*This dining experience took place in June 2015.
Star Wars™ Weekends is one of my favorite times of the year at Hollywood Studios. I’m a huge Star Wars™ fan and love all the special events surrounding Star Wars™ Weekends. Last year, Disney launched several new dining experiences including the Star Wars™ Dine-In Galactic Breakfast which was super fun, and equally fun when I went this year in 2015. I love the character interaction and Star Wars™ theming!
Of course, you can imagine how excited I got when they announced this year’s newest Star Wars™ Weekends dining experience – the Rebel Hangar. In fact, it was so popular, the initial ADR slots available booked up quickly (I heard around 2 hours!). I was lucky to snag a reservation for the very final weekend of Star Wars™ Weekends.
Set in a blocked off section of the Backlot Express, the Rebel Hangar offers drinks and small plates. It is definitely not a full dinner location. Of course, my family and I had enjoyed a very filling meal at Mama Melrose earlier in the day for lunch, so we were totally fine with a few small plates.
It was a very hot June day, and one thing we noticed about the Rebel Hangar is that there is indoor and outdoor seating. Indoor was blissfully air conditioned while outside was pretty muggy (exactly what you expect on a Florida June day). We didn’t ask for a particular seating but were glad to be seated indoors.
The theming isn’t overly flashy, but each table contains some type of Star Wars™ model and there were loads of Star Wars™ touches throughout the dining area. Essentially, they did a bunch of small touches to overlay the existing Backlot Express interior.
In terms of options, there were several available to gluten free diners. Thankfully, Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando had shared her experience at the Rebel Hangar and listed the gluten free options available to guests. Some dishes, like the Pomme Frites (aka French fries) contained dairy (parmesan cheese). After speaking with a chef, I decided to get the Slider Sampler which contained barbecued chicken and barbecued chicken sandwiches along with house-made chips (which were gluten free & dairy free). The sandwiches were modified to be dairy free (removed coleslaw) and served on GNI brand buns.
While we waiting for our food, we got to experience some unique entertainment. As we sat and chatted, we noticed that several characters began to come into the Rebel Hangar. Initially, we thought the characters were going to go around to tables for photographs and autographs (much like the Star Wars™ Galactic Dine-In or the Star Wars™ Character Dinner at Hollywood & Vine; however, we realized they were all sitting at a table playing cards!
It was super cool to watch this, and I almost wonder if Disney is testing this kind of experience for new restaurant experiences. It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before at Disney. Generally, they were performing a “skit” while several Disney cast members stood by so people didn’t engage with them (more than taking photos), and another cast member was recording the scene with an iPhone.
The characters engaged in a card game for about 10-15 minutes and then were interrupted by members of the Empire (aka Stormtroopers!) after a fight broke out and several of the characters were arrested while the card game was broken up. It was pretty neat to watch — almost like Disney dinner theatre!
Pretty shortly after the characters left the Rebel Hangar, our food came out. My slider sampler looked really good, but I have to say it was a bit hit or miss. I loved the house made potato chips. Those were delicious! The beef brisket slider was very tasty but I found the barbecued chicken slider to be rather bland. In both cases, the buns were horribly heated and very dry and crumbly. Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando also noted this in her experience, so it sounded like they just had some challenges heating the buns. Overall, I wouldn’t say I disliked the slider sampler, but I’m not sure I’d order it again if the Rebel Hangar came back next year.
My family ordered the Pomme Frites and really enjoyed them. They liked the presentation, the seasoning (garlic & parmesan) and the garlic aioli. Next time, I would see if they could make the fries dairy free and still offer the aioli.
One final experience at the Rebel Hangar were the Jawas. As you know from my meals at the Sc-Fi Dine-In Galactic Breakfast, I adore these fellas! They were, of course, looking for shiny things to trade with us, though this time we came up empty handed. Still, they were great fun coming through the restaurant interacting with guests.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Rebel Hangar Lounge experience. The food wasn’t anything special but we had a great time, and we really enjoyed the character atmosphere. If Disney offered this again next year, we’d definitely go back for an affordable and fun way to participate in character dining (note: Alexis from Gluten Free in Orlando did not experience any characters when she visited, so this may be subject to availability).
Did you get a chance to go to the Rebel Hangar this year? What did you order when you dined there?