Star Wars Weekends: Opening Day


#1

I have no idea why, but for some reason the opening day of Star Wars Weekends 2006 at MGM on Friday (5/19) didn’t seem to generate the excitement among the movies’ fans that I’ve seen in past years. The park wasn’t particularly crowded and we had no trouble at all walking through the usually clogged main Star Wars areas on Mickey Avenue and in front of Star Tours. Even when we stopped for a quick bite at the nearby counter-service Flatbread Grill (formerly Studio Catering Company), there wasn’t a line anywhere and empty tables were all over the place.

Some of the best entertainment at any Star Wars Weekend is provided by fans – young and old alike – who dress up in costume, but we didn’t see very many “characters” at all. Most were children, with the Princess Leia costume, complete with cinnamon-bun hairdo, seeming to be the most popular.

As for events, all of the old favorites appear to be back. There’s the Jedi Training Academy, where young Jedi hopefuls are selected at random to be schooled in the art of the lightsaber; character photo-ops, where you can have your picture taken with various Star Wars characters; celebrity guest appearances/autograph sessions with people like Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) and Rick McCallum (producer of all three Star Wars prequels); and Hyperspace Hoopla, each day’s closing event where Star Wars characters participate on stage in zany antics.

Oh, and of course there’s still the main reason why Star Wars Weekends are so wildly popular and attract people from all over the country: the opportunity to buy limited-edition Star Wars merchandise.

This year, in an effort to ease the traffic jams, the LE merchandise has been moved from the Tatooine Traders shop to Soundstage 1 on Mickey Avenue. A much larger venue, but still very crowded, this is where all the people are. The building contains various displays of Star Wars collectibles – T-shirts, lightsabers, blasters, etc. – but the real reason people are here is for the limited-edition merchandise.

A Cast Member will direct you to the merchandise line and give you a printed sheet that lists all the LE items, their prices, and how many (one or two) of each item you’re allowed to buy. A sampling of items: A Star Wars Weekends framed set of pins (LE 100) for $275; a Darth Vader watch for $225; Darth Vader or Anakin lightsabers for $160; and a Jedi Mickey Big Figurine for $150. If you have a pen or pencil, you can fill in the quantity of each item you want.

Now the wait begins as the line slowly snakes through the building in the best Disney-queue tradition. Of course, your journey takes you past various racks of non-LE merchandise so you can load up before you get to the good stuff. When you reach the end of the line, there’s a row of order-fillers and a lightsaber-wielding Cast Member who directs you to the next-available opening. You then hand in your order sheet for processing, upon which the CM disappears into a tent/warehouse that contains boxes and boxes and boxes of merchandise.

But, finally with merchandise in hand, the experience isn’t over yet. You’re now directed to another line where you must wait to actually pay for your goodies. Again, there’s a lightsaber-toting CM who directs you to the next available cash register.

Many, many people in line had armloads of merchandise that no doubt soon will be appearing on eBay. Me, I’m nothing more than a casual fan of the movies but since I like Disney pins I try every year to pick up a few Star Wars Weekends pins. Well, it took us 35 minutes to get through the merchandise line and another 7 or 8 to make it to the cash registers. All for a few pins. Through it all, DW gave me her best indulgent smile. :glare: Sometimes the Force works in mysterious ways. :huh:


#2

Interesting report. I have never cared for Star Wars but DH and both DS like it. Give me the Super Soap Weekend any time. I cna’t wait for it this November. It is such a blast. Great even if you don’t like Soaps because the attractions are not crowded!!


#3

Thanks for sharing the report. I do think most people are there for the LE merchandise…especially the adults. Glad you got your pins. :cool:


#4

This always sounds like a fun time to visit. Someday, I hope we do!


#5

Maybe I’ll go one year if Ewan MacGregor ever decides to appear at it.


#6

I have got to have one of those Jedi Mickey Big Figs. My parents are leaving to WDW next weekend, and I’m thinking about asking them to pick one up for me. I’ve already got a Darth Goofy on its way, as well as a satchel and a coffee mug.

