The Food and Wine Festival will always be my favorite annual event at Disney, but for DadJovi and E., there is one thing they look forward to all year long — Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios.
And they’re finally here!
Last year, we hit it nearly every weekend of its month-long run. E. even got puked on in the Chewbacca line. We missed opening weekend this year because we were in Pennsylvania, so it was one of our top goals for this weekend.
Despite the fact that we all had a very late night on Saturday (more on that later this week), we were still at the front gates by 9 a.m. Before we even entered, we were greeted by some very special guards.
Not only were the Stormtroopers on the roof (even yelling gentle insults at some of the guests), John Williams’ awesome soundtrack was playing over the loudspeakers to get everyone excited. E. kept yelling “It’s Darth Vader’s song” and “I hear the Star Wars song!” as we walked in.
Perhaps the main draw of Star Wars Weekends is the chance to get your picture taken with all the different characters, like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Darth Maul and Queen Amidala. Since the lines are always really long, we told E. to pick the two characters she most wanted her picture taken with and then we’d see about the others. She picked Chewie and Jango Fett.
Since the Chewie line is always one of the longest, we headed straight there. It’s right across from Star Tours, so as E. and I took our places in line, DadJovi ran to get our Fast Passes. The best part of the Chewie line is that it’s completely shaded. Hallelujah for small miracles.
The line seemed to move very fast though because E. made a new BFF — another girl who is a HUGE Star Wars fan. She was dressed as a padawan (that’s a Jedi-in-training for those of you who aren’t as steeped in Star Wars trivia as us. You’re jealous of our coolness aren’t you?).
They had ton of fun talking Star Wars and taking turns using E’s blaster and her new friend’s lightsaber to slay imaginary Stormtroopers. It was really cute, actually. And I was just thrilled that we got one more use out of E’s Halloween costume! Her Leia wig is pretty banged up and was hot for such a humid day, but she only had to leave it on until the big moment — reuniting with her favorite Wookie.
I was too busy laughing to get pictures of them hugging but it was a big love fest. She barreled into his arms and was just so happy to see him. But I’m pretty sure her father was just as excited (actually probably MORE excited) to see him, too.
Here’s the thing about Chewie — he’s always ready to party. After we did our first “nice” picture, he egged us on to get our Wookie on. Two-thirds of us were more than happy to oblige.
DadJovi has already asked me if I can Photoshop E’s arm raised in the air. If I can pull that off, I think we can stop the annual search for a Christmas card photo now.
After our Chewie photo opp (which, took about 30 minutes or so from the time we got in line), we headed over to Star Tours before our Fast Passes time window expired (I really hate that they’re enforcing that now). E. was still in her Leia costume, so it was pretty funny to hear all the people in line saying “Look at the Leia!” as she strutted to the top of the line. Yup, she was feeling the force and she was fierce.
She was just so excited by the whole day. She’s never once asked to dress up as a princess to go to Disney, thankfully. I always feel so sorry for those little girls who just look so dang hot in their big, heavy Cinderella and Belle costumes (especially when they’ve got the full faces of make-up and the wigs on, too). I understand why they’d want to dress up for their day at Disney but boy it always looks uncomfortable.
I was worried E. would want to wear her Leia gear all day, but after we were done with Star Tours, she was ready to take it off.
Besides, it was time for her next character meeting — Jango Fett — and she wanted him to see her shirt. But here’s the thing about Jango, he’s not a sure thing. Jango Fett and Boba Fett share the same line and they switch out about every 15 minutes. So, you get in line and you get who you get. They keep telling you that you can’t let families in front of you, you can’t save a spot in line, etc.
Well, that’s just silly.
When we got there, Jango Fett was doing the pictures and we were far enough back that we knew we weren’t going to get to him within the 15 minutes but it wasn’t long enough that we’d get to the front when he returned. And E. was on the verge of a meltdown over it. I finally was able to explain that she could take her chances and maybe get Jango or, we could leave and she’d get neither. She eventually decided to stay and take a chance. Oh, the joys of negotiating with a 4-year-old.
