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Build Your Droid at the Droid Factory Coming to Tatooine Traders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort


Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve dreamed of owning my own droid just like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Granted, I also wanted to learn the ways of the Force, but I think having an Astromech droid will be slightly easier with the Droid Factory experience launching during Star Wars Weekends 2012. Fans will be able to build and name their own R-series Astromech droid action figures. I spoke with product developer Cody Hampton who said this experience was in development for three years!

“We began discussing the Droid Factory in 2009,” explained Cody. “We know that personalization is an important aspect of the popular build-your-own light saber experience. We felt the same thing could be done with action figures but on a much larger scale.”

Large scale indeed – the Droid Factory has 71 different pieces to create the 3 ¾-inch figures! To get started, guests chose a dome, a body and legs offered in a variety of colors and styles (Cody said that availability of various parts and colors may change). There are optional third legs and novelty hats that can be added.

“We wanted lots of options for [the Droid Factory],” continued Cody. “There are literally thousands of combinations making each droid unique. Guests can also name their droids with sticker sheets provided at checkout.”

Three domes – R6, R8 and R9 – were created exclusively for this experience at Disney Parks. Cody also told me the multi-colored ear hats were inspired by Jedi Mickey’s Astromech droid, R2-MK. Four additional hats arrive later this summer including a Goofy hat, a pirate hat, a fedora and a Yoda cap.

Droids will be sold either in single or dual packs (the latter has a value price). They can also be used with the playsets we’ve created like the Starspeeder 1000.

Cody and fellow developer Brad Schoeneberg built Astromech droids for this article.

“My favorite droid is named R7-C4,” Cody continued. “He has an orange body like my favorite clone trooper, Commander Cody. He wears the Yoda cap as a nod to the actual hat created in the 1980s when I fell in love with Star Wars.”

Brad built R9-EIU in honor of Eastern Illinois University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree. He explained, “[The droid] would have been great to have around while I was in school.”

I can’t wait to create one for my office. Happy building!

For more updates on Star Wars Weekends 2012, see the posts below:


  • Hello Mr Steven Miller,
    I collect robots and droid figures. I have all the Star Tour Droid action figures so far.
    Is it possible for me to buy the Droid Factory Droids from The Star Tour Store themselves?
    Or will the Disney Stores ever sell your Droid Factory as a special collection Box sets?
    I hope a Product Manager or Sales may consider this.
    Thank you Roderick.

  • It was a great experience. Created and named my first two droids R5-Z1 and R7-4T, Zone and Fort respectively. My only, very minor, concern is that there are only 2 spots to work and once you add a cast member to both spots it is a little cramped.

  • That’s just the information I was looking for 😉
    Thank you very much Peter and Steven! Okey, now I got to figure out how to get them to the Netherlands.. Without visiting the USA. Tips tricks anyone? 😉

  • @Jasper – the parts are similar, but they are different color-wise or with various locations of the color highlights.

    For example, R5-D4 is an R5 unit in a white base color with Red AND Blue highlights, a R5 unit made using all of the White w/Red Highlights pieces would be “close” to R5-D4, but not exactly a match for the droid as seen in SW:EP4.

    The all-red body of R2-R9 in the Royal Starship Droids set is a deeper color red than the all-red R2 body in the Disney B-A-D parts set. Also, R2-R9 has a Silver Dome w/Red Highlights. From the Disney B-A-D parts set, you can add an R2 dome that is Red w/Silver Highlights to make a truly unique droid.

    Out of the 56 parts I have so far from the Disney set, the only part that appears to be identical to a previously released droid is the White w/Blue R2 trunk – that seems to match pretty closely the R2-D2 from the Royal Starship set. But the Disney White w/Blue legs have coloring differences with the Royal Starship set ones.

    I hope this helps to answer your question about the parts being new and/or different.

    • @Peter – Wow! That’s incredible information to share. Thank you 🙂

  • It looks awesome!
    Can you answer this question?:
    Some parts of the droids look very familiar are all the parts new designed and different or are some the same as the already easy available:
    R3-A2 Build A Droid The Legacy Collection
    G8-R3 2012 Discover The Force
    R2-R9 2012 Royal Starship Droids set
    R2-D2 2012 Royal Starship Droids set
    R5-D4 2011 The Vintage Collection

    And Yes! I would like if the whole set will be sold and shipped from Disney! Otherwise I need to wait till they hit Ebay and get sold for absurd prices 😉

    Thank you!