But I WANT a Jedi Mickey Big Fig. I know there’s only 600 of them, which means they won’t be there in time to get one. :crying: I guess that’s OK. I just can’t afford the $300 they are on eBay. It’s just that, that particular Mickey, is ME. I mean, what’s written on the bottom of his foot? It’s in my Title…

Oh well…

I’m so sad that we couldn’t make it this year to a SWW. It’s breaking my heart. (nod to Padme in Ep3 there!)

Thank you for putting this up there! I really appreciate it!


#7

JEDI!! :wub:
Wow, this sounds so fun! We have got to try to go sometime!


#8

Yes, we DEFINITELY need to do this sometime! I’m hoping that, next year, we’ll make it to DL for the 30th anniversary celebration (I’m sure they’re going to have one…). Maybe 2008?

It’s wonderful to hear from you, SmellyMouse!

To get back to SWW–It looks like (from the pictures on starwars.com) that the same people are back as far as photo-ops with the “characters” are concerned. Shaak-Ti is absolutely amazing! That poor girl who does it every year. I can’t imagine having to wear all that makeup, those giant horns, AND all that costume in the Florida heat! WOAH!!!

Oh, PH, which pins did you get? I’ve decided to get the Darth Tater and the Jedi Mickey ones. I’d love to have the Jedi set, but DEAR LORD! At only 100 of those sets, they are EXPENSIVE!!!

ttyl


#9

I got the three first-weekend limited-edition pins:

[ul][li]2006 SWW logo pin
[/li][li]Han Solo vs. Stormtroopers
[/li][li]C-3PO and R2-D2
[/li][/ul]


#10

Thanks for posting links to pics of those, PH! I think I’m going to ask my parents to get me the logo pin, but the other two? Well, since they won’t be there anyway next week… I like the droids one, but not really the Han Solo one. They look kinda funky… :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe next weekend’s pins will look a little better. I have several from past SWW, but the ones that I really collect are the logo pins.

Again, thank you, PH! I really appreciate it!

(Oh, and, is the Big Fig Mickey as amazing as the pictures show it?) dreaming of having one


#11

SO cool!!! We spent the day in EPCOT! Poor Matt!! I don’t know whether to tell him he missed it or not! :sad:


#12

I don’t know bout ya’ll but my opening weekend here at SWW has been nothin short of awesome. I get to help new characters, meet movie icons…it’s been a blast. Looking forward to the next 3 weekends!


#13

Hey, Matt, are you always at MGM? When we’re there how do we spot you? We arrive just after SWW’s last weekend. Any chance they might extend it like last year?


#14

Sounds like a great job! Do you love working at WDW?


#15

Rowdy,
Last year they extended SWW one more weekend. Any chance they’ll do that again this year?


#16

Not always. I hope to be in the near future since right now I’m one of the only few guys who can “help” Frozone because of my body build. Just PM me the day before you leave telling me what parks you’ll be at and I’ll reply with where I’ll be.

With all my heart. It’s extremely hot and can be very painful, but I do love doing my job.

Very unlikely. Unless record numbers like at last year’s event happen and the people demand it, I’m 90% sure it’s not going to happen. To quickly get new celebs to come to the performance, rebook everything, it takes a lot to get this event going. Last year we were overwhelmed with the response to how much everyone was loving SWW. June 11th is the last day this year.


#17

Matt–

Tell whatever Disney gods a hearty “thank you” for keeping the SWW this year–and I hope they extend it to DL for the 30th anniversary next year… ANNNNNND, they deserve an even BIGGER one for keeping the Padawan training all year long! I can’t wait to try to get my boys in that!

(Please tell me they are still going to keep the Padawan training throughout the year. I think that’s what I read. I hope that’s what I read. of course, I’m exhausted most of the time now, and I could have dreamed it…)


#18

Yeah, don’t wanna anger the Disney gods right? LOL As far as them keeping the training, it’s a serious consideration at this time. That’s all I got.