Star Wars Weekends is a great chance for all sorts of fans, from the casual to the hardcore, to experience a little Disney and Star Wars magic. There is a reason Disney dedicates an entire weekend to Star Wars and that is because there is so much stuff to do it is hard to actually get everything done in one day.
From the moment you approach the entrance to the Disney-MGM Studios, you can feel the Star Wars oozing on the theme park. There is a big poster announcing the dates for the weekends and there are banners of Star Wars characters all over the place. As if that weren’t enough, Star Wars themes are playing through speakers located around the park.
If you get to the park before it opens you are treated to a
little comedy, courtesy of some stormtroopers that are on the roof of the
Stormtrooper 1: “Sir, do these beings always dress like that?”
Stormtrooper 2: “It is some sort of religious outfit for a yearly ritual they call “vacation””
Stormtrooper 1: “Am I glad I’m not on vacation, I wouldn’t want to dress like that.”
Stormtrooper 1: “Sir, look at the face on this one. Contact Boba Fett, there’s got to be a bounty on his head.”
Stormtrooper 2: “Why don’t we just blast him right here and collect the bounty ourselves?”
Stormtrooper 3: “No, just leave him.
He’s got enough problems already, just look at him.”
Once people are in the park, a battalion of clone troopers
marks the pace so the crowd doesn’t trample people over, in their attempt to
be one of the lucky ones that gets a FastPass to meet the celebrities that will
appear on that day. You really have
to give credit to the people at Disney since crowd control was almost perfect,
other than a verbal fight between two adults over how one pushed the other’s
little daughter out of the way, everything I saw went smoothly.
Almost all of the Star Wars events take place on Jedi
Mickey Avenue (Appropriately renamed, from Mickey Avenue, for the weekends) or
near the area located next to the Star Tours ride and the Tatooine Traders
store. Around these areas you can
find places where Star Wars characters; like Jango Fett, Darth Vader, Queen
Amidala, The Emperor, Darth Maul, Princes Leia, Kit Fisto, and Chewbacca are
posing for pictures and signing autographs all day long.
To kick off the day, there is a Star Wars motorcade where all the
characters that will roam the park appear leading the two celebrities for the
Each weekend two Star Wars celebrities invade the theme park. Each celebrity has three meet and greet session with the fans, where autographs can be obtained and pictures taken, and about 40 to 60 fans make it through each session. The sessions last about one hour each.
Thanks to Disney’s FastPass the hassle of standing in line, or people cutting in line, is almost eliminated. All you have to do is go to a machine that issues a FastPass for the celebrity you want to meet, one FastPass per admission ticket per celebrity. If there are FastPasses still available you will get one, it will tell you the time you need to return to the meet and greet spot, almost reducing your wait in line to less than 10 minutes. If there are no more guaranteed FastPasses still available, 60 standby FastPasses are issued per celebrity, per day. In the event that there is no one waiting in line with a guaranteed FastPass, and there is still time, a standby FastPass holder gets to go in. The only drawback to this method is that it is almost impossible to get an autograph, or picture, if you do not have a FastPass. Also, FastPasses run out extremely quick. One day I was here just an hour after the park opened and there was no more guaranteed, or standby FastPasses left. The following day I was there before the park opened, once the park opened the first thing I did was get in line and I barely got a standby FastPass to meet Anthony Daniels.
If you have a little with you during Star Wars Weekends, this is the must event. Here kids get selected at random to train with a Jedi Master in the ways of the Force. The kids are provided with lightsabers and are thought basic sword moves and tactics. All the kids that were selected get a chance to demonstrate what they have learned when Darth Maul and Darth Vader crash the party. The young padawans then have to fend off the attacks of the dark lords. Kids are selected at random from the crowd and there are eight opportunities to get selected, per day.
There are two shows of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? -Play It! Star Wars Edition every day during the weekends. The show is pretty much the same as the TV version only you don’t play for money, you play for points. There is also a limit to the time you have to answer each question. But, every seat in the audience is eligible to participate for a chance to be in the hot seat. All you have to do is correctly answer the questions during the game as fast a possible. The person with the highest score gets to be in the hot seat. For a more detailed description of how I fared in the game show check out this thread in our forums.
The celebrities also have a Q&A session with the fans each day. Nothing to serious, mostly a show that introduces the celebrities, how they got their role, where they got the inspiration for their performance, their current endeavors, and then they answer one or two, pre-selected, questions from the audience.
