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Disney reveals how its Parks app will make Star Wars Land even more immersive

The Play Disney Parks mobile app will get a huge update come August

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Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

The doors to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge open to Disneyland later this month and Disney World’s Hollywood Studios at the end of August. The expansions will be some of the biggest in Disney Parks history — and definitely the most interactive. On Monday, Disney released more information on how the Play Disney Parks mobile app will integrate with the world of Galaxy’s Edge.

After arriving in the land — which is set up to be a distant outpost planet called Batuu — the Play Disney Parks app will transform into Star Wars: Data Pad. The app contains four different tools to use while navigating the park. Guests can use the “hacking” tool to interact with door panels, and also hack the memories of droids (which might be unethical in the greater sense of the Star Wars universe? maybe?); the “scanning” tool to examine the contents of cargo boxes; the “translation” tool to understand the signs written in the Aurebesh language; and the “tuning” tool to tap into communication devices and antennae in order to pick up secret messages.

Beyond the tools, the app prompts immersive, almost role-playing-like experiences. A parkwide game will encourage guests to pick support for either the Resistance or the First Order — or be an independent “scoundrel” — as they complete more activities and “jobs” around the park. For instance, when boarding the Millenium Falcon ride with the app, guests will have a choice to take on a smuggler’s mission.

Disney parks have dabbled in interactive experiences before, though descriptions of Star Wars: Data Pad suggest a new level of immersion. Other gamified experiences in the Disney parks include the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, which has guests traverse across the Magic Kingdom to collect magic crystals, and Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure (formerly Kim Possible-themed) which sets guests across the global locations in Epcot to help Perry the Platypus defeat Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

The Play Disney Parks mobile app already boasts in-line games and trivia, ride achievements, and curated Apple Music playlists. This update — much like the park expansions — will be one of the biggest additions to the mobile-device-enabled Disney experience.

Though the Disneyland version of Galaxy’s Edge opens on May 31, the app will not be available until Aug. 29, when the Orlando expansion opens.