Unsure what to expect, I was excited and a little bit nervous. It would be my first time with virtual reality (VR). If you haven’t heard about this, the VOID at Downtown Disney District in Anaheim is a VR experience where you are immersed into the Star Wars franchise. For those of you in Florida, no worries! The VOID is also available at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World resort, and you can read Passholder Diva’s review here. I probably cannot explain this much better than the Disneyland website, so here is what they say: “Surrounded by cutting-edge 3-D imagery and sound, Guests can move around freely while virtually interacting with popular Star Wars characters—as well as each other, under disguise in teams of 4—in a multi-sensory environment that combines groundbreaking technology, virtual reality and the magic of illusion.”. So on our most recent trip, we decided to give it a whirl.
First a few requirements: All guests must be 10 years of age or older AND 48-inches or taller. You also must sign a liability waiver and any guests under 18 must have a parent sign for them. If that all works for you, your next stop is to make reservations.
We did not make reservations ahead of time, but that is an option if you know when and at what time you want to have your experience. Reservations are taken outside of the Disneyland and WDW websites directly with The VOID. Click here for Disneyland and here for WDW. We walked up to The VOID, which is located between Sprinkles and the Home store, at about 7:15 on a Thursday night, and the first available reservation was at 7:45 p.m. This is your check-in time, and we were told the entire experience, including check-in, would take about 30 minutes. One person in our party is prone to motion sickness, so we asked about that. The response was that typically this experience does not give the same sensation since the person is in charge of where they look, instead of a ride being in charge. In addition, the person can lift their VR googles if needed and an employee is always there to assist as well.
We arrived at our check-in time and waited only momentarily while the guests ahead of us finished. Our first step was the complete the waiver electronically for us and our children. Once the waiver is signed, you have the option to email it to yourself, and then a wrist band with your QR code is printed and placed on your wrist. It was explained to us that absolutely no cameras, recording devices, smart phones, or social media devices would be allowed in the game. We then used the Force to open the door into the next room. Here we scanned our QR code and were given the option to chose the color of our stormtrooper, and then we moved onto another room where we locked all of our belongings (purses, backpacks, hats, phones, etc.) into a locker and were given a key. Then we shifted into the room where we were helped into our gear. Each of us had a relatively large vest that houses the computing device and headgear with the VR visor. We ranged in size from 4′-11″ up to over 6-feet tall and we all were able to make adjustments to have the gear fit and the visors in focus.
I won’t give too much away about the storyline, so in summary, you are a Rebel spy disguised as a stormtrooper. Your mission is to penetrate the Empire and recover a shipment vital to the Rebellion. You solve puzzles, fight monsters and other stormtroopers, and you are visited by one of the most famous members of the Empire – and I am not lying when I say it was a bit frightening and exciting even though I knew it was fake! You communicate with your team and work together to achieve this mission.
My favorite part? You get to pick up a blaster and shoot away!!! Super cool. The experience includes temperature changes, some footing changes, buttons and levers to push/pull. The VR Rebels communicate with you and at one point, one of my team was having trouble with a puzzle and the VR Rebel let us know that we were not doing well. Oops. Be sure to look around you in each of the areas. The detail is incredible – a bit more then what you would experience doing VR on your friend’s PlayStation. I felt like I needed to do it again so I could take it all in. Plus my teammates talked A LOT, so I missed some of the communication from the VR Rebels. This felt completely immersive and well beyond just a 3-D environment. Plus it is fun to fist bump with your VR stormtrooper fists.
At the end of our mission, the VR googles indicate for you to raise them, and then you are back in the real world. They offer to take a souvenir photo for you. Then you are back to the same room to remove your vests and googles, and retrieve your items from the locker. From here, we exited back to the lobby to view our photo. A 5×8 photo plus high resolution digital copy is $15 plus tax. There are also shirts, jackets and hats available for purchase.
This experience is a bit pricey (see below), but we all enjoyed ourselves immensely and rattled on about it for the rest of the night. It was also a great way to inject some Disney Magic into what for us was a non-park day. So yes, I would recommend that you give this a try for yourself.
A few more notes regarding this experience:
- At Disneyland Downtown Disney, prices for all guests are $32.95 Monday-Thursday and $34.95 Friday-Sunday and Holidays
- At WDW Disney Springs, prices for all guests are $29.95 Monday – Thursday and $32.95 Friday – Sunday and Holidays. You can use your MagicBand if you make reservations in person.
- You will receive 3 hours of validated parking in the Disneyland Downtown Disney parking lot. Complimentary parking is available at Disney Springs at WDW.
- If you decide to make a reservation ahead of time, they are fully refundable up to one hour before your reservation time.
- There are currently no Annual Pass discounts.
- There are accommodations for ADA guests. See the VOID website for specifics.
If you want to create an experience at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World that includes trying the VOID, contact Patricia Payne at All For Dreams Travel.