Saturday, June 7, 2014

Star Wars Weekends: Darth Mall Tour

Disney is hosting Star Wars Weekends over at Hollywood Studios right now, so John and I have been out a couple times to take in the sights. Extreme crowds and 90+ degree heat means we tend to only stay a few hours at a time, but it's well worth it to see Star Wars characters roaming the streets.

I'll probably have more character shots for you later, but first I thought I'd show off a little of Darth's Mall, the massive merchandise area with it's own ride-worthy queue just to get in the door.

The queue has some fun decorative areas like this, though, plus some super nifty virtual reality photo banners that interact with your smart phone. Of course, it took John and me the entire queue to figure out how to operate the app - and then to get it to work on our phones - so we'll have to try again next time.  >.<

Once you get through the doors, you're greeted with a massive, dimly lit warehouse that smells like old sneakers:

The grungy look fits the theme pretty well, though, and if you're patient you can navigate the sea of people without too much trouble.

In the middle you'll find tons of t-shirts, toys, and pins.

These are flashlights - their heads flip back to reveal the light. 

We'd seen almost everything before, but these flat-packed metal puzzle kits caught my eye:

They're thin metal sheets that you pop apart and assemble into miniature models. You could choose from R2D2, the Millenium Falcon, an AT-AT, and Vader's Tie Fighter. John and I got one each: R2 for me and the Fighter for John.

Here's the display model of R2:
 Pretty cool, right? Can't wait to put ours together!

On the one hand: yay for Vader costumes for girls! On the other hand:

Skintight tops and miniskirts? Ug.

This is why I love all the girls like Makenna here, who do their own thing:

I love it when guests dress up! I'll try to post a few more favorites later.

 Which reminds me: Ashley Eckstein's Her Universe had a big setup in the Mall again this year:

I like a lot of her designs, although that bedsheet reproduction dress is a flimsy stretch polyester; I'd much rather have one made from the real sheets. (Plus it's always weird to see products manufactured to look upcycled and/or handmade, isn't it?)

Love these R2 styles, though:

The art section is a lot smaller this year, sadly, but they still have some amazing pieces:

I think that levitating rock still-life was my favorite.

Inspiration for our next AT-AT rocker, perhaps?


And the only other items in the whole mall to tempt me: exclusive mini-prints & pins of concept art by Ralph McQuarrie:

They're only $20 each, but I've already seen some listed on ebay for double and even triple that. Yeesh. (Great, now I'm regretting not buying them!)

And for some much-needed shopping fuel, there's the Ackbar Snack Bar:

Ackbar the animatronic occasionally turns his head or drink from his "Stormtrooper Stein." (I recommend the Vader cupcake, btw, which is chocolate & peanut butter. NOMZ.)

Also along the walls is a character photo area, with yet another queue. It's always next to impossible to get a good photo of just the characters in-between guests, so mega props to Mickey & Minnie here AND my ever-patient John, who waited for ages to get this shot long after I'd given up.

Hope you guys enjoyed the mini shopping tour! And for you locals: Star Wars Weekends lasts through next weekend, ending on the 15th. Just remember to bring your sunblock!


  1. Oh, the medal models are awesome! I want one!

  2. My husband actually has the R2D2 metal model. It's not quite finished, but he's had a lot of fun working on it. It's like, 2 inches tall and adorable. We actually found ours in a local shop at the beach. They have models of other non-Star Wars stuff as well. Very cool.

  3. the metal models are awesome I just finished the AT AT one.. lemme tell ya it requires patience a lot of patience. as well as being VERY careful not to snap the pieces when you fold them.. I would recommend buying two at a time in case you do break a piece.. and the tabs and bend parts are TINY you need pliers and tweezers to put em together.. but, once done they look amazing

    1. I was going to give the same warning. I snapped one of the sides off my AT-AT because I bent it too far the first time, and then had to adjust it. It's now held on by a piece of duct tape (from the inside).

  4. Is the mall in one of the old soundstages? Trying to visualize where it is. :) Thanks for sharing all of these, it's fun to get some Disney on vicariously.

  5. We have those metal earth star wars models at A.C. Moore. I think they're a dollar cheaper too.

  6. I want to go to this so badly, but the heat would do me in, I think. I keep going back to that Boba Fett print that looks like an oil painting (?). Love it.

