Review: Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Welcome to the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience!

Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

In conjunction with Star Wars Weekends, an entire half of Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been completely transformed.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Backlot Express transformed into Rebel Hangar

Backlot Express transformed into Rebel Hangar

From now through June 14th, instead of entering the standard theming of the movie production warehouse, guests will walk into a long-abandoned building that once served as a busy spaceport in the Sullust system.

The story of the Rebel Hangar

The story of the Rebel Hangar printed in the menu

From 4:00 – 9:00 pm daily throughout the run of the Hangar, weary galactic travelers now have the opportunity to take a moment to relax and enjoy Star Wars-themed food among the “discarded remnants” from over 100 planets.

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Our Advance Dining Reservation to hangout in the Hangar wasn’t until 8:50 pm — 10 minutes prior to the final seating. So I took some time during the day to check out the spot, arriving somewhere around 1:00 pm. That’s right — day guests coming in for the typical Counter Service menu at Backlot Express were able to enjoy much of the atmosphere, too!

Part of Backlot Express transformed

Part of Backlot Express transformed

Backlot Express transformed

Backlot Express transformed

I, for one, was taken aback by the transformation. I hadn’t realized anything more could be tucked into Backlot Express, already so well-themed for its purposes. But lo and behold…

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

It was a blast spotting ways in which the typical Backlot “props” were incorporated into the Hangar theme.

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

You can see where “decay” has settled into this space in the many years since it last served its original purpose as a spaceport.

Decaying spaceport

Decaying spaceport

"Discarded" helmet

“Discarded” helmet

It appears a graffiti artist has even taken advantage of the abandoned spot ;) .

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Hidden Mickey

Hidden Mickey

Even the tabletops were

themed accordingly, adding to the fun.

Table seating

Table seating

Tabletop decor

Tabletop decor

Tabletop decor

Tabletop decor

A photo backdrop has also been added to help capture your time in the Hangar.

Photo backdrop

Photo backdrop

Inside, the Hangar theme takes over the main entrance of the Backlot Express through to the “Paint Department” seating area of the regular operations. Star Wars themeing ends once you arrive at the Counter Service ordering stations, which remain in service for the rest of the day even when the Hangar portion switches over to the Lounge Experience at 4 pm. (Entry for regular counter service eats is through what is typically the back of the restaurant, and seating is available in the stunt room area, not themed for Star Wars.)

Outdoor seating is also available. And while that can potentially give guests a chance to enjoy being seated while watching the super fun “Jedi Training Academy” next door depending on where they are sitting, the bulk of the details and sight gags are indoors.

Outdoor tabletops and entrance to Rebel Hangar

Outdoor tabletops and entrance to Rebel Hangar

My husband and I returned in the evening to check in at the outdoor post pictured above for our 8:50 pm reservation. We were informed they were running about 15 minutes behind, but the buzzer that was presented to us at check-in went off just before 9 pm.

Rebel Hangar Buzzer

Rebel Hangar Buzzer

Evening entrance past the wing of an X-wing

Evening entrance past the wing of an X-wing

After inquiring about which galaxy my husband and I came from, our host walked us to our table and assured us that all of the servers at the Rebel Hangar are humanoids, so communication wouldn’t be an issue ;).  While I can’t say we encountered any dangerous smugglers or otherwise fearsome creatures in the Hangar (whew!), we did enjoy some very fun and enthusiastic Cast Members through the host and our table server. (For guests interested in Star Wars character interaction, the Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant have returned to Hollywood Studios again this year.)

The primary things I noticed that had changed since our day visit, aside from the addition of a few more props, were that the tables were set with dishes and cutlery like a Table Service restaurant, and the music had changed over to jazzy, lounge-esque versions of music from Star Wars.

Our tabletop decoration

Tabletop

Upon being seated, we were presented with menus.

Rebel Hangar menu

Rebel Hangar menu

After all, intergalactic travel can make you pretty hungry! Let’s see what’s up for grabs at the Hangar, my fellow humanoids…

Eats

The menu at the Rebel Hangar focuses on small plates… with a Star Wars twist, of course! Fans will enjoy choosing from items like Pilot’s Pommes Frites, Ilum Fruit and Cheese Sabers, and a Trio of Thermal Detonators.

Small plates menu

Small plates menu

Small plates menu

Small plates menu

Beverage options include beer and wine.