    • @Jasper – I spoke with Brad about your question. Sadly, I don’t have reference at this point for any previously released droid parts. Brad said, “Some of the parts are completely new designs. Some have been used in previous products.” As mentioned, we won’t be offering this as an on-line or mail order experience at this time. Sorry 🙁

  • I wish this was something we could order online! How I want one! But I never have been able to come to Start Wars Weekends!

  • Please please please please please please make these available at Disney Stores for those of us who can’t afford to go to Disney World!!!!!!!!

  • @Steven – sort of following on from Glenn’s comments above – I can appreciate the personal experience aspect of this program and I can’t stress enough how much fun it was to build the 45+ droids I did this past Saturday and Sunday.

    But as I noted previously, due to the lack of a few parts, my building options were limited (I’m not talking about the domes that haven’t come in yet, just the lack of Black/Blue/Red/Green right legs and the R3 dome in clear w/red highlights).

    Would it be possible for the Disney team to offer a “Droid Builder’s Club” that you join when you come to Tatooine Traders and have built/purchased at least one droid, so that should you want a droid (or droids) at a later date, you could call up the team at Tatooine Traders and have them make droids for you that could be shipped home?

    I apologize for the self-serving question, but a means that would allow collectors who have at least attended the attraction once and tried to build all the droids they wanted, but were denied due to lack of stock, would be very helpful and appreciated.


    • @Glenn – Thank you for the comment and the feedback. I’m happy to hear that you like the concept. And wow – I guess Vader should have visited you first when looking for those droids 🙂 Sounds like quite an incredible collection. I can say that at this time, we are only focusing on the in-park experience. There are no plans to offer this as an on-line store option.

      @Peter – Thank you again for your feedback. I have shared your comments with the development team. There are no plans for a “Droid Builders Club” at this time.

      When creating merchandise for Disney Parks, one thing that our division considers is offering experiences you can’t find anywhere outside Disney Parks. We’ve done that with previous merchandise items like the Build-Your-Own Lightsaber or Carbon-Freeze Me at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

      Having been a Cast Member for 14 years, I’ve learned that we like to tweak things. Once new experiences are launched, we learn by observing guests, hearing feedback and finding new ways to do things. So, thank you for your enthusiasm. I apologize for some of the frustrations you have experienced. Please know that we value your thoughts. I’m excited for the future of the Droid Factory; I can’t believe it’s only a little over a week old. The positive response has been amazing!

  • I cannot overstate how excited and dismayed I am by these sets. I have always loved these little droids and have collected two of every one that Hasbro has produced over the years – one for myself, and one for my brother. This set is super cool, and were it possible, I would like to purchase over 50 of this guys (based on the pictures I have seen, I’d like to put together 27 of these droids for myself, and another 27 for my brother). Alas, there is no way that I could get down to Florida to get these, nor could I justify spending $550 on them.

    I would be thrilled, though, if these were released in one or two sets that included every head, and enough other parts to make complete droids.

    Either that, or an online Droid Factory were kids and collectors (and there are lots of us) could build a droid online and then add it to a cart. And keeping in mind that collectors would be all over this, bulk pricing would be a big plus. Also, the option to not include the packaging would reduce shipping costs.

    I know neither of these things are currently planned, but pleased pass this on to the developers – I know I am not alone in this.

    Thanks for a cool product. Here’s hoping I can find a way to purchase it.

  • Untini! Never trust a jaws. BTW, I want a mike saber now.:)

  • @Steven – Thanks so much for letting me know, and for looking into this. I’ll be visiting Hollywood Studios in August while I’m in Orlando for Star Wars Celebration VI, so I’m looking forward to getting as many droids as I possibly can!

