Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Complete Guide to Star Wars Weekends 2014

Star Wars Weekends is an exciting and must do event for any member of your family who loves Star Wars. And even if you don't, soaking in the atmosphere is still a lot of fun too. 

Star Wars Weekends runs for an unprecedented 5 weekends this year!  The event will take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 16 - June 15. Activities that take place during Star Wars Weekends this year include character meals, a fireworks spectacular, a parade, meet and greets with both Disney and Star Wars characters, plus celebrity meeting opportunities, stage presentations, and so much more!  The best part is that all activities are included in your park admission!

Here is the Complete Guide to Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

What's New?
  • This year's event is called "Join the Rebellion." 
  • Disney has extended Star Wars Weekends, adding a 5th weekend for the event. 
  • A fabulous fireworks show, featuring Star Wars music will be presented each evening called "Symphony in the Stars." 
  • Star Wars Themed Character Meals are available daily from May 4 - June 15 at two of Disney's Hollywood Studios restaurants. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater will feature a galactic breakfast experience, and Hollywood & Vine will see a Star Wars/Disney character dinner.  
  • A special Yoda cupcake will be introduced this year. 
  • Disney has added the Premier Theater stage shows to its Tier 1 Fastpass+ selections during Star Wars Weekends.
  • The Feel the Force Premium Package will feature premium viewing for the Legends of the Force motorcade from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, including beverages and snacks.  In addition guests will get to enjoy a desert party from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM, that also includes special viewing for the Symphony in the Stars fireworks show. Additionally, you'll receive a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card that can be used to link your photos to your Disney account, which includes a series of complimentary Star Wars photos. The Feel the Force Premium Package is available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 to June 15. Prices are $54 for adults and $32 for children (ages 3-9), per day. (Tax and gratuity included.) Guests will receive a wristband during the motorcade viewing that will allow entry into the evening fireworks dessert party. Beverages during the parties include soda, water, tea and coffee and the fireworks dessert party includes a specialty alcoholic beverage for guest 21 years of age or older. Seating is not available with this package for either event. 
  • The D-Tech Me Experience returns with new options of Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot.  Using state-of-the-art imaging technology, your likeness will be scanned and cast as a three-dimensional figurine.   
  • Disney is introducing a separately ticketed merchandise event called Rebel Rendezvous which takes place on May 15.  The event gives guests access to Darth's Mall and Star Wars Weekend merchandise one day before it officially goes on sale to the general public. 
  • Ultimate Star Wars Weekends VIP Tour is a 7-hour VIP Tour where guests receive special access to Star Wars Weekends activities (best seats for shows at the Premiere Theater, reserved viewing for Legends of the Force Motorcade and special shopping time at Darth’s Mall).  In addition, expedited attraction access will be available (including attractions like Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, and more). Guests will be provided with a private continental breakfast at the Hollywood Brown Derby, table service lunch, and a VIP Viewing and Dessert Party for the Symphony of the Stars Fireworks show. Cost is $499 plus tax, per person (theme park admission not included). Available every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 to June 15.
  • Because of the fireworks show this year, the famous Hyperspace Hoopla is no more. This fun show in which Star War characters competed in a "dance-off" was a fan favorite.  In its place will be the DJ Lobot Dance Party which will begin at 7 p.m. each evening and  will include a nightly curtain call moment with several of the Star Wars characters just prior to the fireworks.

    Celebrity Meet and Greets

    The celebrity meet and greet opportunities are one of the big highlights of Star Wars Weekends.  It's always exciting to see which celebrities will make their appearance!  

     Each weekend also includes celebrity hosts, who keep the party rocking and host special events throughout the days.  
    Celebrity Hosts Appearing All Five Weekends:
    • James Arnold Taylor - the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
    • Ashley Eckstein - the voice of Ahsoka Tano, in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

    Weekly Celebrity Guests:

    Weekend I: May 16 - May 18
    • Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla - Star Wars Rebels

    Weekend II: May 23 - May 25
    • Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick - Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Wald - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
    • Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Capt. Jeremoch Colton - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
    • Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren - Star Wars Rebels

    Weekend III: May 30 - June 1:
    • Ray Park: Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
    • John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
    • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger - Star Wars Rebels

    Weekend IV: June 6 - June 8
    • Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker - Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Darth Bane - Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Will not be meeting guests.)
    • Ray Park: Darth Maul - Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
    • Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian - Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
    • Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger - Star Wars Rebels

    Weekend V: June 13 - June 15
    • Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala and several additional characters - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters - Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    • Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios - Star Wars Rebels

    Do keep in mind that schedules are subject to change without notice.

