STAR WARS WEEKENDS 2015
Once a year “a galaxy far, far away” comes completely within reach at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For 5 consecutive weekends, Star Wars Weekends celebrates George Lucas’ tale of intergalactic war and all the characters that exist within that saga. Running successfully for many years, Star Wars Weekends continues to remain among the most popular happenings within Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For the Star Wars fan, it certainly has a lot to offer. The event can even be slightly intimidating due to the scope of it. A bit of understanding is helpful with the setting of expectations, so let’s break the whole affair down a bit.
Throughout the entire day, there is a full schedule of Star Wars-themed events that hold appeal for a variety of entertainment tastes. Among the first is a parade (Legends of the Force Motorcade) that showcases not only Star Wars characters but also celebrities of the franchise. In addition to that, there are a few activities that guests can throw themselves into such as the Padawan Mind Challenge (a show that invites children to test their Star Wars knowledge), a dance party hosted by DJ Lobot, and the ever-popular Jedi Training Academy for children who want a chance to become a Jedi and battle Darth Vader.
There are also a number of shows that run throughout the day. A few are regular staples for Star Wars Weekends like the Stars of the Saga and Obi-Wan and Beyond shows. Both of these shows are hosted by James Arnold Taylor and provide continuous laughs with humor that all Star Wars fans can appreciate. However, this year, two new shows have been added to the entertainment menu. Behind the Force: Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide introduce Disney’s original XD series to the event for the first time. To top off a full day of Star Wars entertainment, each evening is ended with a fantastic firework display, The Symphony in the Stars, which guests received with enthusiasm at last year’s event.
There is a celebrity line-up each year so that guests have the chance to meet, garner autographs, and get pictures with the big names of Star Wars fame and watch them in some of the onstage entertainment. Expect to see James Arnold Taylor, Frank Oz, Warwick Davis, Silas Carson, Daniel Logan, Ray Park, Jeremy Bullock, Peter Mayhew, Ashley Eckstein, Amy Allen, Ian McDiarmid and others rotate in this year’s schedule of celebrity appearances. Those meet and greets are being held in the building which formerly housed The American Idol Experience. This is a new and pleasant change from past years. FastPasses for these opportunities are available and recommended.
Celebrities aren’t the only ones in demand at Star Wars Weekends. Interaction with the actual characters of the saga is usually out of this world. Personalities of The Clone Wars can be found roaming the Streets of America in the park. Members of the Jedi Council tend to huddle near Mickey Avenue. Members of the Rebel Alliance gravitate near the Star Tours—The Adventures Continue attraction, and you can go to the Dark Side near Darth’s Mall. For folks who want more familiar faces but still feel like they have touched another galaxy, Disney Pals dressed in Star Wars attire are found not far from The Star Wars Weekends Event Stage. Get your cameras ready because you never know who you might bump into walking down the street.
Some of the longest lines you will wait in at Star Wars Weekends are lines for the merchandise. Darth’s Mall is always the event’s “shopportunity” headquarters with a vast amount of items for purchase. This year, Darth’s Mall has been segmented into three storefronts. First is X-Wing Collectibles, the spot for more pricey and exclusive Star Wars items like Star Wars D-Tech Me, Graphic MagicBands, pins, vinylmation, Dooney & Bourke, artwork, and other collectibles. Next is Watto’s Grotto where you can find the popular items that guests return for year after year like Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber, personalized Aurebesh nametags, action figures, toys, apparel (including that of the Her Universe line), autographed photos, and Passholder Event merchandise. Finally, classic Star Wars toys such as plushes, t-shirts, and LEGO items can be found at the Prop Shop near the Studio Catering Company. Darth’s Mall is open during the weekend events, but it closes at 7:30pm each night. Be sure to get there in plenty of time to loot the place before it gets too late.
Disney always has specialty food items and beverages that feature at their events. Star Wars Weekends is no exception. With an array of themed cupcakes (Yoda, Jabba, and Darth Vader), adult drinks (that come with Star-Wars icons as glowing cubes), and popcorn souvenir buckets of “carbonite,” this year’s affair has folks drooling before they even arrive.
In addition to food and beverage items, there are also a few dining choices for eating in Star Wars style. A Star Wars character breakfast, held in the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant is extremely popular. This breakfast puts you in the presence of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Greedo, Jawas and Stormtroopers.
There is also the character dining experience at Hollywood & Vine where the Disney characters can be found suited up as Star Wars personalities like Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Vader Goofy, Storm Trooper Donald, and Chip and Dale as Ewoks. The newest experience in Star Wars dining is the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge where one can have some tasty food options in an atmosphere that resembles a stopping point for visiting pilots, smugglers, and other sketchy characters floating about the universe. Reservations are recommended and often necessary for Star Wars dining. Make arrangements and be light years ahead of the others when dinnertime comes around.
As mentioned before, Star Wars Weekends is an extremely popular event. The crowd levels run high because year after year guests continue to enjoy what Disney brings to our planetary system from those far-off places. This year shows the same promise as those that have preceded it, and we hope that you are able to make it out for this intergalactic experience.