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Tips for securing celebrity autographs at Disney's Star Wars Weekends

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Last weekend's crowds again proved the popularity of Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World. And one of the biggest draws for park guests is the opportunity to meet Star Wars celebrities and get photos and autographs.

At many fan conventions, those privileges don't come cheap, let alone free. Consequently, guests line up early for the limited slots to meet their favorite Star Wars actors and personalities at Disney's Hollywood Studios. And when I say early, I mean before dawn.

Years ago, my young son wanted to meet Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker), so my husband and I tried to make it happen. We arrived at Disney's Hollywood Studios about 30 minutes before it opened. While Stormtroopers stood guard from atop the entrance, a small crowd waited for the turnstiles to open. When they did, guests raced back to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! to get FastPasses and ensure a spot to meet a celebrity.

The stampede among guests was so out of character for an event at Disney World, where organized queues are the company's specialty. Since that day, we’ve been to plenty of crowded passholder events through the years — including concerts featuring Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus — and none surprised us more than that experience.

Disney clearly has learned from those days and has implemented a FastPass system that doesn't involve putting on your track shoes. Guests are asked to line up along the right side of the main entrance to Hollywood Studios and the tickets are distributed to the queue. There is no need to rush past your neighbors when you get inside because you must have one of the tickets to receive a celebrity FastPass.

The published rules on the Star Wars Weekends map state that each guest may receive one FastPass -- and you have to be present to receive the special ticket. In other words, one person cannot get celebrity autograph FastPasses for everyone in his or her group. After all the FastPasses are distributed for the day, a limited number of stand-by tickets will be issued. These tickets do not guarantee autographs, but they are offered in case a celebrity has time after the FastPass holders have had their turns.

So, how early do you have to hit the concrete for the golden tickets? Several cast members I spoke with advised guests to be in line between 5 and 6 a.m. for the park opening at 8 a.m. Earlier is better, they emphasized. They recalled one guest who camped out 44 hours before the first day of Star Wars Weekends. That certainly guaranteed the guest a FastPass, but it's not necessary, they said.

Ray Park, who plays Darth Maul, was the most popular ticket for the first Star Wars Weekend this year, the cast members said. He was very personable and chatty, though, and only got to a few guests with stand-by tickets before he had to get to his presentation in the park.

If you've joined the fans waiting for celebrity autographs, we want to hear about your experience in the comments.


The previous post in this blog was Disney's Star Wars Weekends offer galaxy of fun for kids.

The next post in this blog is Be aware of changes at Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends.

Comments (4)

Hi Kristin,

So the tips are.......get there early?

Is that it?

Did I miss something?

Jeanette:

I went to Star Wars weekends last June.
This was my first time to try to get an autograph.
I didn't have a rental car so I had to wait for the disney bus at Port Orleans Riverside.
The bus didn't arrive at POR till 7:30am.
I thought no way will I be able to get a fast pass for an autograph now.
But I got to HS and got in line for Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and I got one! So exciting!
My autograph time wasn't until 4:45pm. But I was really happy I got it. I bought a photo of Chewbacca at the Star Wars warehouse and had Peter Mayhew sign it!
There was no wait time when I got there for the signing.
My son had gotten to HS at 6am for Ray Park.
His autograph time was at 12 noon. He had about a 30 min. wait.
And it was awesome getting into the park at 8am with just the other fast pass holders!
We walked right on to Rockn Roller coaster 3 times, on a Saturday at DW!

Penny Goebel:

This was our first year participating in SWW. We have attended before but were never interested in autographs or the special events(until this year!) We do lots of research and frequent message and tip boards frequently, but failed to hear of any stories quite like ours.

Here's how it went down for my hubby:
Arrived at HS at 5:30 am. Made friends with those in line with him. Got one of the last 3 wristbands handed out to those waiting that ensured he would get a fastpass. Waited. Got his fastpass(2:25 to meet Ray Park).

Something we failed to read or hear about at any time was the fact that it's not just the fastpass that is required to attend the designated autograph/meet with celebrities. My husband was turned away because he had removed the wristband they gave him in line earlier that morning.

When it was his designated time to line up for the autograph session he was told that because he did not have both the wristband and his fastpass he could not use the fastpass, but would have to wait in the standby line. After pleading his case to the cast member and her supervisor they were unwilling to make an exception because that had been "the rule" for years. (don't fret-some new friends, a married couple my hubby befriended in line created some Disney Magic and generously gifted him one of their spots/wristband/fastpass under the approval of the supervisor.)

The wristbands were very generic and he had removed it when he took a shower.

We did attend the 2nd weekend as well and noticed several of these wristband had DO NOT REMOVE marked on them so I assume we were not the only ones who had done so! Lol!

So...if you're a newbie: do not remove the wristband!

Jason:

Hrm. This makes it harder for people staying on Disney property to get these passes, as the busses don't run that early. That doesn't seem fair to people who travel large distances and don't rent a car or spend all that money on parking, etc.

Something Disney should take note of?

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The previous post in this blog was Disney's Star Wars Weekends offer galaxy of fun for kids.

The next post in this blog is Be aware of changes at Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends.

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