Before we even got to the front gate I was chasing down these two sisters to get a photo:
(That's their parents smiling in the background.) I love that you're just as likely to see a girl toting a play sword or blaster as a tiara these days at the parks - or even all three together. ;)
And check out these girls' fabulous fascinators!
They even dressed to match!
We hung out in the gift shops for a while while we waited to meet up with Martha, a long-time reader from Canada. If you follow me on Twitter, then there's your explanation for all my wacky merchandise tweets:
Here's one I didn't post, though:
I actually love these Angry Birds foam balls, but they were like $15 each. YEESH. Ah, Disney pricing...
Once we met up with Martha, we moved on to the day's big attraction:
This momma and her babies were pacing back and forth on a raised planter:
What's that? I'm supposed to be looking at Star Wars stuff? Oh. Ok. Here, have a Chipmunk Ewok:
The lines for photos with the characters were pretty crazy, as were the crowds jostling around, so I couldn't get the characters by themselves. Instead, enjoy these photos of random children alongside them. :D
same guy every year, I believe, and he is incredibly intense - spot on perfect, whipping around into different poses like he can't even feel the 90 degree heat. So that girl's finger point and grin cracked. me. up.
(Did I mention it was like surface-of-the-sun hot? Why can't they host these things in February?)
Not long into the day I spotted a tweet from another reader named Jennifer at the park, and convinced her to come say hi. We ended up hanging out with her family and Martha for the next few hours, which was super fun.
Jennifer's daughter Emily was sporting a Jedi robe her dad Jeff had made (go, Dad!) and she was a real (storm?) trooper when it came to facing down the dreaded Tusken Raider photo op:
Whatever you do, don't look beside you.
This backlot area is where the characters definitely have the most fun, playing with the crowds and doing their best to freak people out.
Here's a shot of Emily's dad Jeff playing a game of mirror, mirror with the same Raider, who took it upon himself to stalk our group for a little ways:
Next he went after Jennifer, poor thing, while John looked on:
Such a Casanova.
I'm pretty sure these walk-around characters have been told to get in your face at every opportunity, because that seems to be their go-to tactic. It's either funny or terrifying, depending on your disposition, and I found having a camera in front of my face was both a shield and a target.
Here's Aurra Sing closing in on me:
She locked eyes on the camera and then slowly stalked off to the side:
Next I spotted my perennial favorite, Zam Wessel, walking by:
I caught her mid-stride giving me some serious side-eye.
I chased her down and asked for a photo of just her, which of course is like volunteering to be messed with. She let me snap one quick photo:
And then started closing in:
She got closer, and closer, until:
This photo isn't cropped, and I didn't use a zoom. In fact, her nose was practically touching my lens, something I didn't realize until I went to move and stumbled into her - and then realized everyone around was laughing. No complaints, though; these shots were my favorite to play with in Photoshop.
We wrapped things up at the Darth Mall, aka a Star Wars fan's shopping heaven. New this year is a 3D printing service that puts your head on a Storm Trooper's body:
It's about a hundred dollars plus shipping, and they ship it to you about two months later.
They also had Roxy the Rancor there for photos, which some of you may remember from MegaCon and Star Wars Celebration:
Donald seemed to be the stand-out character this year in merchandising, which was great for me; after classic Mickey, Donald is my favorite of the Fab Five:
Talk about the perfect set: Donald's butt frozen in Carbonite, and Donald as Boba Fett!
The art area is filled with fantastic original Star Wars and mash-up art:
The registers are overseen by Darth Donald:
And some fun Jawa set ups:
I managed to resist the siren call of most of the goodies, but I did cave on this deck of 3-D/lenticular playing cards:
Here's a close-up of Vader's card:
We ended the day with the Hyperspace Hoopla, which is always a toe-tapping spectacle of goofy fun. People get in place for the show two to three hours ahead of time, though, so unless you're willing to wait that long you're not getting a great spot. I caught glimpses of it through a forest of trees and kids-on-shoulders, but I saw enough to still enjoy it. The show seems to be getting longer each year, too, since this one clocked in at over 35 minutes.
Here's a snippet from Inside the Magic that includes one of my favorite bits:
They used to play Robot Rock at our local skating rink when I was a kid, and I've loved it ever since - so that was a fun surprise. (And I love the controller DJ. Ha!) The only other bit that really made me hoot and holler, though, was the surprise finale - because I am just that much of a Dizgeek. :)
Head over to Inside the Magic to watch the entire show, or Ricky's also got it separated into clips if you just want to watch bits and pieces.
If you're in the area, definitely come check out the Weekends if you can! They run for the next three weeks, and there are plenty of shows and events (like the parade!) that we didn't catch this time.
Oh, and this coming Friday is also the 24-hour Disney Day at the Magic Kingdom, so if you're going to that and want to meet up, let me know! I've heard from two or three people already, so it might be fun to have a little Epbot party - maybe we can all grab a Citrus Swirl together!