Star Wars Weekends (SWW) began in 1997. However, the SWW did not become a regular, annual event until 2003. Since then, each year has had exclusive merchandise and a logo, a motorcade and other events. The Weekends feature celebrity guests who are on hand to sign autographs (FastPasses are a MUST if you want an autograph... more on this later), participate in a motorcade and be part of an interview session. Since the Clone Wars series started, there is now a Behind the Force show where the voice talents of the Clone Wars discuss the show and demonstrate how the scenes are acted out.
This year for SWW, Jedi Training Academy is performed much more often during the day. Numerous shows have been added to the schedule.
SWW 2011 began on Friday, May 20. Most of my day was spent on the Star Tours events on the 20th. I caught the opening ceremony (see Deb Koma's pictures here), rode Star Tours a few times (it's just as awesome the 20th time as it is/was the first) and a few other things and then the heat ran me out of the park. The event got started much later in the day because of the opening ceremony and by the time everything was underway, I was done for the day.
On Saturday the 21st, I got to the Studios just before park opening. There is an information booth set up just inside the main gate.
The stage was still set up for use for the Hyperspace Hoopla each evening during SWW.
There was a sign near the tip board pointing the way to the SWW store, appropriately called Jabba's Hutt.
To get to the store, go to the Rock 'N Roller Coaster courtyard and keep right. There is a gate open and the store is behind that gate. You'll have a fantastic view of Tower of Terror and the store is in the big white tent. It's very spacious and air conditioned. As of 8 AM Saturday, the only thing that was sold out was the opening day Star Tours pin.
Artist Signing Station
Star Tours shirts
Luke and/or Leia meet-and-greet
Unframed, boxed pin set. This has the completer pin in it.
Framed pin set
Travel poster pin set
Star Tours opening day t-shirt
Stitch as Yoda
Star Wars Mimbots
Silver poster card
Olszewski Gallery of Lights Box - Star Wars Mickey and Donald
Paper art poster
Since the store is called Jabba's Hutt, it is only fitting that Salacious Crumb and Boba Fett keep watch over things.
Outside the store, this stand has been set up.
We loved this kid's costume.
Banners were set up around the Star Tours area.
Directional signs were out around the park to show guests where they could meet their favorite characters.
Queen Amidala's backdrop was lovely.
FastPasses are currently being distributed outside the main gate. When you approach the main gate, look to the right, near the big sign (it currently has the Star Tours logo on it). The queues begin in that area. All theme park tickets are being scanned prior to a FastPass being handed to the guest. They are also handing out wristbands with the FastPasses. You *cannot* receive an autograph without a wristband AND a FastPass. Each member of your party must be present to receive the wristband and FastPass.
Anthony Daniels' autograph station is inside Sounds Dangerous. Only the FastPass holder is permitted inside. The Cast Members inside will use your camera to take a photo of you and Anthony.
Sunshades were up on Streets of America and a queue was in place for Star Tours if they needed it. The queue also extended to the San Francisco portion of the street. The sunshades were very effective. They used this queue on Friday but I don't know if they did on Saturday.
The rest of the autograph stations are at the Lights, Motors Action! end of Streets of America. Daniel Logan was very popular.
James Arnold Taylor is very friendly.
Just around the corner, near San Francisco, Anakin was greeting guests. Jedi Masters Mace Windu, Shaak Ti and Kit Fisto also greet guests at this location.
My friends and I caught the Behind the Force show. Host James Arnold Taylor introduced Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano). She spoke to Supervising Director Dave Filoni about his work on the Clone Wars. They went through how a scene is created and did a voice demonstration. They also selected someone from the audience to try it out.
Asajj Ventress and other Clone Wars characters were greeting guests near the Premier Theater.
The Legends of the Force Motorcade is now happening at 12:40 PM. We were able to catch it near the beginning of the parade route.
James Arnold Taylor
The motorcade stopped at the hat and the characters and celebrities took the stage.
Boba Fett was greeting guests on Pixar Place when I went by.
Darth Vader was greeting guests near Studio Catering Company.
The booth was set up for Dave Filoni when we went by and we noticed this sign for the Disney Racers.
We saw the Stars of the Saga show at 3:15. Note that the schedule says 3:15 but the celebrities don't take the stage until 3:30.
The stormtroopers do a 15 minute pre-show. Their dialog was updated to include Star Tours. They were amusing, as always. This trooper and his Mickey ice cream bar was a crowd favorite.
The troopers had captured Chewbacca. Hopefully they know now that it's always wise to let the Wookiee win. :)
Host James Arnold Taylor introduced and interviewed the two guests, Daniel Logan and Anthony Daniels.
Unfortunately, the heat had gotten to me after Stars of the Saga and I didn't stay for Anthony Daniels' show or James Arnold Taylor's show. I hear that James Arnold Taylor's show is fantastic.
SWW is better than ever this year. I had a great time, especially because I was with family and friends.
May the Force be with you!
The previous post in this blog was D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt.
The next post in this blog is BOOK REVIEW: " From Screen to Theme " by Brent Dodge.