    Celebrity Photo and Autograph Opportunities

    If you want to meet some of your favorite Star War celebrities each weekend during the event, you'll need to line up ahead of time.  The autograph lines will once again be handled via a FASTPASS-type system. Here's how it works: 
    Line up outside Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s front gate entrance before the park opens. Those wishing to obtain celebrity autographs should use the bag check line to the far right. For the extremely popular celebrities, the queue usually starts between 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. For less popular stars, plan to arrive by 6:30 a.m. Keep in mind that there will be different lines for each of the different celebrities, so in the beginning, join the line of the celebrity that is your number one priority to meet.

    When you get to the front of the line, you will receive a wristband. Your theme park admission and this wristband will allow you to receive one FASTPASS ticket. Only one FASTPASS ticket will be given out per guest.  Guests may not get a FASTPASS for other members of their party, nor may they save a place in any of the FASTPASS lines for other members of your party . Each guest must be present to receive their FASTPASS ticket, which will contain a designated autograph return time.
    Once you receive a ticket, you will need to continue to wear your wristband, since it will be necessary in order to obtain an autograph. FASTPASS ticket quantities are extremely limited and are only issued on a first-come, first-served basis. 

    Once you receive your FASTPASS ticket, go  enjoy other Star Wars Weekends activities. When your designated return time approaches, head over to the celebrity autograph location found at Echo Lake.  Simply show your wristband and present your FASTPASS ticket.

    Often all the FASTPASS tickets for visiting celebrities will be distributed.  At that time, Disney may issue stand-by tickets, however, the stand-by tickets do not guarantee that you will get to meet the celebrity.

    Also of note:  one autograph (signed photo or memorabilia) per Guest. If you don't have an item to be signed, a small photo card will be available at the autograph table. As always, there is no additional charge for the celebrity autograph sessions at Star Wars Weekends.

    Special Star Wars Weekends Events

    There are a lot of fun activities that take place during Star Wars Weekends that are exclusive to the event.  These include things like character meet and greets, a special parade, a fireworks spectacular, and more.  Here's what you can expect that will be exclusive to the event weekends.

    The Stormtrooper Welcome - Hollywood and Vine Intersection

    Encounter a duo of troublesome Imperial Stormtroopers while they ready a welcome surprise from the Dark Side as they attempt to keep all “Rebel Scum” out in this cute, little show that takes place around 7:30am.  During the show, the Stormtroopers interact with both each other, as well as the Guests entering the park for the day.


    This event is known for its character meet and greets.  Guests can meet Star Wars characters old and new.  In addition, many Disney characters dressed as Star Wars characters can also be found.  Here is where you will likely see your favorites.  

    Rebel Star Wars Character Encounters


    Commissary Lane
    Chewbacca, Ewoks, Ewok Chip and Dale
    Star Tours
    Clone Troopers
    Streets of America
    C-3PO and R2-D2
    Darth's Mall
    Queen Amidala
    ABC Sound Studio
    Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and Stormtrooper Donald
    Darth's Mall

    Imperial Star Wars Character Encounters


    Bounty Hunters
    Near Studios Backlot Tour
    Darth Maul
    Near Studios Backlot Tour
    Darth Vader
    Streets of America

    Legends of the Force Parade

    Star Wars celebrities take part in the gala "Legends of the Force" parade, alongside Star Wars characters and Disney characters. The motorcade begins at the front of the park and travels up to the Sorcerer Hat Stage, concluding with a grand celebrity welcome. Ir takes place daily during Star Wars Weekends at 11:00 a.m. If you can't get close enough to view the parade, it is also simulcast on the large screen found at the American Idol Experience.

