Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Opinion: Experiencing Star Wars Weekends


By: Lillian Skye

Star Wars Weekends is going on every weekend (through June 15th) at Disney's Hollywood Studios and is celebrating the best of the Saga and the upcoming Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels. Where Storm Troopers heckle the crowds, the Cantina Band mingles with their intergalactic fans, and diehards have a chance to meet and interact with their favorite Star Wars celebrities, there is something for everyone at this annual event.

Still debating on if you want to brave the crowds? (Not to mention the Florida heat.) Need tips and advice on what to do when you get there?

I've been going to Star Wars Weekends the past several years, and have and seen the best of the  stars, shows, and rides. This year, I attended Star Wars Weekends for Weekend 2, and scoped out must-dos of the event:


You'll hear this a thousand times, but get to the park early if you want the chance to meet your favorite Star Wars celebrities. Fans camp out overnight at the park for the opportunity to get an autograph ticket, and set up beds, coolers, card tables (see left), and folding chairs for the night. Even if you arrive at 3 am on the day of the event, you're not guaranteed an autograph ticket. I got to the park at 4 in the morning, and Warwick Davis and Jeremy Bulloch's lines were long and each full of sleeping fans who had stayed the night. Autograph tickers are first come, first serve so plan accordingly!


Disney's Hollywood Studies goes all out for Star Wars Weekends, and features an array of entrées and sweets fit for a battalion of Clone Troopers. If you're in the park early, check out the Sci-Fi Drive in Theatre Restaurant, which serves Star Wars themed breakfasts such as Anchorhead Appetizers, dishes like"Mois Eisley Morning," "Ackbar Surprise," and "Tatooine Sunrise."

From pretzel lightsabers to Darth Vader cupcakes, there are plenty of sweets to go around. Candy stores and eateries throughout the park have different sweets on hand, so make sure to stop in and check them out.

If you're over 21 and feeling stressed out from the chaos of the crowds, the adult side of Disney has your back. For $13.75, you could choose the Light or the Dark Side, and sit down with "The Force," a combination of Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord, and Wildberry Lemonade, or "The Dark Side," which is made from Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Cointrau, and Pomegranate Lemonade. Each drink comes with a Glow Lightsaber.


Star Tours. Rockin' Roller Coaster. Tower of Terror. Those are the three rides that will draw the most crowds during Star Wars Weekends. Any normal weekend, you should head towards the Coaster and the Tower first, but since it's a Star Wars themed event, you'll want to RUN and dodge the strollers walk briskly towards the Star Tours ride and jump in line. If you get on it while the park is just opening, you should only have a 5-10 minute wait. Later in the day, you'll see a time more along the lines of 120 minutes…

Once you're finished riding Star Tours (for the first of fifteen times that Weekend), you've set yourself up to meet some amazing characters who are roaming the area.


This year, Rebels characters Sabine Wren, Ezra Bridger, and Chopper are roaming the park, encouraging fans to get excited for the Star Wars Rebels premiere this fall. Fan favorites like Chewbacca, Anakin Skywalker, and the Ewok Chipmunks still attract a crowd, so heading straight towards a character's line is the best way to avoid an hour wait for a picture. (I snagged a picture with Chewbacca in front of Star Tours as soon as the park opened.)


You're in luck! This year, Disney realized that people get heat stroke when they spend hours standing on asphalt in an immobile line. This year, Darth's Mall is nestled behind the Toy Story Midway Mania! ride, and offers shade and air-condition while guests wait to enter the store. Once you're inside, be sure to build (free!!) mini lego sets and tour the store. If you're a female fan or have a special fangirl in your life, be sure to check out the Her Universe by Ashley Eckstein collection, which is centrally located in the Mall. They have all new items this year, including jewelry, a Han Solo Dress, and Imperial Leggings. Then, prepare to make your final purchases, and be aware that depending on the crowds, you may have to spend twenty minutes in line. If you're from out of town, the store can ship your items somewhere for you, too, so that you don't have to lug that cumbersome Bantha plush all around the park.


Each weekend, there is a special Star Wars Rebels guest at the Behind the Force show. Ashley Eckstein, the voice behind Ahsoka Tano, sits down each week with a new "voice" to discuss each Rebel's actors roll in the series. At each show, an exclusive clip with a character is shown, along with an inside sneak peak with the making of Star Wars Rebels and a tour of the Rebels crew led by Dave Filoni at Lucasfilm.

Whether you're a passionate fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars fan eager for a new animated series, a Star Wars Rebels skeptic, or never watched any of the shows, check out Behind the Force for some exclusive content and some air-conditioned entertainment.


Celebrities, Storm Troopers, Jedi Micky--the parade is a Star Wars fan's delight. People flock to line up among the parade route for a chance to get a glimpse at their favorite characters and stars. Make sure your phone has space and that it is charged, you'll want to take photos of every realistic Tusken Raider, Wookiee, and droid that passes by.

HINT: If you're not interested in parades, this is the best time to ride Star Tours or eat lunch while the masses are enthralled by the celebrities and the 501st Legion ;)


Stars of the Saga is a celebrity talk show hosted by James Arnold Taylor. The fact that it is hosted by the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi himself is enough reason to attend, but throw in an Original Trilogy actor each week and it makes the show appeal to every generation of Star Wars fan. Get there an hour early if you want good seats and bring a water bottle or two, because the lines will start to wrap around and you may be out in the sun until it starts moving.

Star Wars Weekends is a blast for diehard and casual fans alike because there is something for everyone to do.

Whether you're a Star Wars Weekends veteran or if you're planning to go for the first time, eat the food, see the shows, geek out with the other fans, and have a stellar time

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer (the one being kissed by the Cantina Band member), and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.


Chris Seekell said...

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