Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Great Pieces Of American Culture: Disney and Star Wars

Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios is awesome. I say this not only because I grew up with the original trilogy in the late 70's/early 80's, but also because our kids have grown up with the prequel trilogy and love it just as much (and they've also fallen in love with the original series as well - yes!). So this event combines two great pieces of American culture: Star Wars and Disney.

I mean, honestly - how can you beat Jedi Mickey?

You can't. You can't beat Jedi Mickey. You can only hope to contain him!

Well, unless you're talking Jedi Mickey with R2-MK, of course! That's the only way to beat just Jedi Mickey.

Now, our love for Star Wars and Disney draws to us to this event every year. And there are some really, really GREAT aspects to these weekends. The single best aspect for our family has been the character interaction. Every year they outdo themselves and provide a great deal of entertainment. Whether it's characters in the meet and greet spots (which are spread out all around the Backlot area, Star Tours area and behind Muppet Vision) or characters roaming about freely in those areas, they all are FANTASTIC.

Below is a series of three photos that underscore what kind of fun guests can have with these characters. Aurra Sing is a peripheral character in the Star Wars universe (only having appeared in Episode I very briefly), but she makes for a terrific face character. We camped out for a while by the entrance/exit for the characters over by the Backlot Tour, because it turns out to be a perfect spot to get shots and time with these characters as they're entering and leaving the "stage". Check out Aurra and Chance as he waits for her to come out...she knows he's there, but he doesn't know SHE knows...until she lets him!

She played it up and I'm sure it's something Chance is going to remember for a long, long time. She didn't just pay Chance mind, though...she got right into Katie's face and had a staring contest! Aurra won.

Stormtroopers, Jawas, Clonetroopers, Jabba's Palace Guards, Tusken Raiders and more roam the streets and make for incredible photo ops. To us, this is the best part of Star Wars Weekends.

Also, the face characters at the meet and greet spots make conversation and know their Star Wars stuff, for sure. They can hold their own - because believe me, we tested them a little (I asked Luke if he's been to any good cantinas lately, and he responded, "Oh, there's just this one down in Mos Eisley....that's about all the entertainment we've got on Tatooine." Not bad.

And while we didn't see the parade this past weekend, we've seen it in years past...and it's worth it. Also, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Hyperspace Hoopla. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth it. Crowded, but worth it. Well, OK...extremely crowded. So much so that if you don't set up camp early and get your spot, then you'll have a hard time seeing it. So get there well before show time.

And speaking of the crowds... now for the negative. There isn't much negative about the Weekends...except the crowds. It is insane, because it is so popular. But that's OK, because it's totally understandable. Just know that coming in, in order to get into the Jedi Training Academy, the autograph signings, the Jedi Mind Challenge or other limited-capacity events, you have to be there early. As in WAY before rope drop early. I heard that guests were lining up at 5 or 6 a.m....and we arrived for rope drop, and the kids couldn't get into the Jedi Training Academy even then! Oh well, lesson learned.

Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) signing autographs.
You have to get an autograph fastpass to get
anything signed, and they were given out very quickly,
very early in the morning.

So in the end, regardless of the crowds, if you're a Star Wars fan, you gotta be here. And if you're a Star Wars AND Disney fan, then it's a moral imperative to be here!

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