  • Should I be embarrassed to admit that I *still* have my droid factory, complete and in the original box at home?? 🙂 I will definitely pick up a few mix and match droids while at the first star wars weekend this year. Can never have too many 3 3/4″ droid figures. 🙂

  • @Steven – yes – I had a great time and the staff at Tatooine Traders was fantastic and super accommodating. I was a bit disappointed that by the time I got there around 3PM on Saturday afternoon, the number of domes had dropped to 15 (the R3 dome that is clear w/red highlights was not there) and the Black w/Silver right legs were all sold out. 🙁

    @Rochelle – there were five R2 domes, one R3 (the other one was out of stock), three R4 domes, three R5 domes and three R7 domes. These dome styles all follow the Original Trilogy movies and the Expanded Universe designs. In the Clone Wars Cartoon, they have astromechs that they call “R4”, “R7”, “R8”, etc… that look just like R2-D2 only in a different color. In the Post-Return of the Jedi expanded universe, R6, R7, R8 & R9 domes are unique designs/shapes.

    The review that Chris over at Rebelscum put up is great, if anyone is interested, I supplied the content for one posted to JediDefender.

  • Check out rebelscum, they put up a gallery of pics today showing the Droid Factory area. I Wish I lived near WDW so I could build an R2 army!

  • Do the left and right legs count as separate pieces toward to total number? If so Between the two pictures we can see pretty much all of the pieces.

  • I’d love a box set of ALL the parts, so that way I could make all of the droids. Any chance of that at some point?

    • @Peter – I hope you had a nice visit to Tatooine Traders. I heard you were able to stop by and build a few droids. 🙂

      @Matt – The legs do move and have wheels on the bottom. The head can also swivel. The third leg does not retract; it can be added and removed.

      @Rochelle – The parts could be interchanged and removed if desired. The basic droid contains six parts – a body, a head, left leg, right leg, optional third leg, and optional novelty hat. You are correct in that parts may vary with each visit. We will continue to introduce new parts in the coming months (like those additional novelty hats).

      @Dakota – The R6, R8 and R9 domes are coming. From my understanding, there R2 and R7 domes may be there. Availability of parts is subject to change. I was at the Droid Factory on early Saturday morning and counted at least 16 different domes.

      @Terry – Thank you for the comment. Unfortunately, that isn’t something we are offering at this time. I will share your feedback with the development team.

  • I can’t wait to do this!! You said R6, R8, and R9 are park exclusives, but what are the others available?? will droid domes like R2 or R7(from Clone Wars) be available for Star Wars Weekends??

  • Steve, There are a few points I’m not clear on … 1. Will the pieces be interchangable between mulitple droids I’d design and 2. How many parts are/can be used in building an individual droid? A big part of why I love going the Mister Potato Head experience is that parts vary from visit to visit. I’m sure the same will be true with the Droid Factory.

  • These are really cool! I was hoping you could answer my questions about the articulation of these figures.It looks like the legs move at the shoulder and possibly the ankles, but does the head also swivel? You also say that the third leg is optional, but will it be able to retract in and out of the body of the droid? Either way this looks like a lot of fun, and I look forward to building an army of droids haha.

  • @Steven – thank you for your detailed response. I am currently on my way and will be there laster today (Saturday) and back in the park on Sunday with the intent on making droids out of as many unique parts you have available. As I am coming down specifically take advantage of this program, I would be most appreciative of any help you, Brad, Cody and the team at Tatooine Traders can give to help make my trip a success. Thanks.

  • Sorry to be-labor the point, but does that mean there are currently 67 parts available (71 minus the four hats you mention) with more to come or only some of the currently projected 71 parts?

    And if the latter, is there someone at customer service who will help me with regards to getting as many parts as possible during this visit and having any missing parts from the 71 announced above mailed to me?

    • @Peter – No worries. Trust me, I understand why you are asking and I’m happy to respond. Without getting into logistical details, I thought I would share how the assortment currently works.

      The 71 part number was an estimate based on what we planned to have for opening. Unfortunately, we don’t keep inventory by part which has to due with some behind-the-scenes system limitations. We have asked the manufacturer to ship parts in assortments, and not all of the parts are shipped every time. This is why the assortment may look different with each visit.

      Since we don’t have individual item numbers for each part (as they aren’t sold individually), it may be a challenge for our Cast to locate a specific part(s). The Cast in the location (and the developers) will not know how assortments will be delivered since they won’t have visibility to what is pulled from our warehouse. It could be a random mix each time.

      At this time, we won’t be able to offer this experience via mail order. We consider it a customized experience that can only be done while visiting Disney.

