May 15-17 marked the first weekend of Walt Disney World’s annual Star Wars Weekends, held during five weekends in May and June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Given our love of both Star Wars and Disney World, our close proximity to the parks (about 10 minutes from our garage to the DHS parking lot), and our status as annual passholders, it’s a no-brainer that we spend at least some part of every weekend at the park.
This year Brian and I decided to take off work on Day 1 in order to kick off the festivities with a bang. Week 1 also marked the first ever appearance of Ian McDiarmid at Star Wars Weekends!
We’re not autograph hounds or collectible hunters, so we saw no reason to leave the house super early on Friday morning. We got to Hollywood Studios a little before 10 am and saw that our usual parade spot was blocked off for a premium package deal. We were not amused. The sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard (the parade route) were already full of people, so we decided to stake out the first spot we could find. We also met up with Riley from the Star Wars Report and hung out for a little while. It was great to see you, Riley!
The parade was awesome, as usual. Ian in particular seemed to enjoy electrocuting his adoring fans.
Afterwards we made our way to Darth’s Mall and spent way too much money, mostly on Her Universe products that were skipped over at Celebration. The rest of the afternoon was spent eating a Darth Vader cupcake, watching the Star Wars Rebels show, and another trip to Darth’s Mall. We also met up with our friends Amy and Thom, and it was tons of fun getting to hear about Amy’s experiences at her first Star Wars Weekends!
The best part about being a local is the ability to leave the parks early, knowing you don’t have to fit everything into one weekend. With that in mind we headed out early, eager to get in a good meal at one of our favorite restaurants and re-infuse our bodies with much needed calories. Standing in the sun for a couple of hours really zaps you of energy.
We got an earlier start on Saturday, and when we arrived in the park around 9:30 we saw that our parade spot was now open! Cue cheers and much excitement! I’m not sure what went down, but whoever was responsible for that spot opening up again, I’m forever in your debt. I love hanging out with all the locals and cheering for the 501st, Rebel Legion, and the celebrities. Plus, you get fantastic pictures there!
After the parade it was time to get in our first Chipwok meeting of Star Wars Weekends! Ewok Chip and Dale are my favorite character meets in all of Disney World, period. They are always so much fun.
We spent some more time in Darth’s Mall, had a scrumptious lunch of Darth Vader popcorn, and watched the Stars of the Saga show. Again we headed out early, because we are adults with chores to do around the house.
Sunday was our late day at the park. We got there just in time to see the Stars of the Saga show, and after that we met up with Savanna and Eric from Twin Suns Transmissions for a ittle bit. We had our first ride on Star Tours of the event, another trip into Darth’s Mall (and I am not allowed to go back in there for the entire event!), and then it was time for our dinner at the Rebel Hangar!
Disney transformed part of the Backlot Express restaurant into a Star Wars themed dining experience, and it was so much fun. All the food and drinks had Star Wars names, and we even had some characters pop in for a look around. (Note that the experience is not billed as a character meal, so don’t expect them; treat it as a nice surprise if it does happen.) Brian and I will be heading back next weekend, and I cannot wait!
Dinner ended just around 7, so we strolled back to the center of the park and spent some time in DJ Lobot’s dance party. We left the park around 8, way ahead of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks at 9:45, because again we are adults with responsibilities that include things like going to work on Monday morning. We’ll be back next weekend with plans to see both the stage show and the fireworks, so stay tuned!
Other than the heat and humidity, constant staples of a Floridian’s lifestyle, Star Wars Weekends got off to a fantastic start, and I cannot wait for more!
This Friday we’ll be attending the 24 hour event at Magic Kingdom, and then it’s back to Star Wars Weekends on Saturday and Sunday! Be sure to check our Twitter feed for real-time updates and pictures!