So what is your favorite Disney film? Is it a classic, like Sleeping Beauty? Is it a more recent animation work, such as Frozen? Well there are so many films that have been flawlessly done by Disney over the generations, and it seems that with the purchase of the rights to Star Wars and Marvel that there is no limit to the reach that Disney seems to have.
Since I have relocated back from Scotland to California, my family was kind enough to gift me with an annual pass for my birthday. I think that most people have heard the rumors and news clippings about the plans that Disney has to convert part of their park into a Star Wars land. In Tomorrow Land, they have a, dare I say it, a sort of museum! Recently at the Disneyland park in Anaheim, Disney has opened ‘Star Wars Launch Bay’, with ‘Super Hero HQ’ on the upper level of the building. If you want to visit the official Disney web site, click here to be taken to their page on Star Wars Launch Bay.
The Star Wars Launch Bay includes an awesome exhibition with replica models, costumes, and props from the Star Wars movies. Since I am a Star Wars fan, I was very excited to get up close to these displays! Per usual for Disneyland, people are usually crawling everywhere, and kids have their noses pressed up against the glass as they gawk at the blasters and Darth Vader costumes. Along the sides, areas are roped off for people to take pictures with their favorite characters in costume, such as Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. The Super Hero HQ upstairs has a similar format, with displays of props from movies and opportunities to take photos with Thor and Spiderman. Both areas also have game consoles for people to try out video games, and interactive screens that superimpose Iron Man costumes onto your body.
Yes, I do take note that this is a theme park, not a proper museum. The two are very different places. But here is something that I can say Disney has over normal museums- people were openly having fun! Kids were running, and engaging with the displays. Visitors really have an opportunity to explore, play, laugh, and enjoy themselves. On the other hand, some of this comes with a price. Allowing children to get up close and bang against the sides of the display cases has resulted in some serious wear and tear on the older cases in the Super Heroes HQ upstairs where the Thor prop weapons were on display. Check out those scratches on the glass! I did not notice any obvious scratches on the cases in the Star Wars exhibition downstairs, but I did notice the custom case design for the cases, that make them look like a cargo hold on the inside of a space ship. That is a great, yet expensive way to reinforce the motif of the exhibition and create atmosphere for the visitors. The labels inside the case were also well done. They had adequate explanations that satisfied my more intense level of curiosity, but they were not overwhelming for those who are more casually interested in the exhibitions topic.
I would also like to mention that it was very easy for me to tell that Disney did not have a professional install the display cases for the Star Wars exhibition. The insides of the cases had lint, dirt, and other white particles on the black upholstered display blocks. I could also see large fingerprints on the perspex mounts that were supporting the model ships, and smudges on Darth Vader’s helmet, of all places- someone should have been wearing gloves while handling those objects! These of course are small details that in reality have little bearing on the experience of the average visitor. The first time I walked through, I was driving my friends and partner crazy as I was pointing all of these details out! But once you have crossed over to the dark said, the side of museums, there is little chance of ever going back!
I realize that next time you are able to visit Disneyland, waiting in line for Hyperspace Mountain will probably be further towards the top of your list rather than going to the Star Wars Launch bay or Super Heroes HQ. But, if you have time, I would urge you to take a quick lap through the building and check out some of the awesome stuff they have! If you want to see more pictures that I took in the exhibitions along side some mildly sarcastic captions, check out my photo gallery post by clicking here.
Peace and long life.