      I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. Brad, Cody and I spent some time discussing your question this afternoon/evening. We understand the desire to have a parts checklist and please know that we are considering the best option for one.

      If anything, hearing your enthusiasm really delighted Brad and Cody who have spent three years or so working on this project. So, thank you!

  • Hi Steven I am specifically coming down to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this weekend and I am concerned by your comment to John above about how the exclusive domes are not there yet.

    Can you please be more specific in this regard?

    • @Peter and John – I spoke with Brad and Cody regarding your questions. Basically, they are working on a comprehensive list but something won’t be available until later this summer (probably closer to August).

      The reason – pieces are continuing to arrive in the coming months. This is similar to what has been done with the Mr. Potato Head experience at Once Upon a Toy. We started with some parts when it opened in 2002. Since then we have added additional Disney Parks specific parts (like food, character outfits, etc).

      Brad specifically told me that availability of droid pieces may change frequently. Yet, Cody and he are aware that a list will help some folks who enjoy collecting the action figures.

  • I think this is a GREAT idea! I always loved the “Build Your Own” stations like the Mr. Potato head and Lightsaber. Great for kids and nostalgic adults!

  • So, do these get built the same way the light sabers are? Guided by a cast member and piece by piece? We’ll be there next weekend, and are definately getting several!

    • @John – I have asked the Brad and Cody for some additional information. I will share once I learn more. I know that availability of pieces and parts may change often. For example, some of the novelty ear hats and specially designed domes won’t arrive until later this summer. Please stay tuned.

      @Jason – I’m glad to hear you like this idea. If the item is popular, we will evaluate future growth. Of course, I want to go to Disneyland too! 🙂

      @Amber – Correct!! There will be a Cast Member to assist you if needed. There are several bins that contain each part. Start with the body, then select a dome, then choose legs and finally add a novelty hat (if desired). It’s simple and fun. We had a great time creating droids this morning before the location opened. Hope to see you at Star Wars Weekends.

  • PLEASE BRING THIS TO DISNEYLAND! I’m sure it will be very popular! STAR TOURS was here first! Please bring it to California’s Disneyland!

  • I’m really, really excited about these. As a Star Wars figure collector, I do have to know . . . does the 71 part count include the hats and third legs as individual pieces? Is there a breakdown of how many parts are available (i.e., five different R2 domes, three different R3 domes, 15 different bodies, etc.)? And is there a limit to how many figures can be purchased at a time?

  • Please tell me these are coming to Disneyland!

    • @Myles – I agree about the awesomeness of this! The single droid pack is $11.95 each (plus tax). The double droid pack is $18.95 each (plus tax).

      @Minesh – Currently, we are only introducing the Droid Factory at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Provided it’s popular with guests, we may consider additional locations.

  • This looks awesome and I can hardly wait to make one! Do you know the cost for this? Thanks!

  • Oh can’t wait – will have to do this with my son. Love the Disney inspired hats 🙂

  • Is there any chance this will continue after Star Wars Weekend? I know my son would love it, but we don’t go until December.

    • @Lou – [waves hand] These droids would look very nice with “your” Starspeeder 1000 Vehicle Play Set 🙂

      @Charles – I had the Droid Factory toy too!! Countless hours spent playing with that. One of the original concepts was to model it after the create-your-own Mr. Potato Head from Once Upon a Toy. Yet, it was decided to build individual figures to add a more personal connection (you can create a unique figure that you can name).

      @Christine – There is a permanent fixture in the Tatooine Traders shop at the exit of Star Tours. You can’t miss it as it faces the attraction exit. In keeping with the storyline of the shop, it is modeled after young Anakin Skywalker’s workbench. I just returned from the opening this morning and it looks awesome!

      There will also be a smaller temporary fixture that will be found inside Darth’s Mall at Star Wars Weekends 2012.

  • It would be great if these parts were like the Mr. Potato Head in that you could buy a box of parts instead of just one droid at a time. I remember having the droid factory when I was a kid that allowed you to mix and match parts all day long to create your own figures. Would be great to have a ton of different parts to play with at home.

  • These ARE the droids I’ve been looking for! (Sorry, it was too easy!) 🙂

    Look forward to getting a few of these… after I get frozen in Carbonite first, of course!

    Lou M.
    WDW Radio

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