  7. I saw one of those flat packed metal model kits a couple of weeks ago at a computer store and bought one for my hubby. He's built a ship and a plane before from a different series they are super fun and fairly easy to put together. :)

  8. I just looked on Amazon for Metal Earth, and there are TONS of models available, from Star Wars to the Eiffel Tower and the U.S Capitol, to planes, trains, and automobiles...and ships, not to mention dragonflies and scorpions. Very cool!! I see another thing to spend my money on! Windmills, lighthouses, tractors, guitars, the Brooklyn Bridge!!!! Ok, I'll stop now.

  9. In the mall you can also make a tiny Lego x-wing. Yippee for free souvenirs!

  10. We have a set of the vintage sheets you that my daughter saw that dress she wants to make one! Too bad neither of us are seamstresses!!


  11. I didn't even know this was a new thing. Very fun! Agreed that the "sexy" Vader costume is inappropriate. Also not too keen on the R2 skirt, at least the choice of print/scale. The part on R2 that moves (eye, mouth, ???) is right at the, um, hoohah.

  12. Oh man.. those mini pin and art sets are awesome! I can't believe you didn't snag a few!

  13. Storm the KlingonJune 9, 2014 at 4:14 AM

    I used to work for Spirit Halloween Store, and yeah, not only is that particular costume particularly goofy in its "sexiness", but it's made by Rubie's costume company, which (IMHO) makes THE chintziest, crummiest costumes in the business. No hems, cheap polyester, seams not "locked" so they unravel, etc.; you'd be lucky to have it hold up through a Halloween party, much less rock a con in it. I'm not sure how to post a link here, and The Vulcan is deep in meditative slumber, so I'll just say this; if you want to laugh in horror, Google their "Official Licensed Klingon costumes". By the Sword of Kahless, they are an abomination.

    Speaking of 'im Indoors, he used to enjoy making model spaceships (both fictional and real life Apollo mission stuff) in his youth, and I think he'd groove on those models in a BIG way. So thanks, girl; you've provided me with an inexpensive gift idea for him BESIDES yet ANOTHER book. We've bookcases FULL of them, all over; I like to read and all, but swear to Bowie, my man is part Spock and part Burgess Meredith in the "Twilight Zone" episode "Time Enough At Last"; he is a voracious reader/hoarder of books and reads every time he gets a moment!

    Myself, I am LIVING for the Ralph McQuarrie pin of his early concept for C-3PO, when the design was still based on the robot "Maria" from the silent masterpiece "Metropolis"; I'd be too tempted to "ruin the collectability" by opening it up and wearing the pin as a scarf-tack.



  14. We were there this past weekend. It was dead. MK was packed when we hopped over around lunchtime. Went back to DHS and it was still dead. A perfect day! The fireworks show was amazing, I almost cried. Kept an eye out for you all day Jen but I doubt I would have had the nerve to say hi even if I had seen you. LOL

  15. I'm SO glad you pointed out the levitating rock art - the baker in me was looking at that print and seeing 2 dough balls on a food scale. LOL!

  16. Books-A-Million sells those metal sheet models, too :)

  17. Another fan of the Metalworks/Metal Earth kits here! The cool variety and level of detail keeps increasing with each batch of new sets. Craft pliers are a must and occasionally the construction order of some pieces could be improved, though I didn't manage to break anything until working on my 5th kit. Enjoy!

  18. Wow, lots of coolness!

    Jen, have you thought of doing a "Local Geek's Guide to Disney" post or even a small booklet? All your posts about Disney have made me want to go again, and I finally managed to talk my husband into it for 2016 (it will take that long for us to save!) I've talked about your posts with him and thought it would be really cool (and handy!) to have many of those things altogether in one place.


  19. Sorry, but the Mickey & Minnie pic makes me sad. It's like Jar-Jar - forced funny. It makes it seem like Star Wars is just for kids when the expanded universe can be so deep and occasionally dark. I know, I know, I need to keep an open mind and see where this goes...but it's hard. From what I've heard, Disney is rebooting the story line.
    On the other hand, I really like the artwork!

  20. the metal model kits are available at also

  21. Thanks for the intro to the Her Universe stuff. Though I'm severely sad that the ewok tank top on their front page isn't available to buy anywhere on their website!!


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