The Fetts did their switch and we kept getting closer and closer. As we stood there, we heard the brother and sister behind us freaking out. They desperately wanted their picture with Boba.
At this point, I should help you poor non-Star Wars people. Boba Fett is from the original three Star Wars movies (which are now Episodes IV, V and VI). He was the bounty hunter who captured Han Solo and brought him to Jabba. He only has a few scenes in the three movies, but he’s a HUGE cult favorite.
Jango Fett is introduced in Episode II and he is the genetic template for the clones. Boba is his son, sort of. He’s actually his clone. More importantly, Jango is a huge part of the cartoon “Clone Wars,” which is why E. and every kid today loves him. OK, glad I cleared that up for you!
Anyway, we got closer and closer and we were nearing the end of Boba’s 15 minutes. When the Disney workers weren’t looking, we let the brother and sister behind us get in front of us. And then we also heard a man behind us geeking out. He had come all the way from Alaska and all he wanted was his picture with Boba (I can’t believe that these are the people I spend my weekends with). So we let him line jump, too.
The brother and sister got their moment with Boba. Sadly, they were the last ones before the switch. Mr. Alaska begged and pleaded to get his picture taken, too, but bounty hunters are a tough crowd. Mr. Alaska left the most magical place on Earth disappointed.
But his loss was E’s gain. She got her wish come true. And she freaked out. She got super shy and tongue-tied. Her plans of showing Jango her shirt went out the window and she was so excited she could hardly talk. The only time I’ve ever seen her like that was when she met the Blue Devil. It was so strange for my bold, chatty girl.
Oh, she still hugged him and was more than thrilled to get her picture. But she insisted that we join her.
After the line, we wanted to go check out the Star Wars Weekend exclusive shopping tent — Darth’s Mall. Don’t laugh. It’s pretty awesome. They have TONS of Star Wars Weekends exclusive items, like shirts (DadJovi was THISCLOSE to buying a Han Solo “I’m in it for the money” shirt but then realized that was even too dorky for him).
I found what could be the greatest sweatshirt of all time.
Yes, that is a Princess Leia hoodie, with her famous side buns on the hood. So freaking cool. It’s part of the Her Universe collection, which is designed by Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka on the “Clone Wars” cartoon.
If that sweatshirt wasn’t $60, it would have been mine. I tried to get E. to get this shirt:
LOVE it. But she had different ideas for her Star Wars prize for the day (man, only children are lucky). She wanted to be a Jedi so she asked if she could get her face painted. Since I’m on a toy purge lately, I figured, “Hey, that’s one less thing to bring home!”
But then I saw just how orange she was going to be.
E. and her inspiration, Ahsoka. Not bad!
After we had our fill of playing with all the stuff in Darth’s Mall (and deciding to forgo the very long C3P0/R2D2 line), we decided to try a new-to-us ride, the Great Movie Ride. The best part of it was the pre-show movie clips. The ride itself was meh, but the only reason we did it was because E. saw her second favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” on the banner outside. As we moved through gangster movies, alien movies and even the snake scene (ugh) from Indiana Jones, we were getting increasingly nervous that there would be no Dorothy. Finally, at the very end, we found ourselves in Munchkinland.
After the ride, it was time for the parade. Parade viewing is tough because there aren’t a lot of spots to see it, so we were about four-deep from the parade. E. had the best seat, though.
Jedi Mickey made his grand entrance first.
The funniest thing about the Star Wars Weekends parade is that it’s made up of volunteers. These costumes (except for the main characters, like Chewie, Vader, Darth Maul, etc) are all owned and worn by Star Wars fans. And they’re awesome. And yes, I’m a dork.
In that last picture is Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in Episode I. And right after I took this picture, he did an awesome roundhouse kick (or something cool that involved him leaping into the air and spinning).
After the parade, we hit Star Tours one more time, then got out before the rain started.
Besides, I’m pretty sure we’ll be back for another run at Star Wars Weekends.
Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Or, have you ever been tongue-tied around someone “famous.”