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Meet the new Star Wars droids roaming around Disneyland

Meet the new Star Wars droids roaming around Disneyland
Posted at 6:30 AM, Apr 11, 2024

Someone must have yelled “Punch it!” because Disney just hit the hyperdrive on “Star Wars” updates in Disney parks.

First up, Disney’s oldest Star Wars ride now features some of the franchise’s freshest characters and creatures. On April 5, Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris debuted new characters and scenes, inspired by the Disney+ series “Ahsoka,” “Andor” and “The Mandalorian,” on “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue.”

The debut coincided with the launch of Disneyland Resort’s Season of the Force, a nearly two-month Star Wars-themed celebration, which runs through June 2. The kickoff introduced an impressive number of additions to Disneyland from a galaxy far, far away, including the limited-time debut of roaming character Sabine Wren from “Ahsoka” and “Star Wars Rebels,” new food and drinks, viral souvenir merchandise, a free scavenger hunt, new fireworks, and — the runaway robotic show-stealers — adorable free-roaming droids.

Introducing Disney’s New BDX Droids

For more than 40 years, Star Wars fans have been as enamored with the franchise’s droid characters as with its living, breathing beings, so Walt Disney Imagineering couldn’t have chosen a better story and setting than Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for the public debut of their latest robotic innovation — expressive, free-roaming robotic characters called BDX droids.

MORE: Disney’s first Star Wars ride is getting a big update and some star power

Seamlessly integrated into Disneyland’s highly-immersive Star Wars-themed land, the adorable little “explorer droids” have their own backstory. Built from recycled parts, these newly “restored units” are still in training. They roam the parks accompanied by a droid trainer, who warns audiences that they are young and still learning.

Bursting with personality, the little droids perform scans on the crowd, collecting data and looking for bounty hunters and other troublemakers — though sometimes they also get into some trouble of their own. I caught one of the droids shaking its little droid behind at the crowd — as you can see in the following video. The trainer jokingly admonished the droid, named “Grek,” for being a bit inappropriate — eliciting endless giggles from the crowd.

The droids are highly emotive, using sound, head tilts, eyes that light up, responsive antennae, bouncing, waving and even dancing to engage adoring onlookers. They also interact with each other like supportive and sometimes mischievous little siblings.

The BDX droids will roam around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland on a daily basis during Season of the Force. Be sure to check the Disneyland app for daily times.

The droids were also featured in the debut episode of Disney’s new YouTube series, “We Call It Imagineering,” which provides an inside look into Walt Disney Imagineering’s creative and design process. The show was inspired by segments filmed of Walt Disney as he walked viewers though the process of designing and building Disneyland.

In addition to the BDX droids, the first episode, focused on audio-animatronics, provides first looks at stunning new audio-animatronic figures coming this summer to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Walt Disney World, and later this year to Disneyland.

The Mandalorian and Grogu, Ahsoka and Cassian Andor Join Star Tours

Star Tours has been around since 1987 at Disneyland Park and 1989 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the 3D flight simulator ride has been refreshed throughout the years, adding new scenes, storylines and popular characters as they join the Star Wars universe.

Tom Fitzgerald, senior creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and a leading creative force behind Star Tours since its inception, calls the ride “the greatest hits attraction of the Star Wars universe.”

Star Tours Disneyland
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

Piloted by C-3PO and navigated by R2-D2, the Starspeeder 1000 ship takes passengers to multiple destinations during four randomized main scenes from across the Star Wars timeline. Randomization enables the addition of scenes featuring characters and locations from new films and — for the first time ever — Disney+ series, without having to retire longstanding favorites.

“When these characters become beloved to our guests and fans, Star Tours gives us a chance to add them in and enrich that attraction so it can keep growing and growing and growing with Star Wars,” Fitzgerald said.