Beer and Wine menu

Beer and Wine menu

But the unique theme continues more with the Specialty Cocktails.

Specialty Cocktails

Specialty Cocktails

Dessert offerings are a Yoda Key Lime Cake and a Trio of Star Wars Mini Cupcakes.

Dessert menu

Dessert menu

Now, $16.99 may seem a lot for the trio (miniature versions of the character cupcakes you can find at Counter Service spots throughout the park — we’ll be checking out the new Jabba the Hutt Cupcake soon!). However, they come to you in the souvenir Han Solo in Carbonite popcorn bucket, otherwise available at Tusken Fridge Raiders inside Darth’s Mall (with popcorn, instead, of course).

Because we already had some idea of the food and beverage choices from when Disney announced this new dining experience, I think I was most excited to see the final item on the menu, which was a happy surprise: Blue Milk!!

Non-Alcoholic Specialties

Non-Alcoholic Specialties menu

YES!!!!

As you might anticipate, the added flavor to the milk is of the “blue raspberry” icee variety. While I thought that worked quite well with the Blue Milk Ice Cream served at Jedi Mickey’s Character Dinner, what it did in this case was make it taste like “after the cereal” milk — you know, the way milk tastes at the end of your bowl of Fruity Pebbles or Boo Berry.

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

I can’t say it was the best beverage complement to a meal, but really… WHO CARES!? It felt so cool to be drinking the same milk as Luke Skywalker that I’m glad I got to have it at least once. It’s totally made for great photo opps.

The Dagobah Swamp Juice, on the other hand, was a tasty mix of Midori, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Sweet-and-Sour topped with Lemon-Lime Fomz. With a definite emphasis on the sweet-and-sour, this one delivered a pucker!

Dagobah Swamp Juice

Dagobah Swamp Juice

The $14.75 price tag has much to do, however, with one obvious addition: the X-wing Starfighter glow clip.

X-Wing glow cube

X-Wing glow cube

While the X-wing is pictured in the menu, our server actually gave us a choice of three items: a Millennium Falcon glow cube, a Death Star glow cube, or the X-Wing glow clip.  It’s worth noting that you can get the Millennium Falcon or the Death Star at any of the pop-up bars around Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends (we’ll be taking a closer look at those in an upcoming review), but the X-Wing is reserved for the Rebel Hangar. Like its counterpart cubes, it can change color if you set it to do so.

Same X-wing glow cube

Same X-wing glow cube

Because of the emphasis on small plates, all of our food arrived at the same time (with the exception of dessert). And while we were eager to check out everything, one dish stole all of our attention right away: Chips and Sith.

Chips and Sith

Chips and Sith

Wow. WOW. Not only does this Darth Maul-themed dish look amazing, the chickpea and lemon hummus was topped with a roasted red pepper coulis which provided not only the base of the “face,” but it also delivered just the right amount of heat, with the black sesame dust creating Darth Maul’s signature tattoos adding a bit of unexpected texture.

Closeup on Sith hummus

Closeup on Sith hummus

Hummus underneath the coulis

Hummus underneath the coulis

That’s one delicious Sith!

Before moving on, I just have to share this close-up of the perfectly creepy, radish-ringed “eyes.” They were simultaneously unsettling and oddly intriguing — not unlike Darth Maul himself.

Creepy eyes!

Creepy eyes!

While not quite so intricately themed, the Lightsaber Bites were a yummy addition nonetheless.

Lightsaber Bites with house made chips

Lightsaber Bites with house made chips

They are knockwurst sausage corn dogs, served with a honey mustard sauce and house made chips. The corn batter was fried to a crispy golden brown and was delicious with the sausage, but what stood out to me here was the portion. You receive five nicely sized corn dogs along with the chips, and while the Hangar’s dishes are all considered “small plates,” this is definitely a meal-maker.

Lightsaber bites

Lightsaber Bites

Lightsaber Bites

Lightsaber Bites

After the Chips and Sith, the Lightsaber Bites came in as our second favorite.

We turn next to The Dark Fried Chicken and Waffles: an entree-sized serving of Chicken Breast Nuggets and barbecue sauce paired with two miniature Darth Vader Waffles and maple syrup.

