“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, or so it feels… Star Wars weekends were an annual occurrence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This special event provided the ultimate weekends for all Star Wars fans, myself included. Star Wars fans that were never able to attend these weekends may be wondering what exactly made for the out of this world fun. If this describes you, this is the tell-all source you have been looking for.
First, some important history of these weekends. Star Wars weekends began at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1997. These weekends took place Friday – Sunday in May to June. Star Wars weekends occurred in 1997, 2000, 2001, and consecutively from 2003 to 2015. However, after 2015, the weekends were discontinued.
Now, let’s travel at light speed to the best part (in my opinion), the characters of Star Wars weekends. There were many characters who made appearances at Star Wars weekends. Disney characters dressed in Star Wars costumes and made appearances. This included Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Stormtrooper Donald, Darth Vader Goofy, Ewok Chip and Dale and R2-MK (Mickey Mouse designed droid). In addition to these characters many Star Wars characters from the films and television series made appearances for photographs and autograph signings. These characters included Clone Wars‘ Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Aurra Sing, Shaak Ti, Zam Wesell and some more popular characters (Queen Amidala, Boba Fett, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Clonetroopers, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Ewoks, Jango Fett, Jawas, Palpatine, Greedo, Stormtroopers, Tusken Raiders, Mace Windu, and Anakin Skywalker).
Throughout the course of Star Wars weekends, there were many celebrities available for meet and greets. The celebrities that made appearances were from the Star Wars movies as well as the television shows (Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Some celebrities who attended many Star Wars Weekends include Amy Allen (Aayla Secura), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Warwick Davis (Wicket W. Warrick the Ewok and Wald), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian).
Some extremely important actors from the franchise also made appearances. The late, great Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia Organa, attended the weekends in 2000 through 2001. Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker, attended in 2014. The creator of Star Wars, George Lucas, attended Star Wars weekends in 2011. He also attended the Star Tours: The Adventures Continue opening ceremony.
There were many events that were part of Star Wars Weekends. These events included fireworks, shows, and even a parade! The fireworks, Symphony in the Stars, that were displayed during Star Wars Weekends consisted of a large-scale fireworks display accompanied with John Williams’ music and sound clippings from the Star Wars movies. The Star Wars Parade featured celebrities, the 501st Legion (international fan organization that makes and wears replicas of costumes of Stormtroopers, Clone Troopers, bounty hunters, Sith Lords, and other villains from Star Wars), and many other characters.
There was even a fun show, Snig and Oopla’s Hyperspace Hoopla, that occurred in front of the Sorcerer’s Hat (remember that?) This was a dance-off show that had Star Wars characters competing in groups against each other in a dance competition. A fun and informative show was also included in Star Wars Weekends: Obi-Wan & Beyond. This was a live 30-minute show that occurred at the Theater for the Stars hosted by James Arnold Taylor. In this show, James Arnold Taylor displayed how he is able to produce the many voices for celebrities who are not able to attend projects as well as animated films, characters for television shows, and video games.
Specialty dining experiences were introduced to Star Wars Weekends on May 4th (“Star Wars Day”) in 2014. Two Star Wars character dining experiences were available including dinner at Hollywood & Vine (Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine) and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast).
Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine featured Disney characters dressed up as Star Wars characters. These characters included Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Stormtrooper Donald, Darth Vader Goofy, and Ewok Chip and Dale. This dining experience was buffet style and consisted of a wide variety of Star Wars themed food and dessert. The cost for this dining experience was $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids ages 3-9, or two table service credits for those on the Disney Dining Plan.
The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast featured characters such as Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Jawas, Greedo, and Stormtroopers. The menu for this experience consisted of a wide variety of breakfast selections. The cost for this dining experience was $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids ages 3-9, or two table service credits for those on the Disney Dining Plan.
As with any special event at the Walt Disney World Resort, event-specific merchandise was a hit during Star Wars Weekends. Guests could pick up merchandise throughout the park and at appropriately named pop-up shops like Darth’s Mall. The items available varied between mass-produced Star Wars merchandise, and limited edition merchandise with special pieces for annual passholders and certain days of the event (such as May 4th and 5th).
The sad announcement of the conclusion of Star Wars Weekends was due to the fact that Disney was planning on creating a larger Star Wars presence in Hollywood Studios. In 2015, Disney announced the addition of a Star Wars themed land in Hollywood Studios (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge which is set to open in 2019).
Despite the fact that Star Wars Weekends no longer take place at Walt Disney World, “the force” of Star Wars is still strong at Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios guests and Jedi visiting from the planet Coruscant alike can enjoy a wide variety of Star Wars experiences every day. These experiences include Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (featuring Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. (Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts about these Star Tours experiences!) With all these experiences and the Star Wars section (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) of Hollywood Studios opening in 2019, there is so much for any Jedi visiting Hollywood Studios to do.
Star Wars Weekends were extremely fun to Hollywood Studios guests and Jedi visiting from the planet Coruscant alike. While it is sad that these weekends are gone, it is also exciting to see what Star Wars fun will be coming to Hollywood Studios soon. After reading this informative post about Star Wars Weekends, do you think the weekend tradition should come back? Let us know in the comments!