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Virtual-Reality ‘Star Wars’ Attractions Coming to Disney Malls


Lucasfilm and the Void, a Utah startup, plan to build “Star Wars” virtual-reality experiences at Disney shopping malls.


LOS ANGELES — Disney is already building lavish new “Star Wars” rides at its theme parks. On Thursday Disney unveiled additional plans for immersive “Star Wars” attractions at its shopping malls.

Lucasfilm, the Disney division that manages everything “Star Wars,” and the Void, a Utah start-up focused on walk-through virtual-reality experiences, plan to offer an attraction called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif., and Disney Springs, which is part of Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Fla. The companies said the experience would open “beginning this holiday season.”

The companies gave few additional details, omitting how much tickets would cost or exactly what participants would encounter. The Void described Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire this way in a news release, “Guests will move freely throughout the untethered, social and multisensory experience as they interact and engage with friends, family and ‘Star Wars’ characters.”

The attraction will probably be similar to one the Void created last year at Madame Tussauds in New York. Featuring a “Ghostbusters” story line and costing $20 a person, that experience allows participants — outfitted with special virtual-reality gear — to feel as if they are searching for ghosts in a New York apartment building. Each person (four people can participate at once) carries a plastic gun that becomes a functioning proton pack, just like in the “Ghostbusters” films, through the magic of virtual reality.

It is easy to imagine the Void creating “Star Wars” lightsaber fights using the same technology. The Void, which participates in Disney’s accelerator program and prefers to call its offerings “hyper-reality,” is collaborating with Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, ILMxLAB, on the Secrets of the Empire project.

The Void is a leader in an area of entertainment that big media companies like Disney see as growth opportunity. Imax has also opened virtual-reality locations that offer multiple experiences — like the video arcades of yesteryear — and a start-up called Dreamscape Immersive, run by a former Disney executive, plans to unveil virtual reality experiences in the fall.

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