Our First Star Wars Weekend Experience

I’ve created monsters.  Disney Monsters.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love that my boys love Disney like I do.  It becomes a problem when they want to attend all the special events.  As you know, we were just at Disney World for Pixar Weekend.  Just twelve short days after driving home from Orlando, we were headed back South on I – 95 towards our first Star Wars Weekend.  My husband’s wanted to attend this event for a couple of years now but we’ve never made it down.  Now that my boys love Star Wars too, it was almost impossible for me to say no to the bunch of them despite only watching the Star Wars movies once when I was in 5th grade (many years ago!).

Our original plan was to head to Orlando over Memorial Day weekend with friends of ours.  Our kids have been in the same class for the past two years, they own DVC and we all share an unreal love of Disney.  Fate was at work when the kiddos were put in the same class I’m sure.  After a couple of hotel issues, we cancelled our plans and decided to move our trip back another week.  This was a bonus for me since I was hoping to meet Mary who would also be in Disney the same time as us.

We arrived in Orlando around 6:00 Friday night and the boys made a beeline for the hotel’s pool, which we could see from our room.

Because I’m a multi-tasker, we ordered pizza for dinner before we headed down to the pool so it would be there when we got back to the room.   (We had good timing since the delivery guy was at our door when we came up)  The pool and dinner tired everyone out and we headed to bed, excited to see what Saturday had in store for us.

Saturday morning came very early and we were up and ready to head to Hollywood Studios (DHS).  I’d read that you should arrive about an hour early to get in line to get into the park.  We arrived at DHS about 7:15ish (park was scheduled to open at 9:00) and were surprised to see MANY people already there.  There was a huge line of people in line to get a fast pass for celebrity autographs (we skipped this for this trip) and before too long, we saw this:

My kids (and husband) were totally enthralled with the interaction of the storm troopers with the crowds and we were allowed to enter the park at 8:00!!  (This is why you should always arrive early!!)  We immediately headed to the ride my husband had been waiting for since his last ride:

My husband and his mom took my oldest son on the old ride on a previous trip which led to a MAJOR meltdown for my son who refused to ever ride the ride again.  He was willing to give the “new” ride a shot and see what it was all about but now my youngest son was scared.  We convinced him to go on the ride (our rule is you have to try each ride once), which was thankfully a walk on since the park had just opened,  and both boys wound up loving it!  Hubby had gotten fast passes just in case we needed them for later in the day, not knowing how long our luck would hold out of being able to walk onto the ride.  We got off and rode again (again a walk on).   After our rides, we headed over to Jabba’s Hut to get our Annual Passholder lanyards that were being given away.

From there we went to start checking out some characters and had pretty good luck finding some.  R2D2 and Luke Skywalker were inside Jabba’s Hut and rotated through.

We also got to see and/or meet a few others Saturday morning:

We wanted to be sure we saw the motorcade/parade so the kids could at least see the characters we wouldn’t be able to personally meet during the trip.  We struggled to find a spot on the parade route about 45 minutes before the parade began.  A wonderful couple let my oldest son stand in front of them and watch, which Corbin just loved and my younger son watched from my husband’s shoulders.  I was able to get some pictures of the parade but many look like this thanks to the person who came up as the parade was starting and didn’t seem to care about anyone else but the pictures he was snapping:

Please use this as a reminder that there are other people in the parks trying to enjoy their time as well and don’t want a bunch of pictures of your arm (or back of your head or whatever).

We took a break from the hot, hot sun for lunch at the ABC Commissary where we met the amazing Todd and Cheryl Perlmutter.  We headed off to ride Toy Story Mania, meet Winnie the Pooh and Phineas and Ferb before our next Star Wars adventure.  The boys weren’t getting our explanation of the show we were waiting to see and I kind of worried for a bit if we were going to spoil some of the magic but I don’t think we did for even a second.  We waited in line to see James Arnold Taylor and the wait was worth every second.

Mr. Taylor went through a huge variety of the voices he’s done in his career and shared an amazingly inspirational message that I desperately needed to hear.

After the show, we hustled over to the stage in front of “the big hat” to try and get a spot for the popular Hyperspace Hoopla show.  There were already a ton of people there but we were able to get a decent spot.  Since we were in the park all day, there wasn’t much time for napping and my youngest son fell asleep a few moments into the show (how I’ll never know because of the volume) and happily slept until we got back to the hotel.  My older son was lucky enough to stand at the rope and watch the show.

After the show, the Perlmutters and Wiltses said our goodbyes and headed out of the park to get some rest after a long, fun – filled day.  On our way out, we made a bit of magic by passing on fast passes to Toy Story Mania and Star Tours to two families.  It was a perfect ending to the day.

All in all, it was a good day and we got to visit with lots of characters.  I think it would truly take an entire weekend to be able to see all of the characters offered (not including the celebrities visiting for the weekend).  We were able to see a good number of them in the day we were there but didn’t make a dent in the total number of characters offered during the weekend.  Another thing I think it’s important to note is that we saw many more people dressed up for Star Wars Weekend than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties we’ve attended in the past.  A couple of times my kids asked who someone was and it was another guest dressed up.  While this isn’t a huge problem, it would have helped to be more prepared and know this in advance.  I also regretted not bringing my boy’s things from home (some of the more light weight things like a Jedi cloak because of the heat).  This is definitely something our family will do again in the future.

Lynn Wiltse is the mom of two boys and is always planning a Disney trip.  Find her on Facebook or Twitter.  She is also the author of My Pixie Dust Diary.


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