    The Star Wars Weekends Event Stage 

    • Celebrity Welcome - Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor, along with that week's visiting celebrities, highlight the day’s events. Takes place at the Sorcerer Hat Stage immediately following the parade.
    • Stormtrooper Patrol - Be on the lookout for Imperial Stormtroopers as they walk the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage imparting Imperial info and their own unique brand of investigation.
    • Boba Fett Patrol - Keep an eye peeled for Boba Fett as strolls and patrols the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage. 
    Padawan Mind Challenge

    Kids ages 11 and under can test their Star War knowledge before the Jedi Council. Registration for the events begins at the Event Information Table near ABC Sound Studio starting at Park opening. Both parent (or adult over 18) and child must be present when signing up. Sign up early as spots go fast. The event takes place on the Sorcerer Hat Stage at 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

    Celebrity Talk Shows

    Experience the fascinating life and movie making adventures of visiting celebrities at Disney's Hollywood Studio's Premiere Theater.  Shows include:  
    • Behind the Force – Star Wars: Rebels
    • Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor
    • Stars of the Saga Star Wars Celebrity Talk Show
    • An Ewok’s Tale: My Short Story, Starring Warwick Davis (Weekend II only)
    • Visit to the Maul, starring Ray Park (Weekend III and IV only)
Do keep in mind that Disney’s Hollywood Studios tiers its attractions, and these shows are all in Tier 1. Guests may only select one attraction from those in Tier 1. Tier 1 attraction choices also include things like Toy Story Mania and Rock n' Roller keep that in mind if you decide you want to experience one of these shows.   

Also, since these shows are unique, FastPass+ reservations will likely go fast. If you want to make sure to see one of these shows, make your reservations as soon as possible.

For those who are not able to make FastPass+ reservations, or would like to see more than one show, standby options will be available.

  • Symphony in the Star Fireworks
    A fabulous fireworks show, featuring Star Wars music and some favorite Star Wars Character will be presented each evening called "Symphony in the Stars." The show will take place at 9:30 p.m. and will even utilize Glow with the Show technology. 

    Special Star Wars Merchandise Opportunities

    There are lots of special Star Wars merchandise opportunities for guests to take advantage of.  From customizable merchandise, limited edition items, and more.  Here's what you can expect to see:  

    Darth's Mall

    Located in Soundstage 1 between the Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania, Darth's Mall is the place to go if you want to purchase special Star Wars Weekends merchandise.  Star Wars Weekends always includes a multitude of limited edition pins, artwork and collectibles.  Some items available include:   

    • Custom Aurebesh name tags
    • LEGO interactive build station (select weekends)
    • Build-your-own droid station (select weekends)
    • Build-your-own lightsaber station (select weekends)
    • Her Universe merchandise
    • Art & collectibles gallery
    • FanWraps vehicle decals
    Plus, there are always opportunities for artist signings and book signings. For example, meet Ashley Eckstein for a special signing of Her Universe Star Wars merchandise daily during the event.

    Rebel Rendezvous Event

    A special event that will take place on May 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. which gives guests access to Darth's Mall and Star Wars Weekend merchandise one day before Star Wars Weekends debuts.

    Packages for this event are $250 per person and include a limited edition recruitment pack, featuring a custom messenger bag, cadet hat, tumbler, lanyard, pin & medal set. A meet & greet and product signing with Ashley Eckstein and Rebel activities, including special meet & greet and signing opportunities with characters and Disney artists are also included in the event.

    D-Tech Me Experience


    One of the more popular activities for Star Wars Weekends is returning again this year. The D-Tech Me experience is where guests can have their faces cast on a mold of a Star Wars figurine.
    This year, there will be four exciting options to choose from. They include the previous two versions: the Carbon-Freeze Me mold (similar to what happens to Han Solo in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back) and the Stormtrooper mold.  New for this year are molds of the Alderaan Princess and the X-Wing Pilot.

    The process works as follows: Guests take part in a 3D face scan, which will be sent to a 3D printer. Once created, the figurine will be mailed to guests approximately 7-8 weeks later. 

    Guests can purchase either a 7-inch figurine for $99.95 (plus tax and shipping) or a new 16-inch figurine for $1,499.95 (plus tax and shipping.)

    Guests who have completed the process last year will also be able to take the previous face scan and add it to a different figurine, if they choose.

