Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Lisa Fritscher October 17, 2010 1 Comment

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Storm Troopers Star Wars Weekends Disney World

Storm Troopers menace the crowd from above the front gates

Every year in May and June, thousands of Star Wars fans descend on Walt Disney World Florida for a spectacular party as only Disney can throw. Begun in 1997 and held annually since 2003, Star Wars Weekends provides an immersive look at one of the most popular film franchises of all time. The morning begins with Storm Troopers on the roof overlooking the front gates, commenting and interacting with the crowd. A full schedule of Star Wars events will keep you busy, and almost all regular park attractions are also open. Star Wars Weekends activities are included with regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Behind the Scenes Talks 

Star Wars Weekends Celebrities Disney World Florida

Join Star Wars celebrities for behind-the-scenes discussions

Celebrity guests from the world of Star Wars are on hand each weekend to talk about their experiences. Each weekend generally features one actor and one technical guru, as well as the year’s host. Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) frequently hosts, although this sometimes changes. Past actors have included David Prowse (Darth Vader), Jake Lloyd (Young Anakin), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), among dozens of others. 

Star Wars Weekends Celebrities Disney World

Some talks focus on funny filming memories

Two or three talks are typically scheduled each day, covering topics ranging from funny on-set experiences to upcoming plans for the franchise. Storm Troopers entertain the crowd before the talk begins, and several audience members are chosen to ask questions. Very young kids could become restless during the hour-long sessions, but if your kids are fans, they are likely to be fascinated. 

Autograph Sessions 

Star Wars Weekends autograph Fast Passes

Line up early for autograph Fast Passes

Due to the crowds, there are no opportunities for autographs after the behind the scenes talks. Instead, autograph sessions are handled through Walt Disney World’s Fast Pass system. Each person in your party must present his admission ticket at the Fast Pass machine for the celebrity he wants to see; it is not possible for one person to gather Fast Passes for a group. Disability passes and other Fast Pass alternatives are NOT valid for autograph sessions. You must have an actual Fast Pass for that session. 

Fast Passes are free but strictly limited in number. After all Fast Passes are distributed, stand by passes may be available. Stand by ticket holders may be allowed to obtain an autograph if there is time left in the session after all Fast Pass holders are finished, but a stand by ticket does NOT guarantee an autograph. 

Lines start forming in the wee hours of the morning, but we have always arrived about an hour before the park opens. Crowds are routed in different directions each year, so ask the crowd control employees which line to get in for Fast Passes for your chosen celebrity. 

*Tip* Fast Passes for actors almost always sell out before those for technical specialists. If you want to meet both, get in the line for the actor first and then run around to join the line for the technical personnel. 

Trivia Games 

Star Wars Weekends Trivia Games Disney World

Trivia games are open to those with all levels of Star Wars knowledge

Star Wars Weekends offer separate trivia events for adults and kids, allowing everyone to play on a level playing field. There is generally an event information desk located near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, with a sign-up sheet for each game. Sign up early, as attendance is limited. Questions could theoretically be drawn from any aspect of the Star Wars universe, but in practice, most questions are drawn from the six films. You do not need to be a Star Wars expert to enjoy the games. 

Jedi Training 

Star Wars Weekends Lightsaber Jedi Training Academy

Your kids can learn to wield a lightsaber at the Jedi Training Academy

Although the Jedi Training Academy now takes place year-round, it is especially enjoyable during Star Wars Weekends. In the Training Academy, children are selected from the audience to learn a simple light saber routine, which they then use to battle Darth Vader or Darth Maul. Kids are invited onstage and loaned official Jedi robes and lightsabers, creating a wonderful photo opportunity for parents. 

Star Wars Weekends battle Darth Vader or Darth Maul

Young Padawans battle Darth Vader or Darth Maul

There is no good way to ensure that your child is selected. Stand as close to the stage as possible, and have the child jump up and down, wave her arms and make lots of excited noise. Some parents claim that wearing a Star Wars costume, or at least a T-shirt, may help, but there is no proof of this. If your child is not initially selected, try returning later in the day. Sometimes the Jedi Masters remember kids who were not chosen earlier and make a special effort to include them later. 

Parade 

Star Wars Weekends R2D2 Walt Disney World Florida

R2D2 is one of many popular characters in the daily Star Wars parade

The Star Wars parade is a highlight of the event. It takes place once per day in the afternoon, and features that weekend’s celebrity guests along with the Disney characters in full Star Wars regalia. Popular characters from the movies are on hand including Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3P0. In addition, major reenactment groups are invited to participate, adding dozens of Storm Troopers or members of the Rebel Alliance to the proceedings. 

Star Tours 

Star Wars Weekends Star Tours Walt Disney World Florida

Take a spin on Star Tours if the line is not too long

Star Tours is a permanent attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The motion simulator ride puts guests in the center of the films’ epic events. The ride is always worthwhile, but like the Jedi Training Academy, the attraction takes on a special significance during Star Wars Weekends. Expect long lines and huge crowds. Star Wars characters generally make special appearances near the ride, adding to the crowded feeling. 

Star Tours is currently undergoing an extensive rehab and will open in 2011 with an entirely updated experience. The height requirement for the previous version was 40 inches, but it has not yet been announced whether the new ride will keep the same requirement. 

Merchandise 

Star Wars Weekends Merchandise Walt Disney World Florida

Look for limited edition Star Wars merchandise

Each year brings entirely new merchandise releases, as well as the return of some perennial favorites. T-shirts, posters and costumes are readily available at major merchandise outlets throughout the park. However, extremely limited edition items are also released each year. Past limited edition pieces have included artwork, coins and pins. Limited edition merchandise sells out very quickly, so if you have your eye on something specific, head straight for the official merchandise location. In past years, limited edition pieces were sold at Tattooine Traders, at the exit to Star Tours. However, massive crowding led event organizers to move merchandising to an unused soundstage on the back lot. Ask for directions as your enter the park. 

Hyperspace Hoopla 

Hyperspace Hoopla Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Resort

Dance with Chewbacca and friends at the Hyperspace Hoopla

The Hyperspace Hoopla is the closing show for each day of Star Wars Weekends. An interactive dance party and stage show featuring dozens of Star Wars characters, the Hoopla is great fun for all ages. Keep your cameras ready, as characters come out into the audience to dance and interact with guests. The Hoopla typically occurs between 4:30 and 5:00 pm, signifying the end of that day’s Star Wars events. The park is generally open for a few more hours, allowing you to take in the regular rides and shows.

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avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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One Comments to “Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios”
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