Updated: Jun 9, 2019
In an entertainment district, not too, too far away, there lies a hidden gem that masters technology and Disney immersion like no other – The Void, Secrets of the Empire.
Hidden within Disney Springs past the amphicars, Ghirardelli Chocolate and Once Upon A Toy lies The Void. Upon entering we were immediately greeted by smiling attendants who directed us over to a tablet where we keyed in our credentials (name, age, e-mail, etc…), signed a waiver and received a bracelet with all our information compressed into a QR code. Next up – the mission briefing!
Meesa thinks this is where their spoilers are a going to beesa. (yes, I liked Jar Jar Binks AND the Ewoks). And for those who don’t speak Gunganeese, stop reading if you don’t want spoilers!
We walked into a dark room that holds 8 ipads on stands – 4 on each side. Each team can hold four people. My team was composed of me, a 31 yr old wonderfully ginger bearded man and my full-of-never-ending-energy godson, Ethan, who’s 10th birthday is what brought us to Disney World in the first place. We’re gamers. It’s something we’ve bonded over since he was 3 years old. But we’ve never played something like this! There’s a giant curved screen behind the ipads. The room darkens and a man appears on the screen. It all happened so fast that I only caught the main details: we’re going to a planet (the lava covered Mustafar) and have to recover something that will help the Rebellion’s fight against the dark side. We’ll be disguised as stormtroopers and pick different colors for our armor so we can tell our team members apart. I picked green, Ethan picked red.
A door opens and we walk toward the light. This is where we got fitted with a helmet and vest/backpack – both secured by a cable overhead and lowered then fastened on each player. Ethan did complain the equipment was heavy for him but not enough to slow him down. I had to adjust the helmet so the visual was clear and the helmet was snug. This is an important part – if the helmet isn’t dialed in correctly all the visuals will be blurry. After both helmet and backpack/vest are perfectly positioned it’s time to start the main event!
The room we’re in suddenly turns into a spaceship and we see guns on the far wall. Ethan immediately runs up and grabs one – elated at the realness.
We then sit down and are transported through space. From here you walk over a futuristic plank, you know, metal, full of holes so you can see yourself falling to your death the whole time as you cross, type of walkways. The ones people like me, who get along with gravity too well, HATE! There’s lava, it’s hot, no, really, it IS hot. In certain areas of the game the temperature changes for the environment you’re in. And here I am, playing a video game, in the middle of Disney Springs and scared to death I’m about to fall into molten lava on a non-existent planet – yes, this is 31 alright. I cheated, I pulled up the visor and suddenly – I’m in a cubicle system – shockingly not surround by lava, or high up on a nightmare-inducing walkway but on solid ground. I can breathe again – I didn’t realize I had stopped.
This is the moment I pull the visor back down and get into the game with complete abandon.
We then fight off Stormtroopers, a lava monster, infiltrate the enemy base, find the secret item and guess who shows up. * cue the imperial march * Darth Vader himself. He’s talking, telling us we shouldn’t have come. I shoot – he deflects – I forget it’s a game, again, and am blown away. Every shot he’s talking and still deflecting all of the efforts. Then I remember, well, I am a Stormtrooper.
I’m not going to ruin the ending for you – this is something you have to experience yourself! Ethan is still talking about it non-stop. If you want to go to Disney World and have an out of this world experience without the spinning of Mission: Space or the Astro Orbiter give this a chance. It doesn’t require park admission and at only $30 a person it could easily be an add-on for the perfect Disney Springs day. We paired it with lunch at T-Rex and had a roaring good day in a galaxy far, far in Florida.
Matt West is a featured writer for this blog and Travel Agent with Fairy Tale Concierge. To learn more about Matt and read more of his articles, click here!