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Star Wars Weekends 2009

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Guide Map - Very large file

Star Wars Weekend Tips

Additional Star Wars Weekend Information


I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios today to check out the opening of Star Wars Weekends. I arrived at 8:30am and the lines to get into the park were already long. This picture was taken five minutes later. I was standing at the ticket booths and as you can see, the lines extend all the way to the security check point.


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To keep the crowd entertained, Storm Troopers were on hand taunting and threatening us.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


While waiting for the park to open, I struck up a conversation with some folks in line. I learned that if you want an autograph and/or photo opportunity with the “celebrity of the day,” you need a FastPass. These are handed out on a first come, first issued basis at the far right side of the ticket booths (outside the park) starting at around 8:15am. The people I was speaking with told me they were in the FastPass line at 5:30am and they were definitely not the first to arrive.

A limited number of these “celebrity” FastPasses are available, but if you’re lucky enough to secure one, you’re guaranteed the opportunity to see your favorite Star Wars hero. Just show up at the designated location during your 15 minute window. After all of the initial FastPasses have been distributed, a limited number of Stand-by FastPasses will be handed out. However, these “secondary” tickets do not guarantee you an autograph or photo session – but it’s worth a try.


Celebrity FastPass Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


The celebrity of the day will autograph their photograph and any merchandise you bring with you. A number of people brought in posters to be signed.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Also handed out early in the morning outside the park are color coded wrist bands. These allow shoppers priority entrance into Wicket’s Warehouse where you can buy limited edition and collectable Star Wars merchandise.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Located through out the park are various Star Wars character meet-and-greet locations. Unlike the celebrity sessions, you do not need a FastPass for these photo ops. But be warned, within minutes of the park opening, every one of these venues had a long line.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Star Wars T-shirts are seen everywhere and some folks pull out all the stops and dressed to the nines.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Here is yours truly as a Storm Trooper. Not to menacing, am I?


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Always a favorite, but especially during Star Wars Weekend, is the Jedi Training Academy. Here kids can find out if they have what it takes to become a Jedi Warrior. Children are selected at random and it’s best to arrive early (at least 30 minutes during Star Wars Weekend) if you want your little one selected.


Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Weekend 2009 Disney's Hollywood Studios


Some of the other activities include the “Padawan Mind Challenge.” Here, Younglings use their “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” knowledge to pass the trivia trials and become an official Padawan learner. This event is for children 11 and under and registration begins at the Star Wars Information Desk beginning at 9am.

At the Premiere Theater you can see host Ashley Eckstein in “Clone Wars: Behind the Force” – a show that explores the excitement of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” with a fascinating look behind the scenes led by the voice behind “Ahsoka” and other guest celebrities.


Since this blog is all about Star Wars, I thought I’d share some Star Tours trivia with you.

When you enter the building, the queue makes a switchback or backwards “S.” You know why?


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Because this section of the queue was loosely based on the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland in California.

But do you know why the queue follows this configuration at Disneyland?

It’s because the Disneyland building originally housed Adventures Thru Inner Space. When the attraction was retired to make room for Star Tours, there was no reason to rip out this perfectly good walkway so the Imagineers just did some retooling with the props that surrounded it.


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And while were on the subject of Adventures Thru Inner Space, did you know you can see a section of the Mighty Microscope from that attraction on Star Tours?


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When Disney replaces an older ride with a new attraction, they try to leave some sort of legacy behind. In other words, gone, but not forgotten. For example, in the Winnie the Pooh attraction at Walt Disney World, there is a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to the property to Owl. And at Mission: Space in Epcot, the old Horizon logo can be seen on the rotating space station in the queue area. The same is true for Star Tours. This attraction pays homage to Adventures Thru Inner Space. Here’s what to look for:

As you begin your Star Tours adventure, you unexpectedly take a wrong turn. Then your vehicle drops off the edge of a platform and plunges downward. As Captain Rex regains control of the craft, he pulls you out of your freefall. At that moment, if you look to the right-hand side of the screen, you can see the Mighty Microscope. You must look quickly, but once you know what you’re looking for, there is no mistaking it.


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And here’s a bit of personal trivia for you. I went to school with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) in Yokohama, Japan. We were even in a school play together. It’s not a very good picture, but I’m on the left and Mark is on the right.


