Once again, that is really cool to see but it doesn’t really add anything new and there’s nothing special about it.

At times during the 20-minute video, the chairs rock. When you see Kylo Ren on the bridge of his Star Destroyer, they shine a red bright light onto the audience very briefly. From my vantage point, front center, it was sort of distracting and not really immersive. It was hokey to be honest. It felt like they had the technology so they were using it. It was someone turning on their 5.1 sound system to watch the news. It just isn’t the right format for that. A few moments did work though, as when pod racers flew by the camera, air was shot into the audiences face to emulate the passing pods at 600mph. It was a very mixed result with the “4D” elements.

The fact I was able to walk right into Path of the Jedi and sit down and watch it was a huge plus. If I had actually waited an hour to see this presentation, I would have been fairly annoyed because honestly, it just isn’t worth it. It is a shame it didn’t just play Star Wars: The Force Awakens features and TV spots for 20 minutes. That would have been better. That’s why everyone was there.

I really didn’t expect much and Path of the Jedi didn’t deliver much. Even Stevens.

As I walked out of the Path of the Jedi, I was just in time. Hyperspace Mountain had just opened its line up for a soft opening. I hightailed it into the line. Just before entering the building, there’s a view screen with Admiral Ackbar that explains the basic safety instruction of the ride and informs the riders that they have detected a Star Destroyer outside of Jakku so Blue Squadron needs to take care of business:

It was a nice touch. As I walked inside, the main area was exactly the same as it always is. The 1970s ship for Space Mountain was still there above where riders board. What was particularly cool was that the riders in line where cheering and shouting as each “sled” departed for Jakku:

The pictures and footage I shot from inside the ride are pretty much worthless. But I will say it is very fun. John Williams’ score plays inside the ride as TIE fighters and X-wings zip by. I think I saw First Order Star Destroyers flying on the walls and there was chatter from Resistance pilots and so on. It was neat. At the very end, you fly right under a giant TIE, which was really cool.

I can’t really describe the ride and video footage won’t really do the experience justice. Hyperspace Mountain has to be experienced. It won’t change your life. If you’ve been on Space Mountain, it is still Space Mountain. But the Star Wars touches make it cool for us Star Wars fans.

At the end of my stay, I was able to head over to the Pizza Port and pick up a few snacks before going home:

Hyperspace Mountain was exhilarating and fun. Path of the Jedi left a lot to be desired. By Monday night I hope to have Star Tours with the Jakku content and the Launch Bay exhibit reviewed. More soon!

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