As the audience comes in to the theater where the event
takes place, there are several stormtroopers “ushering” people in.
They perform several comedic skits to entertain the audience while the
show starts. For example, the
theater has the Star Wars theme music playing, once the song ends a very mellow
melody begins. The head
stormtrooper then “convinces” the person in the sound booth to play
something better. Once the Imperial
March starts playing, the stormtroopers make comments like “Brings back good
memories” or “That’s a great song to hum along to” The stormtroopers
also lead the audience in humming the Imperial March. Then the fun begins. As
the stormtroopers are talking to each other one of them makes the following
Stormtrooper 1: “I’m surprised I remember that”
Stormtrooper 2: “What do you mean?”
Stormtrooper 1: “A while before that, while searching for rebel scum, I hit my head so hard on one of the blast doors, I almost passed out.”
Stormtrooper 3: “That was you?”
Stormtrooper 1: “You saw that?”
Stormtrooper 4: “Everyone saw that on the surveillance tapes”
Stormtrooper 2: “You back there, roll that surveillance tape”
Stormtrooper 1: “No! Don’t!”
Then the infamous scene plays, over and over and in slow
motion with a highlighted circle, and everyone gets a laugh out of it.
To top it all of, the stormtrooper that is supposed to be the one that
hits his head, slams into a wall while returning to his post.
The stormtroopers also do this one.
Stormtrooper 1: “Sir, we’ve receive a message that a Jedi has infiltrated the crowd”
Stormtrooper 2: “Did they mention the Jedi’s description?”
Stormtrooper 1: “Yes, short pants, with a sleeveless shirt, and a hat”
Stormtrooper 3: “ I see him! Wait, there’s another one over there!”
Stormtrooper 4: “He’s over here! And over there!
Stormtrooper 1: “There’s another! And another! They’re everywhere!”
Stormtrooper 2: “We don’t need to see their identification.”
Stormtrooper 3: “What? He is using the Jedi mind trick on you”
Stormtrooper 2: “These aren’t the druids we are looking for”
Stormtrooper 4: “Look away! Look away!”
Stormtrooper 2: “Move along, move along”
Once the show starts, a highlight reel plays of the particular celebrity appearing. Then the two hosts hype the celebrity so much, regardless of the size of the role they played in the movie. When Warwick Davis got on stage one of the hosts waited till the audience settled down and raised his arms and yelled “Wicket!” Then he did the same thing but this time yelled, “Willow!” After that he did the same for “Professor Flitwick!” and “Leprechaun!” The host did the same for Anthony Daniels and “C-3PO!” however; Anthony Daniels got the stage for himself, after Andy Secombe (the voice of Watto) had appeared. As opposed to Mike Quinn (Nien Numb) and Warwick Davis, who shared the stage.
Some of the things the actor talk about are very interesting little tidbits and stories about the films we all love. Andy Secombe mentioned how he came up with the voice for Watto, with little to zero input from George Lucas. He said he envisioned Watto as an Italian, used car dealer. Warwick Davis said his grandmother had heard an add on the radio, calling for small extras, and that is how he got to be an Ewok. He then mentioned that when it came time to shoot the scene where Princes Leia encounters Wicket; Kenny Baker, who was originally supposed to be in the scene, came down with food poisoning and Davis was called up for the role. Davis said Lucas had liked the way Davis would move his head emphatically in the Ewok costume and that is why he got the role. Davis then jokingly says that the burger he bought for Baker the day before had been the greatest investment he’d ever made. Davis also went on to share a story about the making of Willow. Davis mentioned that on a flight with Val Kilmer, as they were about to start shooting Willow, he was wearing a pair of fake Ray Ban sunglasses and flying in first class for the first time. Kilmer then takes the glasses from Davis and snaps them in two. After Davis got enough time to get mad about it, Kilmer pulls out two pairs of real Ray Bans and that is how the two celebrated the fact they got the roles in the movie. Quinn showed great respect and admiration towards Jim Henson, who he credits for his success in the puppeteer industry. He told the audience that in order to properly move Nien Numb’s face in Return of the Jedi, he had to sit in very awkward positions for prolonged periods of time. Quinn also commented on the fact that he controlled a puppet that was supposed to have a scene, in Jabba’s Palace, with C-3PO. The scene ultimately never made it into the film.
