Sunday, May 19, 2013

Disney's Star Wars Weekends, 2013!

Star Wars Weekends just started out at Disney Hollywood Studios, so yesterday John and I braved the heat and crowds to go check it out!

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:

She kept jumping down from the planter and looking up at the ducklings expectantly, but they were all, "What, you crazy?" Then the momma duck looked at ME, but I was too busy taking videos of her with my phone. Eventually a lady walked up, scooped the ducklings up, set them down by the mom, and herded them all across the path to the lake side. I was both mildly horrified and horribly jealous.

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

This Darth Maul is the 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:

I guess the fans who created Roxy agreed to lend her to Disney for the event. Nice of them!

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:
Every card has a lenticular face - not just the face cards - and it comes in a metal tin. Not bad for $12! (And how appropriate that Jar Jar is the Joker...)

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!


  1. That video is adorable. Imagine the cajones one has to have to dress in a furry wookie suit in the Florida heat and dance like a madman! O_O Craziness!

  2. There are actually 2 Darth Mauls, one is very good with poses and expressions. We saw him work with people as we waited in line, then when we were the next people in line he left and another came out awhile later and he literally just stood there, we might as well have been standing next to a statue. (And we were all in full Star Wars regalia. I was dressed as a Sith.) Didn't pose or react to anything we did. It was so annoying because Maul has been my favorite character since I saw the prequels in the theater. I was very disappointed by our Maul but I'm glad you got to see the good one.

  3. I wish we could meet up for Monstrous Summer, the 24 hr day, but they have already announced they're not just blocking out our main gates, but our CM ID's as well. Oh well, have fun! We were at SWW on Friday, it took my husband 3 hrs to get into Darth's Mall, another hour through the line for the Limited Edition merch, and another hour to check out! Crazy!

  4. Chipmunk Ewoks!!! SQUEEEEEEEEE!
    Wish we were there with you, but thanks for the pics for those of us stuck at home. Looking forward to this year's 24 hour pics!

  5. I had somebody bring me a Darth Vader koosh: I wish I'd know about the Storm Trooper, would have loved a matching set. :) Still makes me laugh.

  6. Somedays, the internet shows me things that I never knew I needed until I saw them. Donald's butt frozen in carbonite is one of them.

    Speaking of Disney, though, I was browsing t-shirts online last night and saw one I thought you would like! Here's the link

  7. My husband and I went to Star Wars weekend for our 8th anniversary in 2010. I MUST GO BACK! But after that I quit my job and went back to school, and it's a long way from Alberta to Florida. :P But someday!!!

  8. I am highly bummed that I missed you. I work at Hollywood Studios and am currently on the team for Weekends. Any chance you'll be going again?

  9. I am so green with envy. After every one of you Disney posts I vow to get back there soon (last time I was there was 5 years ago for our honeymoon)! Until then I just have to live vicariously through your posts and amazing pictures. :)

  10. Random tip: Target has a very large selection of Angry Birds/Star Wars stuff... (at least out here in CA)

  11. The best thing about the extreme Zan close up, is you can tell she's smiling.
    Thanks for sharing all the fun pics! Those of us at home appreciate them!

  12. I second your wish about SWW being in Feb!!! Great pics as always.

  13. My daughter is a SUPER Star Wars geek. It makes her mommy proud that at 7 she is more excited about going to Disney for Star Wars than for all the Princesses! We will be at the Star Wars Sunday! She is going as Princess Darth Vader :) Purple giant Tutu included! If you are out there we would love to meet up!

  14. Great pics! That close-up of Zam is my favorite. If you go to SWW the weekend of May 31-June 2, I'll be the Admiral Daala in the parade. I'm SO excited!

  15. My husband and I are headed down there for our very first Star Wars Weekend the weekend after next. It'll be his first trip EVER to Disney World and it's been several years since I've been down there. This Tennessee girl is really looking forward to the trip!

  16. I'm going this year on June 2, first time since 2007. I can't wait.

  17. I was there with my fiancee on Sunday too! It was totally worth the insane heat. It was my first time seeing Hoopla in person, and that's going to be a permanent SWW thing now!

    If you're bored during the 24 hour day I'll be working 12 hours (6:15pm-6:15am) in the mainstreet area in photopass!

  18. I AM SO JEALOUS. Look how cute Chip is, omg. I have always wanted to go to Star Wars weekends. I will make it out there one day. Thanks for the pics!

  19. Is there anywhere else I can buy a Duck Maul? I MUST have him! Is there a website?

  20. I'm vaguely disappointed John didn't wear his Boba Fetch shirt ;) And realizing now how creepy that sounds, he was wearing it when you and he were in Reisterstown, Md for the 2nd Cake Wrecks tour. Looks like you guys had a blast and I'm totally jealous of your ability to attend the 24-hour day this Friday. Can't wait to see your pictures from that so I can live vicariously through your post.

  21. Have you seen this duckling video? I was actually on the edge of my seat watching them figure out how to get to their mother!

  22. We're arriving in Orlando on my birthday, June 17th so we'll miss all this. But we are going to be at Universal on opening day for the new Transformers ride! Yipee! And I have to buy me a Minion or two when I'm there...

  23. My husband and I will be at our very first Star Wars Weekend in June for Weekend IV! We are so excited to see everything and BUY ALL THE THINGS. Plus Billy Dee freaking Williams will be there, so we are psyched! Do you have any tips/info about getting celebrity autographs at SWW? I know you need a Fastpass but if you know anything else about the process we'd appreciate hearing it!

    And of course if you're going to be there for Weekend IV on Friday we'd love to see you!

    1. I've heard from many fans who go every year that the line for autograph fast passes begins very early, and most recommendations say to get there between 5 and 6 a.m. Yes, that's crazy early! I believe the line is just outside the main entrance. Good luck and may the Force be with you!

  24. So much awesomeness! Thanks for sharing! Guess this is one major reason to get me to go to DW, which I've avoided for years thanks to living in the shadow of DL. :)

  25. Rawr! Thanks for pointing fans to my Facebook page. A steady stream of foo---I mean FANS is what I like!

  26. As awesome as Star Trek is, I can't get over that awesome care bears t-shirt! I want one too.


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>