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Star Wars ‘hyper-reality experience’ coming to Disneyland, Disney World

Opening in time for the holiday season

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire concept art
Concept art for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which is coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World this holiday season.
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Disney’s theme park division is already working on an immersive Star Wars resort à la Westworld, but for people who lack years of patience, the company is bringing a virtual reality-based Star Wars attraction to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World this year.

Known as Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, the attraction was created and developed by Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB in partnership with The Void. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because The Void has begun to make a name for itself as a company providing immersive experiences that go beyond VR, with elements like haptic feedback and even smells. The Void teamed up with Sony Pictures last year for an attraction called Ghostbusters: Dimension, which debuted at Madame Tussauds in New York City.

Here’s the description of Secrets of the Empire from The Void:

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. They will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi-sensory Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience in a way that allows them to interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters.

Visitors to a Void attraction don a VR headset, noise-canceling headphones and a vest that contains a number of haptic modules. The visuals and the sensory inputs trick their mind into believing they’re somewhere else, doing something wild — like interacting with a ghost or a Star Wars alien.

“By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB, in a news post on the Star Wars website.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is set to open at two new Void experience centers — one at Disneyland’s Downtown Disney, and the other at Disney World’s Disney Springs — this holiday season. In other words, the attraction won’t be a part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars theme park that is scheduled to debut at Disneyland and Disney World in 2019.