This weekend marks the beginning of Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Running every weekend from now through June 14, the event celebrates the galaxy far, far away with character appearances, shows, merchandise, special guests, and yes, themed drinks and food. I’ll be sharing more of my Star Wars Weekends experience soon, but first, I need to show you around the new Star Wars themed restaurant put together for the event: the Rebel Hangar. You never know who you’ll see wandering around this lounge while you eat Yoda Key Lime Cake and sip on drinks with Star Wars spaceship glow cubes.
Disney transformed half of the quick-service restaurant Backlot Express into a cantina-esque setting. Tucked into a corner by Star Tours and the Jedi Training Academy, the location is ideal. And it’s smart for Disney to take existing space and dress it up to add even more dining options for Star Wars Weekends. Like most things Disney-related, the Hangar has a story. It used to be a hangar at a thriving port, but now, the hangar is abandoned and it’s been turned into a makeshift home/hang-out by anyone stopping through the area. Sort of like a rest stop, but with Rodians instead of truckers.
The decor is appropriately rough and tumble. Empire recruitment posters adorn the walls—I like to think they were put up sarcastically since it’s the Rebel Hangar—X-wing pilot helmets, Mandalorian helmets, an old Imperial probe droid, and more artifacts are on display in the space. Twelve inch figures and spaceships serve as centerpieces for the table, which means you can pose them with your food and drinks. Maybe I made the Kanan Jarrus toy on my table hold a french fry. Maybe.
Chef Mike Reitzler developed the menu for the Rebel Hangar, and it’s certainly unique. Star Wars Weekends has had some themed desserts in the past and foods at two other restaurants have light galactic touches, but Reitzler went all out for the Rebel Hangar, creating a hummus dish that looks like Darth Maul, waffles with Darth Vader, and plates like Ilum Fruit and Cheese Sabers with C-3PO crackers (Ilum is the planet where Padawans build their lightsabers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). I spoke with Reitzler about developing the menu, and he said they made an effort to offer unique items that can’t be replicated at home. Designing dishes that could be easily and accurately be reproduced for large volumes of orders was key, too. I like to imagine there’s an assembly line in the kitchen and that a single person is responsible for putting on the Bugles that make Darth Maul’s horns in the dish of hummus. Because everything ties together, Reitzler said Lucasfilm representatives did approve the final look of the dishes and the naming of them. I would like that job, please.
On to the food! The Rebel Hangar serves up a menu of small plates and beverages (photos of the entire menu are in the gallery below). As part of a party of two people, we had no trouble taking down four plates of food. I sampled the following items:
Chips and Sith
Make food look like Darth Maul, and I’m basically sold. The Darth Maul hummus is definitely the most eye-catching item on the menu. It’s unflavored hummus topped with a red pepper coulis. His facial marks were made with black sesame dust, and his horns were Bugles. It’s served with a side of multi-colored tortilla chips. This was a delicious, light snack perfect for the very hot Florida weather. The red pepper coulis was flavorful but not too strong, and I had no problems polishing off Darth Maul’s face.
The Dark Fried
My other top choice is the chicken and Darth Vader waffles combo. The waffles were crispy on the edges with a nice, softer texture on the inside, and the chicken was fried just right. The dish comes with syrup and barbecue sauce—please try dipping the chicken into the maple syrup.
Pilot’s Pomme Frites
These garlic fries were only themed by name, but that doesn’t matter. They were crispy, not overly greasy, and they were served with a decorated wonton. That and the Star Wars print paper in the cone were a nice to way to add some flair from the saga to the dish. Bonus: it comes with a very garlic-y aioli.
Slider Sampler: The Sith and the Jedi
Experience the real balance of the Force with this barbecue pulled pork brisket slider and a barbecue pulled chicken slider served with house-made chips. One slider features a dark side bun, the other is light. These sandwiches were a little bit bigger than your average sliders with tangy sauce. I’m not the biggest fan of potato chips, but they were excellent dipped in the barbecue sauce that came with the chicken and waffles.
And then there were the specialty drinks. They have non-alcoholic blue milk available as well as a variety of fruity alcoholic beverages. I sipped on a Rebel Red with vodka, Chambord, sweet and sour, and grenadine. It was definitely on the sugary side and because it’s Mustafar-hot in Orlando, you have to use caution and not toss drinks like this back too quickly. The drinks come with glowing spaceship “cubes,” and the Rebel Hangar is the only place at Star Wars Weekends where you can find the glowing X-wing (other locations have Millennium Falcon and Death Star cubes). It was served clipped onto the side of my glass and after I finished my drink, I decided to wipe it off and clip it into my hair. A quick note about the glow cubes: They cost $4-5 each so if you don’t want or need them, let your server know.
While I ate my way through the menu, surprise visitors came into the Rebel Lounge. Members of the Modal Nodes stopped by the table (they weren’t taking requests), Ezra Bridger and Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels roamed around, and an energetic Rodian practically bounced through the lounge and had very amusing interactions with the Han Solo figures posed on the tables.
Overall, the Rebel Hangar is my favorite experience of Star Wars Weekends so far. I liked the a la carte menu and enjoyed being able to sample several delicious dishes. Plus, I was pretty excited to fangirl over the Modal Nodes. The Rebel Hangar is open every day of Star Wars Weekends at 4:00pm. Try to make reservations if you can ((407) WDW-DINE) but know that they do take walk-ins. If you want to walk-in, go early. I enjoyed the experience and food so much that I plan to make a repeat visit this weekend.
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