23 Jul
2015
Posted in: travel
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Walt Disney World: Star Wars Weekend

Center stage at Star Wars Weekend - Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios

A few years back, it came to my attention that Walt Disney World holds Star Wars Weekends annually in May and June. Our boys were obsessed with Star Wars at the time. I took Jedis to the grocery store with me and forced Stormtroopers to remove their helmets for lunch. Their book choices and LEGO sets revolved around Star Wars. I watched YouTube videos from Star Wars Weekends and knew if we were ever to visit Walt Disney World, it would be for a Star Wars weekend.

Children posing with a Stormtrooper - Walt Disney World Star Wars Weekend

Fast forward to this June when that bucket list item became a reality. The magic of Disney characters has waned for our tween. He claimed he was in this strictly for the theme park rides, but he was enamored by the magic of George Lucas.

Jango Fett at Star Wars Weekend - Walt Disney World

Hollywood Studios opens for the day during Star Wars Weekends with Stormtrooper hosts and iconic Star Wars music. The two Stormtroopers guarding the entrance were hilarious and worth the early morning alarm to be at the gate before the scheduled park opening. A walk down Hollywood Boulevard took us to Center Stage where various Star Wars characters entertained the crowd throughout the day. We could have planted ourselves there for hours and watched the performances.

Children posing with bounty hunter Zam Wesell during Star Wars Weekend - Walt Disney World

Disney takes the Star Wars theme and owns it for those weekends. There were actors from the movies and animated spinoffs in the parade, including the voice of Yoda, Frank Oz, and the actor who portrayed Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew. Hollywood Studios offers special discussions with visiting actors during each of the five Star Wars weekends. We didn’t sit in on those because, as much as our boys adore Star Wars, Hollywood Studios does have other attractions.

There is a massive warehouse to purchase all things Star Wars called “Darth Mall.” I had no idea how strongly I needed a Rebel Alliance cardigan until I saw it at Hollywood Studios. Alas, we left the mall with only a few pins commemorating our visit.

Aurra Sing walking in Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World Star Wars Weekend

Many Star Wars characters were in the park for autographs and wandering through the crowd interacting with visitors. While I didn’t want to wait 30 minutes to meet Ariel in Magic Kingdom, that same amount of time seemed reasonable for Jango Fett. Aurra Sing stalking us in the crowd proved I never want to be on a bounty hunter’s list. Our children know the Star Wars characters much better than I do, so they spent time shaking their heads and correcting their lame mom who dared to mix-up the identities of Stormtrooper commanders.

Boys meeting Tusken Raider characters at Star Wars Weekend - Walt Disney World

I’m not sure Hollywood Studios would have been very appealing without Star Wars. There are several shows to watch with a handful of rides. The mood is less frenzied than Magic Kingdom where the options seem limitless. We rode Star Tours, a 3-D simulated space flight, a few times. This ride is unique because the story changes for each ride with only the beginning and end staying the same. You never know which storyline your ride will entail.

Cinderella's coach at Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

The carriage form the recent Cinderella live-action movie was displayed during our visit, complete with glass slipper. This was a fun photo-op for us to do as a family.

Outside the Muppet Vision 3-D show in Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

The Muppet Vision 3-D show was a nice way to spend 25 minutes inside away from the heat and humidity as was the 15-minute Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Our daughter was enamored by the combination of people and puppets during the mermaid show, which is a quick retelling of the movie.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

Our favorite show was Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. It combines action on a large scale with audience participation and humor. The kids enjoyed it enough to wait after the show to meet the Indy actor and get his autograph.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area in Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

We seek out play areas for the kids while visiting theme parks. All the standing in line and following directions makes them itch to run around unconstrained. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is an interactive play area enjoyed by all four of our children. Everything in the area is made to make visitors feel shrunken. It’s large enough for kids to have room to move, even with crowds, while allowing parents to keep an eye on children.

Little Mermaid show at Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

Our boys weren’t impressed by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. The music-centered coaster didn’t quite live up to the hype my thrill-seekers had envisioned. Toy Story Midway Mania is a 4-D arcade shooting game. The line is ridiculously long, so I would recommend the use of a FastPass if Toy Story is a priority. Honestly, I don’t understand the draw of this ride. We had ridden it before in Disneyland, and I would have skipped it if it weren’t for needing a ride while the boys rode the coaster.

Little girl hugging Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World

We spent a full day at Hollywood Studios, but without Star Wars activities to fill those hours, I imagine we would have spent only half a day at the park. We ended our day meeting Mickey Mouse. Hollywood Studios had the mouse photo op we wanted with much shorter lines than the other Disney parks. It was the perfect end to another full day at Disney World.

 

Follow our 6,025-mile adventure.
Previous:
Planning for Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World – Visiting the Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World – Animal Kingdom

 

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