Star Wars Weekends Episode II: Celebrate the Love

Welcome to May 22-24, the second of five wonderful Star Wars Weekends! This was a pretty special weekend for us. Not only was it a weekend that featured the likes of Warwick Davis, Silas Carson, and Vanessa Marshall, but it was also our anniversary.

We were fortunate to stay at the Swan and Dolphin resort hotel on Disney’s Boardwalk area. Nestled between Hollywood Studios and Epcot, it’s a perfect location with the perfect price point. Because it’s not technically a Disney hotel, it comes in much cheaper than the majority of the park-owned properties but still maintains all of the perks and quality you’d come to expect from a stay at the Walt Disney World Resort.

We checked in Friday night after work, so we didn’t have time to slip into Hollywood Studios for the first day of Weekends festivities. What we were fortunate to do, however, was have dinner with author Jason Fry and his son at The Flying Fish. If you needed another incentive to go to Star Wars Weekends, authors like Jason are frequently at The Writer’s Stop signing books.

Saturday morning kicked off the fun for us. Getting there early, we snagged fast passes to get autographs with Ashley Eckstein. More on that later! Once in the park, we made a b-line for Toy Story Midway Mania. If you want to ride that and don’t have a passpass, you’ll want to get there early and do that first thing. Afterwards, we went to see some of our favorite characters, the Chipwoks. If you’re at Weekends, you’re definitely missing out if you don’t go to see them, because I guarantee it will be the most delightful experience you have. Then it was a quick ride on Star Tours.

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From there, it was a long wait in the summer heat to see the Stars of the Saga Motorcade parade. It probably comes as no surprise, but the guests that come out to Star Wars Weekends know how to ham it up for the camera. Afterwards, it was off to the Writer’s Stop.

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Like I mentioned, authors are often in attendance at Star Wars Weekends to sign books. This week, Jason Fry was here and the Writer’s Stop was selling copies of some of his reference books. Of course, the authors will sign more than that. We brought our copies of The Jupiter Pirates, and Jason was kind enough to sign them and even put in some sketches of Artoo and the Falcon.

Once we had finished there, we were off to the former home of the American Idol Experience (Why anyone thought that was a good synergistic fit for Disney is beyond me, but that’s another story) to chat with Ashley Eckstein. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, let’s just say she is as kind and lovely as you could ever hope. After seeing we were celebrating our anniversary, she made sure to grab a black and white print to sign and wish us well.

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After that, it was time to head back to the hotel for a swim and a siesta. Trust me, it’s a good idea to take a break mid-day to get out of the heat out here. Dinner that evening was a once-in-a-blue-moon trip to the Yachtsman, home to some of the tastiest steak you will ever have.

Post dinner, it was back to Studios to finish off the night with Symphony in the Stars. John Williams and fireworks? It’s like peanut butter and chocolate. Two things that are meant to be together.

Sunday was off to a later start. Because of that, once were in Studios we went straight to get a spot for the parade. Today was special because our good friend Savanna was marching as a shadow trooper in the 501st. Afterwards we rode Star Tours and then dropped by the Writer’s Stop again to say goodbye to Jason Fry and to thank him for being there this weekend.

Afternoon brought along the Rebels show, in which Vanessa Marshall (Hera herself!) was the guest of honor. There was some great insight into Hera’s character and a bit of what to expect in season two. Afterwards, it was out of the theater and back in line for Stars of the Saga. This week, it was Silas Carson and Warwick Davis as the featured guests. Folks, if you’re here this weekend, you’re in for a treat. Warwick Davis is here for the third weekend as well, and he is a blast to see on stage.

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After the shows, it was a trip to Darth’s Maul to look at various merchandise and then a ride of Tower of Terror. Once we had thoroughly terrified ourselves, it was off to the Rebel Hangar for dinner. On the menu this time? The Darth Vader chicken and waffles, the Cheese and Fruit Sabers, and the fries. Yes, it was tasty.

Once again, we wrapped up the night with Symphony in the Stars, because you just can’t get enough Star Wars music and fireworks.

While Monday morning meant check out and no Star Wars, we were fortunate to have time to head over to Epcot for a meal and one of our favorite attractions there, Impressions de France.

Week two? A tremendous success and a blast. Stay tuned for more coverage as we head into week three!

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