The Dark Fried

The Dark Fried

Darth Vader Waffles with maple syrup

Darth Vader Waffles with maple syrup

This dish was fine — I always enjoy the chicken nuggets at Disney, and the waffles were served warm and well-prepared (though I felt like some butter on the side would have been a nice touch). But there was nothing super unusual here, aside from the decorative waffles. Coming in at $14.99 this was our most expensive dish, and I felt like the other dishes we had provided a better overall value.

Our last plate was The Sith and The Jedi Slider Sampler. The Sith is represented by barbecue pulled brisket with coleslaw while The Jedi is barbecue pulled chicken with arugula.

The Sith and The Jedi Slider Sampler

The Sith and The Jedi Slider Sampler

Of the two, I have to go with the Dark Side, because the pulled brisket provides more of a rich flavor punch than the chicken, along with the cool tang of the slaw. I thought the dark bread might be tough, but even though the flavor was nothing out of the ordinary, the texture was fine.

The Sith Slider

The Sith Slider

The Jedi Slider

The Jedi Slider

We capped off our time with the Yoda Key Lime Cake. He comes complete with a small white chocolate lightsaber.

Yoda Key Lime cake

Yoda Key Lime cake

Closeup on Yoda

Closeup on Yoda

I wondered if the “gelatinous green goo” that provides Yoda’s signature green color would be a distraction to my enjoyment, but it wasn’t. I barely noticed it. This was just a smooth, creamy filling between the thin yellow cake layers with a really nice citrusy burst of flavor — just what it needed to be. I took the picture below to show the layers, but obviously they’re no different than what you can see from the original plating.

Layers of the Yoda Key Lime Cake

Layers of the Yoda Key Lime Cake

The lesson here is that Yoda-shaped food has this in common with Mickey-shaped food: it’s ears off first for this little guy, too!

No, we didn’t go for the Trio of Star Wars Cupcakes; primarily because with the addition of the Jabba the Hutt Cupcake this year alongside the Darth Vader Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcake and the Yoda Chocolate and Hazelnut Cupcake, we’d already tried them all! Look for our Jabba review coming soon :) .

And so we wrap up a fun night at the Hangar!

Overall

I was more than pleasantly surprised with our late evening stop at the Rebel Hangar. Considering the theme is working within an already established space, I felt like the Rebel Hangar really was transformed into its own unique experience as much as possible. And as far as the food, the small plates that we tried struck me much closer to entree-size than I anticipated, providing bang for the buck. Though you may not remember the flavors as much as the themeing of the food (many of the items are essentially dressed-up counter service options), the dishes are tasty as well as fun.

Now, with a run-time of just one month, the Advance Dining Reservations filled up quickly — at least for the initial openings, which were limited to Star Wars Weekends (Fridays through Sundays only).  It does appear that the addition of weekday openings has helped to meet more of the demand. If you were able to get a reservation, I think you’ll find that the Rebel Hangar is a nice cherry on top of the sundae that is Star Wars Weekends.

But let’s say an Advance Dining Reservation for your planned day of visiting Hollywood Studios somehow eluded you. Have hope, my friends… After all, deep down, aren’t we all hoping that the Rebel Hangar is really just a dress rehearsal for our dream Cantina if Star Wars Land is ever announced for Hollywood Studios? If the Rebel Hangar is even a teeny-tiny indication of what that could be, it’s already amazing to consider it. Regardless, I already hope they bring this experience back to Star Wars Weekends next year. It was worth the stroll through a few galaxies to get there.

Will you be visiting the Rebel Hangar this year? If so, what are you most looking forward to? Please let us know with a comment below!

Comments

  1. Kirsty says

    I agree those eyes freak me out a little! :)

    I’m not a Star Wars fan but think everything looks really well done.

  2. CeeCee says

    My sister was only able to get reservations in June so when we went on Saturday we decided to ask about walk-ins. We got there close to 4:00 exactly and were seated within a minute but was told inside seating was reserved for those with reservations. While it was terribly hot all day, it seemed to calm down by the time we sat down to eat so that was nice.

    But I also loved that characters walked around and interacted with the guests, even those outside. First a few Biths (those musicians from the Cantina band) walked around and even ‘told’ us the Jabba cup cakes are awesome. They weren’t wrong. They also had Jawas walking around and while I didn’t trade with them I saw a few people offering to give them pens and random items. Thankfully they stopped and took a picture with me without me having to barter for it

  3. dawn says

    Looking every day to score a reservation for this! We went for star wars weekend opening day and passed by the Hanger…looked amazing! Thanks for the review.