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Star Wars Weekend is very popular. If you’re visiting Disney World over the next several weeks and you’re a Star Wars fan, then you should definitely visit Disney's Hollywood Studios during one of these days. But if you’re not a Star Wars fan, visit other parks on the weekend and save the Studio for a Monday through Thursday.

May the force be with you.

The previous post in this blog was SeaWorld – Manta.

The next post in this blog is Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs.

Comments (16)

Kuleen Lashley:

When we were at Star Wars weekend in 2008, we had trouble finding where to get pictures with the Disney characters in their Star Wars outfits. Their location is not marked on the map like the locations of where to find the "good guys" and the "bad guys".

Do you have any hints on where to find the Disney character?

Jack's Answer:

Good news. Some of the character locations are on the map again this year. Check the front page of our website under the Star Wars banner for a link to the map.

However, Jedi Mickey, Princess Lea Minnie, Darth Goofy & Storm Trooper Donald are not listed. These character can be found to the left of the Hat just to the right side of the
ABC Commissary.

Vanessa:

We are a family of several Star Wars fans. When we booked our family gathering starting June 14th we thought we would have a full weekend of Star Wars based on 2008 schedule but unfortunately we had to book prior to the announcement of the Star Wars Weekends for 2009 and now find ourselves arriving on the last day.
By the time our flight arrives we probably won't be to the park until around noon on the last day. Do you thing there will be anything that we can participate in at that time? I know we won't be in time for Autographs but do you think there will be a chance at the Padawan Mind Challenge or Jedi Training for the kids?
Any advise would be helpful as this will be our only "half day" at Star Wars weekends and we want to make the most of it.

Jack's Answer:

There will be a number of things you can still participate in during the afternoon.

On the day I attended, the Padawan Mind Challenge took place at 11am and 5:45pm. However, you need to register for this event so make sure you do it first thing after you arrive.

Also on the day I visited events were taking place at the Premier Theater at 3:35pm and 5:30pm.

You are right, the autograph FastPasses will all be distributed by the time you get there, but the way the celebrity booth is arranged, you can still see the star up close. I didn't have a FastPass and took good pictures of Jay Laga'aia (see the blog).

Star Wars shopping will still be available, but I suspect all of the limited merchandise will be gone. But there will be other collectables available.

Star Wars character meet-and-greet will continue until the park closes.

And the Jedi Training Academy had a number of afternoon and evening sessions.

I think you'll still be able to have some Star Wars fun on the last day.

PATRICK :

Concerning the merchandise... can anyone get the bracelet? and how do they handle this? Is the location in the same place as last year?

Jack's Answer:

Anyone can get the bracelet and it is handed out at the same spot as the Autograph FastPasses -- to the far right hand side of the Ticket Booths. These are also handed out on a first come, first issued basis. I have no idea how many are available.

Jennifer:

Hi Jack, Interesting to hear you went to high school with Mark Hamill while you were in Japan. I went to YoHi for just one year and had heard that he went there. We were stationed in Yokohama from '76-'79. Small world, isn't it?

Mike:

I was at Star Wars the Weekend yesterday (5/23/09). People, I am begging you to stay for the end of the day for the Star Wars Hoopla. It is a great time. It is where they have the training academy. It is worth the wait.

Laura:

Hi,
The fastpasses are outside the park? Does this mean if you don't get a fastpass then you can leave and go to another park?

We're got 3 days left on our disney tickets and are going to 2 star wars weekends. I don't want to "waste" a 2nd day at HS if we don't get the fastpass

Jack's Answer:

I just want to make sure you understand. The FastPasses I'm referring to are for meeting the "Celebrity of the Day" ONLY. These can be picked up outside the entrance gate at the far right hand side of the ticket booths.

FastPasses for Tower of Terror, Rock 'N' Roller Coaster, et al are still handled as usual -- inside the park.

When you arrive at the front gate of Disney's Hollywood Studios, you will be able to determine quickly if the FastPasses have all been distributed.

Brenda:

With the Fast Pass machines for the celebrities outside of the Hollywood Studios gate, when do they start passing them out? This is new for me. We have only been to Star Wars Weekends once in 2007 and they had the Fast Pass machines by Indiana and we entered the park just before it openned at 9 am to start getting our Fast Passes. It is important that we get the Fast Passes this year so I really want to know how to do this before we arrive.

