Let’s talk Star Wars / Tours and SWGE

So I’ve just watched the Star Wars episode of Behind the Attraction on Disney+ and it’s left me with some questions.

  1. Just how successful and respected a franchise is Star Wars? My feeling — which may not be widely shared — is that the first three (i.e. IV, V and VI) were revolutionary and universally adored. The next three (I, II and III) were awful, yet somehow George Lucas was not jailed for life with no possibility of parole. And the last three (VII, VIII and IX) were generic space action movies that are entirely forgettable. Actually, talking of George Lucas, is he the genius he’s presented as being? On a scale of 1 to Shakespeare, where Walt Disney is a 6, where is George Lucas?

  2. When you visit SWGE and ride MFSR and ROTR just how fully immersed are you? Do you really think you’re there? Are you able to suspend disbelief? A popular statement amongst theme park designers is “We want you to feel that you’re right there in the action.” Do you feel like that? (And what about the other two major immersive lands — Pandora and WWOHP — how immersed do you feel in those?)


Great questions!!

  1. I’m not educated enough in arts to rate Shakespeare over Walt Disney, but I would say George Lucas is about a 6 or 7.

  2. I can only address your bracketed part as I’ve still not made it to Galaxy’s Edge. Pandora is stunning and FoP is the single most immersive attraction I’ve ever experienced. I don’t however feel that immersed in the land, but I still appreciate it for being so highly themed.
    WWoHP on the other hand has sucked me in several times. The FJ line through Hogwarts is so utterly realistic. I’ve felt butterflies a few times in there while feeling like I’m in the real thing. I think it’s a masterpiece!


Pandora is definitely immersive and I was not a huge fan of the movie, The two rides there were better in my opinion than the movie, definitely don’t misses!

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I don’t find Pandora immersive at all but then I’ve only seen bits of Avatar. It’s pretty but doesn’t make me feel like I’m on an alien planet. I haven’t been seen SWGE opened.

WWOHP is so immersive! It’s just like being in the films. I could believe I was on the set.

  1. You’re right about the original trilogy being revolutionary and still holding up to this day. The prequels were originally panned by critics for too much CGI and clunky dialogue, but as kids who grew up on them have grown up, they have enjoyed a renaissance and people have come around to appreciate the good in them. The sequels have a very strong fan base, some of which is divided on The Last Jedi vs The Rise of Skywalker, and it’s quite popular in general, even if not to the same degree as the originals. Personally I love every Star Wars movie and TV show. I put George Lucas right up there with Walt Disney in terms of genius. I have read several books on him and the making of the films, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
  2. It’s quite an immersive land as far as lands go, but I never feel like I’m “really” in a land, even SWGE or WWoHP.

I thought SWGE was much more immersive than Pandora. The signage, the CMs interaction with guests, no visible evidence of Disney (signs, merchandise, sights outside the land). I haven’t been to Universal since they added anything Harry Potter.


The fan base alone shows that SW is a hugely successful franchise. To be able to appeal to multiple generations of people over a 30-40 year span is a very high bar. Both Disney and SW have done that. HP is kind of, sort of doing that as we speak. When the books were in the release stage, the fact that both adults and teens liked them is what happened then. That’s not the same thing. The level of engagement it gets today is the true measure. And I don’t think it’s as strong. Probably because there are few new releases to keep it going.

I put George one knot below Walt, so I give him a 5. His arrogance annoys me.

For immersion, WWOHP wins. SWGE close second and Pandora a sad third. Maybe even tied with Toy Story land.

  1. I think when you were born impacts your love for the movies. I love the original trilogy and new movies. My 11 yo son loves 1-3. My 14 yo daughter loves 7-9 but when she was little her favorite character was Darth Maul.

  2. I prefer GE over WWOHP (in full disclosure I have only been to the California one). With WWOHP the insistence that the shop sizes be closer to real life makes it feel very claustrophobic. Also, GE has characters walking around with a commitment to a specific timeframe. (I have a friend who HATED the last movie and I keep teasing him that when he goes to Disney World with me, it will be like that movie never happened). That level of interaction puts it on the top of the list for me.

I’ve never been on a ride like ROTR. I really did feel like I was part of the action. When you go from the Interrogation room and the cast member opens up the door and says, “I’m from the resistance! I’m here to rescue you!” I cheered! So did everyone else around me! It was just so exciting!

I’m excited for the Star Wars hotel and what that will bring.


@cbalusek WWOHP is 10 times better in Orlando. We were underwhelmed in the Hollywood version (plus we hated FJ!) but love the one in UOR, specifically Diagon Alley and KNockturn Alley. If you have a chance to go there, you should.

@dianelynn Cars Land in DCA is way better than Pandora or TSL - you have to experience it if you haven’t! It’s pretty amazing and fun, but as far as feeling like you are part of the story … WWoHP and SWGE have it beat for me.

The first time I walked into GE was at DL in August 2019. Crowds were super light as it was after school had started for much of the country. We were completely alone as we entered and could see/hear the First Order Storm Troopers. I had this incredible instinct to hide or run! It was probably the only time that I almost for a minute suspended my disbelief. I’ve never felt that in WWoHP, but it’s harder to experience that when you’re surrounded by muggles. I’ve also never felt it again in SWGE, probably because so many people around. But that first moment … it was pure magic.


Absolutely and the more I learn about him the more I am awed by him.


I see what you did there :wink:

And I pretty much agree with your whole overview. George Lucas is brilliant and was way ahead of his time when he created Star Wars.


Haha! Good catch. I’ll pretend it was intentional. Actually the way Star Wars has permeated my subconscious it might as well have been.


We were at GE for the first time ever today. It was great-loved it-been a fan since the original movie (which yes I saw in the theater!) It was “somewhat” immersive for me, but I have to say not nearly as much as WWoHP at Universal. To me, hands down, that is the most “realistic” and it feels like I’m really in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade or on the HE…


Not having been to WWOHP and feeling that Batuu is pretty darned immersive, I wonder if you are able to verbalize what makes the difference. Why is WWOHP so much more believable?

I think it might be that it looks just like I imagined Diagon Alley to look after reading the books. The interactive wands, kids and adults alike dressed in robes for each of the four houses, the iconic music from the movies…When we walked through the castle it was easy to imagine we were “in” Hogwarts. Same for Gringotts. I suppose with Battuu since it’s not from any of the movies and I don’t have that familiarity with it -even though I’ve watched every Star Wars movie first run in theaters and was a HUGE fan growing up with it- I didn’t find it AS immersive. Maybe if it was Tatooine and Mos Eisley it would have been? Or, maybe I’m just comparing it to WWoHP after being at Universal earlier this summer. Either way, I did thoroughly enjoy GE and am looking forward to going there again later this week! :blush:


Maybe it could be that it is easier to adjust the details of what is actually in front of you in WWOHP from what you imagined reading the HP books, but it is more difficult to adapt what you saw in movies with the fictional Battuu?