  4. Wendy says

    Susan — Hi! I think they are olives (black tucked inside of green), but to be honest, I’m not 100% certain — they creeped me out too much to try them ;).

    CeeCee — That’s awesome! And I agree about the Jabba Cupcake being great this year :).

    Neil — Ha! I totally didn’t notice that until you mentioned it!

    Good luck, Dawn :)! Hope it works out!

  5. Michael says

    Looks AMAZING! Will have to make a trip to WDW for Star Wars Weekends. Would love to see this at DHS permanently!

  6. Agnes says

    Who doesn’t love a good dose of silly with a very thematic meal? Looks like a lot of fun!

  7. Crystal says

    Thanks to your blog post I scored a reservation for the Rebel Hangar during our trip next week! I was easily able to make a weekday reservation for 8. We already had reservations for a Star Wars meal at Hollywood & Vine and now we’re excited about this one too! Are there any menu options for kids? I’m sure they will enjoy the blue milk! :)

  8. says

    I’ve seen people posting photos with the Jawas, Cantina band, and Chewy from Rebel Hangar. Can anyone confirm or deny there are roaming characters in the lounge?

  9. CeeCee says

    Megan,

    I was there Saturday and had my picture taken with a Jawa and a few Biths walked around a bit too but I didn’t see Chewy. For me it was very informal as they just walked around interacting with guests. A Bith actually ‘told’ me the Jabba cupcake was the best, he wasn’t wrong.

    I think inside the lounge they have a screen that looks like the flat wing of a TIE fighter so you can stand in front of it and take pictures (a la the Sci-Fi Drive In Star Wars breakfast where you take a photo with Boba Fett and Darth Vader in front of a backdrop).

  10. Wendy says

    Hi, Crystal! I don’t believe there are specific menu items for kids, but hopefully you all will have a terrific time — especially with the Blue Milk :)!

    Megan — Hi! From my experience, we didn’t have any character interaction during our meal inside, so I don’t think there are any guarantees for characters. But, Backlot Express is in an area where a lot of characters are roaming outside throughout the day during the official Weekends (like CeeCee mentioned, I saw the Biths out front earlier in the day, taking selfies with people and such :). Chewy’s official meet and greet photo spot is directly in the area, right across from Star Tours. I saw Jawas closer to Darth’s Mall, just wandering around. So, while I don’t think they are officially part of the Hangar and there aren’t any guarantees, it could be very likely you may see characters in the general area in front :).

  11. CeeCee says

    Wendy,

    I actually had my picture taken with a Jawa and the Biths were greeting guests at the Rebel Hanger, mind you I sat outside because I didn’t have a reservation (we were a walk-in and told the indoor seating was reserved for reservations…as you can imagine lol). Oddly enough the only characters I saw walking around the park were ones moving from one site to another whereas historically I’ve seen plenty of clone troopers and storm troopers walking around.

    But this was during a Star Wars Weekend. Hopefully they have the characters greet dinners everyday because it was a really fun experience.

  12. Emma says

    I was able to eat here on Saturday with no reservations. We did have to eat outside, and we ended up waiting until about 5pm before the manager decided to allow walk-ins at all (they were concerned about the weather).

    That being said, the experience was totally worth it! I got the Imperial Blue (very tasty) and the Chips & Sith. I was a little nervous about the eyes too, but I tried them- the yellow is, I think, a yellow pepper version of the red pepper coulis on the rest of the map, and the pupils are balsamic vinegar. The base of the eyes is either a small red onion or a radish- didn’t want to take a bite in case it WAS an onion. A fun extra touch: the chips came in a small wire basket lined with Star Wars paper with TIE fighters & Star Destroyers on it.

    Even though we had to eat outside, I was able to wander in briefly and look at some of the details inside, and the characters did come out to the patio- we had Greedo, a Jawa, and the Cantina band!

    Also, while waiting on the possibility of walk-ins, I overheard the CMs allowing some people to walk in to the bar & get a drink to go with the X-wing. Might not always be possible, but worth asking, if you can’t otherwise get in.

  13. Joanne says

    We were lucky enough to actually get reservations today for June. I am really looking forward to it. Now to get reservations for Feel the Force and everything will be set.

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