Jack's Answer:

I was told by someone else (so I can't confirm this) that Disney started distributing the "celebrity" FastPasses at around 8:15am. However, these same people told me that they were in line at 5:30am.

The person asking about the meet location of the Disney Star Wars characters (Jedi Mickey, Princess Lea Minnie, Darth Goofy & Storm Trooper Donald) is right... this character location is not included on the map. These characters meet to the left of the Hat just to the right side of the ABC Commissary.

K.:

Our family will be at Disney this upcoming week for 5 days. My question: Is it so crowded at the Studios during this event that we will not be able to cover all the major attractions at the Studios in one day, which is our goal? My 4 boys are huge Star Wars fans, but I would only be interested in seeing some of the characters floating around and the parade. I will not waste the time signing autographs or taking photos. I would be disappointed if we cannot ride the regular attractions and miss a lot due to heavy crowds and long lines. And I definitely want to take the kids to Star Tours. Will the regular Fastpasses be gone as well? If so, maybe I should choose another day for this park. Thanks for your input to make our trip the best possible!

Jack's Answer:

If you're boys are Star Wars fans, then go to the Studio on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It will be busy, but you should still be able to enjoy most (if not all) of your favorite attractions.

My advice, arrive early -- at opening if possible. From what I understand, Toy Story Mania FastPasses are gone within a couple of hours even on non-Star Wars days.

You mentioned you were interested in seeing the Star Wars Characters "floating around." This doesn't happen. Any of the "official" characters are in specific locations with long lines to meet and photograph them.

Brenda S:

So to get a Fastpass for celebrity autographs is to the right of the ticket booths, right? My main question is can my husband and kids stand in line at the ticket booth and I get in line for a fast pass?

Jack's Answer:


Sorry, I really don't know on what basis the celebrity FPs are distributed. It may be that one individual can pick them up for the entire group, but it could also be one FP per person in line. You'll have to ask when you get there.

If someone else knows the answer, please write and I'll post it.

SorcererBeth:

I know I read somewhere (sorry, I don't recall where) that the autograph FastPasses are one pass per person -- so everyone in your party must stand in line if they want an autograph FastPass. I don't have personal experience of this, but I definitely recall reading it somewhere.

Kim Kenny:

THis is great information. My kids are so excited. What is the best time to get there to avoid the long lines? We are not in a hurry and have several days here. Do they limit the number of people they let in the park these days?

Jack's Answer:

We're coming into summer season. Lines are going to be long every day for the next several months. This is my standard advice. If you want to go on the rides with as little wait as possible, BE AT THE PARK WHEN IT OPENS. If a park opens at 9am, that doesn't mean you should be parking your car at 9am. It means you should be AT the turnstiles.

You say you're not in a hurry as you have several days. Then try this approach. Arrive at opening, ride as many attractions as you can until lunch. Have a leisurely meal at the park, then go back to your hotel for a nap and a swim (given that you're lodging at Disney or somewhere else nearby). Then return to a park in the evening.

Disney always monitors the number of people in their parks as each has a capacity. But except for a few weeks each year, you don't need to worry about this. Except for holiday weeks, you should have no trouble gaining entrance. But once again, my rule stands firm. If you're at a park when it opens, you're going to get in regardless how busy it gets later in the day.

kim kenny:

Do you know what time the parade is?

Jack's Answer:

Allears maintains park hours and parade times at the following link:

http://allears.net/tp/ohours.htm

Colin Christenson:

I love Star Wars! I think it is awesome to have a Star Wars weekend!

sebas:

Do u by anychance have the schedule for the star wars parade or any other events . If u can please email that way i can plan ahead thanks

Jack's Answer:

Sorry, I do not have the schedule any of the Star Wars events. But I really don't think you'll have a problem. If memory serves, if you're there by 11:30am, you should be okay. Most "one-time" events started after this time and the others repeated several times during the day.

Dawn:

Hi, is there anywhere to purchase Star Wars Weekend merchandise after visiting there? I was rushed out and missed the shopping experience an devastated!

Jack's Answer:

Often, special event merchandise is sold at Disney World stores located in the discount malls.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 22, 2009 2:11 PM.

The previous post in this blog was SeaWorld – Manta.

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