    To book your experience, call (407) WDW-TECH. A credit card number will be required to hold the reservation, and cancellation fees may apply. 

    The D-Tech Experience is located inside Darth's Mall.

    Star Wars Weekends Character Meals

    New for this year are two Star Wars themed character meals.  These are a long time coming and are welcome additions.  The meals will take place daily (not just during Star Wars Weekends) from May 16 - June 15.   Make sure to book your reservation for these meals by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

    Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast - Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

    This meal will take place from  8:00 a.m. to noon. Guests may meet Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader. Best of all, it appears that instead of showing classic sci-fi movie clips, the theater will show Star Wars clips, including trailers, music, and other clips! Pricing is $47.99 for adults ages 10 and up and $29.99 for children ages 3-9. The Disney Dining Plan is available and it will cost two table service credits.  This meal also includes a digital photo of your party with Darth Vader on a commemorative PhotoPass card.

    The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine - Hollywood and Vine

    This dinner will have guests meeting Disney characters dressed as their favorite Star Wars character. Guests will get to meet Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald, and Ewoks Chip & Dale. Dinner starts at 4:15pm and lasts until park close. Prices are $55.99 for adults ages 10 and up (or $59.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package), and $33.99 for children ages 3-9 (or $36.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package). For guests on the Disney Dining Plan, this meal will use two table service credits.  Guests will receive a digital download copy of their photograph with Ewok Chip and Dale on a commemorative PhotoPass card.

    Fun Star Wars Treats

    Yummy treats are always a part of Star Wars Weekends, with specialty items being offered featuring characters like R2-D2, Yoda, and Darth Vader.  Take your pick and choose your side.  

    • Look for Star Wars-themed treats throughout the park, which are offered in souvenir Star Wars snack buckets.  This year I've seen Stormtrooper mugs and Darth Vader buckets.
    • Also be on the lookout for The Darth Vader cupcake. A rich chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache with Darth Vader made from chocolate topping the delight. You’ll find the treat at Darth's Mall, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, Studio Catering Co, Pizza Planet, and Starting Rolls. I tried it recently and it is delicious! 
    • New for 2014, you can also pick up a Yoda Cupcake at Backlot Express Starring Rolls and Darth Mall.
    • Kids Power Packs in R2-D2 buckets are typically available at Sunset Ranch Market, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company and ABC Commissary. 
    • Temporary bars are located outside Animation Courtyard, Sci-Fi Dine-in, 50′s Prime Time Cafe, and Mama Melrose that sell special Star Wars themed drinks. Non-alcoholic versions are also available.

    Other Star Wars Weekends Fun

    These events happen all the time, however, they are extra special to experience during Star Wars Weekends.  Keep in mind that because it is Star Wars Weekends, these experiences do tend to see more action. 

    Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

    Experience out-of-this-world destinations, all in 3D. You never know which journey you'll get!

    Jedi Training Academy

    This event started as only a Star Wars Weekends event, but became so popular, that it now takes place daily.  However, there is something special about seeing it during Star Wars Weekends.  During this stage show, Jedi hopefuls (children ages 4-12) learn the ways of the Force before coming face to face with Darth Vader to test their skills with a lightsaber. 

    Guests must sign up ahead of time at the sign up location in front of Indiana Jones Epic Theater.  In order to get a chance to appear on stage, sign up at park opening to secure your spot. Spots go quickly.  Both parent (or adult over 18) and child must be present when signing up. Availability is limited and on a first-com basis.

    The Jedi Training Academy takes place on the Star Tours Stage, found right next to Star Tours.


    Here are some additional fun tidbits to keep in mind for this year's Star Wars Weekends: 
    Dress up! Both children and adults are frequently seen in Star Wars costumes during this event. If you don't have your own Star Wars gear, pick up Star Wars custom items which are available for purchase at the event. In addition, there is also usually a face painting station that offers Star Wars designs located in the Star Tours area.

    Also, be on the look out for Star Wars themed gift cards available, featuring Disney characters as Star Wars characters.

Star Wars Weekends is always a great experience.  There parks have a fun, party atmosphere almost.  The air feels electric!  

What do you look forward to with Star Wars Weekends?  Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page.  

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