/ Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

 

Star Wars Tomorrowland Takeover

Star Wars has an ever growing presence in the Disney Parks that is only going to get bigger with Galaxy’s Edge opening next year in Walt Disney World and Disneyland, but even before Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars has emerged in different Disney Parks around the world. Hong Kong Disneyland is no different, as over the last few years, Star Wars has slowly taken over one half of HKDL’s Tomorrowland.

As you walk into Tomorrowland, the left side of the area is pretty much all Star Wars. In the far left corner, what used to be Stitch: Live is now a Star Wars Command Post, a place where you can meet both Chewbacca and BB8. In the middle of Tomorrowland sits Jedi Training: Trails of the Temple a similar show-based attraction to those in the other Disney Parks. This interactive show recruits young guests to train as Jedi to fight an array of Star Wars villains.

Star Wars is a growing fandom in Hong Kong Disneyland, and all of the previously mentioned attractions add to this world that is being created here. That being said, the “main event” of this Star Wars take over in Tomorrowland is Hyperspace Mountain. Hyperspace Mountain is not only the weenie of Tomorrowland, it might be the marque attraction for all of Hong Kong Disneyland, making it the fitting next chapter in my “Spotlight on” Series.

 

The History and Backstory

Before it went “Hyper” Space Mountain was one of HKDL’s main attractions. Opening in September of 2005, Space Mountain was similar to that of Disneyland’s updated version, with a few minor tweaks.

That was until 2016, when Space Mountain went away and received a permanent Star Wars overlay and became Hyperspace Mountain. The premise is simple, intrepid adventurers are recruited by Admiral Akbar, climb into a spaceship, jump into hyperspace to battle a Star Destroyer that was spotted near Jakku and engage in a high speed battle through space.

Hyperspace Mountain queue

The Exterior

Like a lot of the design of this attraction, the exterior is simple but effective. A large sign welcomes people from all over to join in on the fun happening in outer space. However, I think the Space Mountain building in any Disney Park is one to be admired and Hong Kong’s is no different. White and prominent, the show building is one that is timeless and able to accommodate the old story of Space Mountain and Hyperspace Mountain’s new story with incredible ease.

 

The Queue

Hyperspace Mountain queue

The most impressive thing about the queue of Hyperspace Mountain is the giant X-Wing that sits adjacent to the fastpass queue. Not only is it impressive to look at, it also sets the scene well for what is about to follow.

After that, screens line the halls informing guests of the mission and indoctrinating them into not only the world of Star Wars but also what they will be encountering in Hyperspace.

Once again, the queue isn’t too heavy on effects or story, but what it does do, it does simply and effectively. It sets up the story and informs the guests of what’s about to happen.

 

The Preshow

Hyperspace Mountain Preshow

There isn’t really a preshow for Hyperspace Mountain, per say, but there is a video of Admiral Akbar playing on repeat just before you enter the loading bay. Akbar tells us that there has been a Star Destroyer spotted near Jakku, and it’s up to us to go into Hyperspace and fight the fleet.

A simple yet potent “preshow.” Nowhere near the “best” preshow in the world, but the video serves its purpose, and it’s cool to see Admiral Akbar before you board the ride vehicle.

 

The Ride Vehicle

Hyperspace Mountain ride vehicles

Above the vehicle loading bay, sits some impressive looking planets that add to the atmosphere of the space station. The Hyperspace vehicles didn’t change from their Space Mountain counterparts.

The ride vehicle for Hyperspace Mountain sits two to a row and is more similar to the ride vehicles of the Disneyland version of the attraction than that of the Walt Disney World attraction. In my opinion, they are also the comfiest Space Mountain vehicles in any Disney Park. This allows for a much smoother, yet still exhilarating ride.

 

The Attraction

Hyperspace Mountain in Hong Kong Disneyland

Once in your space vehicle, your car moves towards the “blast off point.” You then plunge into hyperspace. Once you emerge from hyperspace, you are in the depths of space; the Star Destroyer can be seen in the distance with ominous music playing throughout. You are given a few seconds to compose yourself, before being thrust into the battle. You weave in and out the space battle, dodging Tie Fighters, avoiding laser blasts and firing a few blasts of your own.

Just when all is lost, John Williams’ score picks up and your vehicles gain momentum, successfully destroying the Star Destroyer and you successfully save The Galaxy. You return to the Loading Bay where your are congratulated and thanked by Admiral Akbar.

Space Mountain can be known to be a rough and intense experience. Now I’m not saying that Hyperspace Mountain is a walk in the park. The attraction is a little intense in parts, but it is definitely the smoothest Space Mountain attraction that I have ridden. This lets you fully immerse yourself in the experience without leaving the attraction complaining of back or neck pain.

 

The Experience

Up until the attraction itself, the set-up to Hyperspace Mountain is quite simple and a little basic. But, I don’t think that’s a bad thing because, as soon as your step, in that ride vehicle, everything changes.

The whole experience of Hyperspace Mountain is nothing short of breathtaking. From the movement of the vehicle, to the soundtrack, to the lighting and visual effects, down to the smoothness of the ride, everything comes together so perfectly that not only are you fully immersed in the Star Wars Universe, the overlay is so good that it’s hard to believe that Hyperspace Mountain isn’t the original purpose of the attraction.

I rode Space Mountain multiple times before it turned into Hyperspace Mountain, and the attraction was good. However, the overlay has improved this attraction tenfold. I would go out on a limb an say Hyperspace Mountain could be the most effective “overlay” of any ride in any Disney Park.

 

The Verdict

I think it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of Hyperspace Mountain. Up until Galaxy’s Edge, I feel like Hyperspace Mountain at Hong Kong Disneyland is the most immersive Star Wars experience out there right now. I think this experience is complemented by the fact that an aspiring Jedi can go to the Trials of the Temple, battle the Sith, go to the command post to meet Chewbacca, and then go through hyperspace and battle a Star Destroyer. All these elements blend together in HKDL to provide a thrilling Star Wars experience. If I was an 8-11 year old experiencing these attractions, I would be in my Star Wars geek-dom element. Hey, at 28 years old, I am still in my Star Wars element and Hyperspace Mountain is the pinnacle of that.

What do you think? Have you been on Hyperspace Mountain in Hong Kong? Did you enjoy it? Maybe you experienced Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland or Disneyland Paris.

 

(All Photos are from the personal collections of Daniel Morris and Sophie Parry)

 

To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.

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