In this one-man show, Anthony Daniels gives the audience a very funny and peculiar perspective in to the Star Wars universe. The show starts as an announcer introduces Anthony Daniels, then an all too familiar “Oh Dear!” is heard along with blasters sounds. Then parts of C-3PO are scattered around the stage. After that, Daniels walks onto the stage, accompanied by a bunch of Ewoks that are adoring him. At a certain point, Daniels get annoyed of the little critters and ask the audience for suggestions as to get rid of them. After improvising responses the audience’s suggestions, Daniels orders the Ewoks to bring him an audience member so they can so they can prepare a feast in his honor.
Daniels then starts telling stories about how hard it is to get some work done in the costume he wears. He also makes some derogatory remarks, jokingly of course, about R2-D2 and how the little droid kept banging into him. He tells the story of a scene in Tunisia, the one right after 3PO suggest to Luke to acquire R2-D2 instead R5-D4. Daniels said there were some stairs near where they were shooting so he had to stop on a mark, or else fall down the stairs, since his costume doesn’t allow him to go down steps. Daniels then commented that on all but one of the takes R2 kept rolling after him and almost pushed him down the stairs. The exception was when Daniels got fed up with the astromech droid and instead of stopping on his mark, he stepped aside so that R2 would roll down the stairs, and that was the only time R2-D2 also stopped on his mark. RD-D2 also joins in on the fun. People start asking question to R2 and Daniels is forced to translate. Your classic fight between the old friends ensues, with them making up at the end.
Towards the end, Daniels asks the audience if they would like to know about Episode III. As he is about to spill the beans, a bunch of Stormtroopers run on stage reminding Daniels about his non-disclosure agreement with Lucas. Thus the tease ends.
Disney set aside a portion of one of its studios to fill it full of Star Wars arcade games and pinball machines. They had the big versions of the arcades, the ones you get to sit in. They had the following games: Star Wars Racer, Star Wars Star Fighter, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade Game, and several others. I won’t even attempt to list the pinball machines, since I don’t know much about them, and I don’t want to embarrass my self in trying. The bad thing is that to play the games you have to pay. Unlike DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney, where they have the same arcade games, where the price of admission includes playing the arcade games. If you are staying at a Walt Disney resort, you admission to DisneyQuest is already included.
There is a 20 to 30 minute movie that airs several times
during the day, which shows behind the scenes footage of the upcoming Episode
III. There are no spoilers revealed
and Hyperspace members have already seen it since its available to them online,
it consists of all of the behind the scenes documentaries put together as one.
This place is every Star Wars fan’s dream. A store totally dedicated to Star Wars merchandise. The prices are a little steep, but if you were ever looking for a Star Wars shot glass, coffee mug, pins, back packs, shirts, caps, pens, decals, pencils, etc, this is the place to get them. They even have high priced items like Master Replicas, Gentle Giants, and more. The best part about this is that the store is there all year round, so you don’t have to attend Star Wars Weekends to go there. The store does carry a lot of exclusive merchandise only available during Star Wars weekends.
This is a contest where everyone, over the age of 12, can participate. The first round consists of multiple answer questions. Once the field of contestants diminishes, a second round with fill in the blank answers begins. The top three contestants get a small bounty of Star Wars merchandise as a prize. Some of the questions are hard, like “What were the odds C-3PO gave to Han about navigating an asteroid field?” “How many insignias does General Riekian’s uniform have?” “Who was the education minister of Naboo?” The one time I participated in the trials, I did not make it out of the first round.
This event marks the closure of the Star Wars activities
for the day, at the theme park. It
usually takes place on a stage next to the Star Tours ride, but due to weather,
its sometimes moved inside a theater. The
show consists of two hosts making bad Star Wars jokes and poking fun at some of
the Star Wars characters that are roaming the streets.
The big finale is a Star Wars inspired dance where everyone is encouraged
Overall I would highly recommend attending Star Wars
Weekends if you get the chance. I
enjoyed it very much, and I am making plans to attend a weekend or two the next
time. There were only two little
things that I did not like; the above mention verbal fight and an incident were
I saw someone sell their FastPass ticket to meet Anthony Daniels.
The people at Disney make every possible effort to make the guests stay
at their theme parks magical, and they did not make an exception for the
thousands of Star Wars fans that attended.
For more info on Star Wars Weekends, check out The Official Site
You can discuss this article, or ask questions about Star Wars Weekend in this thread on our forums.
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