• 09Nov
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Disney scuttles Star Wars Weekends while construction begins for new Star Wars area

    [From our sister site, Sci-Fi Storm]

    Star Wars Weekends, a multi-weekend event that Disney has hosted for annually for the last 13 years and occasionally before that, is over.

    It was announced on the official Disney Parks Blog today, although we believed it already to be the case.

    Construction will begin next year in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park, where the Weekends were held, in order to provide a whole new “land” dedicated to Star Wars. Previously, the Star Wars presence was limited to the Star Tours attraction, the Tatooine Traders shop, and more recently the Jedi Training Academy (where children get trained by a Jedi and then face Darth Vader!) With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 everyone expected a bigger park presence and it’s on the way. A few details were released about that expansion:

    • On December 1st, “Star Wars: Launch Bay” opens, giving fans a look at the franchise and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, special merchandise and opportunities to encounter Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
    • Star Tours: The Adventure Continues will feature a new scene inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens: a chase following the Millenium Falcon through the ship wreckage on the desert planet of Jakku. Those familiar with the random scenes in the attraction might be glad to know that for a few months, the Jakku scene will be in every ride, and then it “will be up to the will of the Force”.
    • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (opening early December) is a re-imagining of the Jedi Training Academy which will take younglings to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple where they will face Darth Vader along with the Seventh Sister – a new villain from the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels
    • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi will feature scenes from the complete Star Wars saga, also giving anyone new to the Star Wars galaxy an opportunity to get acquainted with the films.

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  • 24Apr
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Guest slate for Star Wars Weekends finally announced

    We finally have details for the upcoming Star Wars Weekends!

    Aside from the previously announced returning host of all five weekends, James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Mark Hamill, Ashley Eckstein will return for all weekends to host “Behind The Force” show which provides a behind the scenes look, this year focusing on the upcoming Star Wars Rebels, and will feature a member of the voice cast each week.

    The guest stars include (subject to change):

    Weekend I: May 16-18

    Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend II: May 23-25

    Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Wald (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Capt. Jeremoch Colton (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)

    Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend III: May 30-June 1

    Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)

    Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend IV: June 6-8

    Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Darth Bane (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) (Note: Mark will apparently not be signing autographs)

    Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)

    Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend V: June 13-15

    Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

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  • 20Mar
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Mark Hamill to appear at Star Wars Weekends

    Just announced today, and I believe the first celebrity announcement aside from James Arnold Taylor returning as host, is a big one…for the first time ever, Star Wars‘ own Luke Skywalker will appear at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends.

    He will be there for one particular weekend – Weekend IV, which is June 6-8. He will take part in the daily “Legends of the Force” motorcade and “talk show”, and presumably (but not confirmed) he will be signing autographs at a few points during the day. If you’re hoping to snag an autograph, though, beware – Disney uses it’s FASTPASS system for celebrity autographs, giving them out just before the park opens for the day – and the lines can form very, very early in the morning for top guests…people reportedly lined up close to midnight for the next day for Billy Dee Williams last year.

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  • 21Feb
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Star Wars Weekends extended an extra weekend, fireworks added, but no Hoopla?

    Walt Disney World has announced that Star Wars Weekends will be extended for an extra weekend this year, with the first weekend on May 16-18, and the final one on June 13-15. Also, via a cryptic message reportedly from the emperor himself, a nightly fireworks show will be added. It also mentions a new evening experience on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Boulevard is the main street that leads from the entrance to the central stage where the Hyperspace Hoopla has taken place the past couple years.

    But what does that mean for the Hoopla itself? Word is spreading fast that the Hoopla is gone this year, being replaced by the fireworks, as cast members have internally been told that Hoopla has been retired – but we’re still wondering what is meant by the “new evening experience”. In the mean time fans are livid – The Hyperspace Hoopla was HUGELY popular as the nightcap for each day, generating such a large crowd over the years that it had to move from the small Jedi Training Academy stage to the much more accommodating (and now semi-permanent) central stage at the crossroads of the park. Having seen the crowd last year, I find it crazy that Disney would consider ending this show – unless the plan is for something even bigger.

    Also announced will be the return of James Arnold Taylor has the host of the weekends – he was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has hosted for several years. He does an amazing one man-many voices show that is not to be missed. And the theme this year is “Join The Rebellion” – perhaps a tie in to the upcoming Star Wars Rebels show?

    Oh, and if you heard that there were some unfinished episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it was true – and they are finished now, and will be released on Netflix next month.

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  • 04Jun
    Walt Disney World Comments Off on Pictures from Star Wars Weekends

    We just got back early yesterday morning from our Star Wars Weekends trip…check out the pics from our sister site Sci-Fi Storm’s Google+ page!

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  • 18May
    Walt Disney World Comments Off on Star Wars Weekends have begun!

    Star Wars Weekends started yesterday! There have been a few changes – the Stormtroopers apparently aren’t doing their park opening routine above the turnstiles this year, instead are appearing at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, and the parade makes a stop at the event stage in front of the Hat and they introduce the guests and give a quick overview of the events of the day.

    But everything is in full swing, and you can follow along on Livestream with the DIS – I hear that they will carry the Hyperspace Hoopla live at 8pm!

     

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  • 13Apr
    Walt Disney World Comments Off on Signing up for Jedi Training Academy

    The Jedi Training Academy is incredibly popular – and is doubly so during Star Wars Weekends. With those coming up, I thought I’d let people know what the current sign-up method is to get your child involved. They no longer pick children out of the crowd, but you must sign up in advance – and early, as the limited slots can go very quickly.

    To make sure you can sign up your child, get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios early – before the announced opening time (besides, during Star Wars Weekends the stormtroopers put on a bit of a show before opening…) – they often let people in earlier – as much as 30 minutes – than advertised to avoid the “Toy Story Mania Road Race” that had been going on. On Extra Magic Hour mornings, you might need to get in a line and wait, as they may not start taking names right away. But you CAN have another member of your party to and fetch Fastpasses for you, as you will not need tickets to sign up. But the child you are signing up will need to be with you.

    The sign up are can move around. If you can, ask a Cast Member before getting in. But the common places are outside of the Hollywood and Vine restaurant (up Hollywood Boulevard then the first left, H&V will be on the left), outside or inside the old Sounds Dangerous Soundstage near the Jedi Training Academy stage, or at the JTA stage itself. You will pass things in that order, so keep an eye out as you head there.

    When you sign up, you will get a return time. This is not like a Fastpass return time – your child MUST be at the stage at that time to participate, so plan accordingly. Times are given in order of signups, so the first people will be given a return time of the first show, and so on.

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  • 28Dec
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Star Wars Weekends 2013 dates announced!

    Star Wars Weekends will return to Walt Disney World again this Spring! Following the past several years, the weekend dates this year are May 17-19, May 24-26, May 31-June 2, and June 7-9.

    Also announced at the return of co-hosts Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and former Disney cast member) and James Arnold Taylor (the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and a man of thousands of voices…check out his one-man show).

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  • 08Dec
    Trip Reports Comments Off on Trip Report – Pop Century, Star Wars Weekends (June 2009)

    [This is a trip report from June 2009, being included as a new post as part of the site redesign]

    Introduction and Travel

    This was a somewhat impromptu trip. Thanks to JetBlue and their charge card, we had a free flight. The unfortunate part of the TrueBlue program is that as soon as you earn sufficient points, they issue you a certificate for a free flight – that expires in 12 months. You can’t save them up (Edit: This has since changed). So we had a free flight we needed to use, with no plans to go to Disney for over 18 months (out of DVC points).

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