With the updates that debuted on April 5, Star Tours flights could now include an urgent message from Ahsoka Tano, Cassian Andor or Din Djarin and Grogu, aka The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.

characters from the mandalorian

Each of the transmissions adds a different tone to the scene — Andor is urgent and mysterious; Ahsoka is warm, confident and earnest; and “father and son” Din and Grogu elicit the usual “Awwws,” along with a laugh-out-loud, classic Grogu moment.

For a limited time, guests can expect to see one of the three new transmissions, and will also travel to the ride’s new destination, the planet Seatos, where the Starspeeder flies alongside Ahsoka in her T-6 Jedi shuttle in a space battle amongst a pod of Purrgil, as seen in the new attraction poster below.

Seatos: New Destination on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland Park

You could also experience a new opening scene featuring Ahsoka fending off Stormtroopers with her two white lightsabers before springing into her ship and taking off.

The Purrgil, a majestic species of “space whales” capable of traveling through hyperspace, were first introduced in the animated series “Star Wars Rebels,” before making their live-action debut in “Ahsoka” alongside a number of other “Rebels” characters.

Sabine Wren Debuts at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland

Sabine Wren Disneyland
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

In addition to the Purrgil, a surprise additional “Star Wars Rebels” and “Ahsoka” character was introduced on April 5. Sabine Wren, Mandalorian member and Padawan to Ahsoka Tano, made her limited-time debut in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Season of the Force. I got a chance to talk to Sabine during her first appearance on Friday. Hear from her in the video below:

The Force Is Stronger At Disneyland

The new additions to Star Tours debuted at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, but diehard Star Wars fans have good reason to feel drawn to the West Coast, particularly through June 2 during Season of the Force.

The celebration includes limited-time Star Wars experiences and offerings like Hyperspace Mountain, a Star Wars-themed overlay to Space Mountain that many agree is better than the original.

Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

A few of the celebration’s food and beverage souvenirs also got everyone’s attention. A perfectly recreated Jabba the Hutt popcorn bucket makes Jabba’s signature sinister laugh when his mouth is open, and the bucket comes with a clip-on Salacious B. Crumb, Jabba’s sidekick and pet Kowakian monkey-lizard.

Jabba the Hutt Popcorn Bucket
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

At Oga’s Cantina, the popular watering hole in Galaxy’s Edge, two drinks have been resurrected from Walt Disney World’s spectacular but recently shuttered Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience. The Silver Sea Martini and Fiery Mustafarian, cocktails previously served onboard the Halcyon starcruiser, are being sold in souvenir glasses bearing the Chandrila Star Line logo from Galactic Starcruiser.

Galactic Starcruiser glasses Oga's Cantina
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

There’s even a brand new free scavenger hunt-type experience that spans both Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Tomorrowland. Participants can pick up a free map in Tomorrowland, which shows the location of hidden canisters around Galaxy’s Edge, each containing a coded number and letter written in Aurebesh, the common alphabet used in the Star Wars universe. Canisters are hidden in plain sight, and you’ll find yourself noticing more of the land’s stunning details as you search. Players then return to Tomorrowland to decode a message for a free souvenir.

See if you can spot the canister in the beautiful setting below.

Season of the Force Disneyland Seek and Find
Brooke McDonald/Simplemost

New Star Wars Fireworks Light Up the Skies

Star Tours updates weren’t the only permanent debut during Season of the Force. First announced as a limited-time offering, “Fire of the Rising Moons” is a new nighttime experience in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that reframes Disneyland Park’s fireworks by adding dynamic lighting along with music from John Williams’ iconic film scores and Star Wars Disney parks attractions, to be seen and heard from any of three viewing locations within the land.

"Fire of the Rising Moons” in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park

Disney Live Entertainment executive creative director Michael Serna confirmed that the show will stick around beyond Season of the Force, and will change to coincide with Disneyland’s main show. Because “Fire of the Rising Moons” is choreographed and paired with music paced to the main show, Serna says with each different show, “you’ll want to come back because you’ll hear different things and the show will actually have a whole different profile.”

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