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Star Wars Weekends 2009
‘May the Force Be With You! ’
If you instantly recognise where that came from (Hans Solo says it to Luke Skywalker, just before the attack on Death Star battle station) then you will undoubtedly be a ‘Star Wars’ fan. And if you ARE a ‘Star Wars’ fan then you really must try to go to one of the Star War Weekends, held by Disney at Hollywood Studios each May and June, which are devoted to these sci-fi movies.
Ever since 1997, Walt Disney World has sponsored Star Wars Weekends, and these usually include celebrity appearances, prizes, and trivia contests, as well as Star Wars street parties with a live disc jockey. During these great weekends celebrities from the many ‘Star Wars’ films are usually available for autograph sessions, motorcades and conversations. In the past, guests such as Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Darth Varder (David Prowse), C3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2D2 (Kenny Baker) have attended these weekends. There have also been plenty of Ewoks and Jawas to meet and greet.
The first weekend takes place on May 22-24th, 2009, and James Arnold Taylor, Warwick Davis and Ray Park will be in attendance. Ray Park is better known as Darth Maul from the ‘Phantom Menace, ’ Warwick Davis played Wicket in ‘Return of the Jedi, ’ and James Arnold Taylor was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
May 29th-31st sees Peter Mayhew and Matthew Wood appearing. Peter Mayhew was Chewbacca in four of the six Star Wars movies, whilst Matthew Wood was the voice of General Grievous and the battle druids as well as being Supervising Sound Editor for the Star Wars Prequels. Peter Mayhew is very tall and is known as a gentle giant.
On the weekend of June 5th-7th Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’) will be appearing as well as David Prowse who played Darth Vader in the original trilogy. Matt Lanter will also be there, and he was the voice of Anakin Skywalker, in ‘The Clone Wars. ’
Finally, between June 12th and June 14th, Dave Filoni , who was Supervision Director of ‘The Clone Wars, ’ and Temuera Morrison who played Jango Fett will be visiting Hollywood Studios.
These weekends will be hosted by Jay Laga’aia who played Captain Typho.
Entrance to the Star War Weekends activities is included in your normal Disney admission fee, but it is a good idea to arrive early, as you will be allowed in around 8. 30 am rather than the advertised time of 9. 00 am. However, the Star Wars area does not open until 9. 00 am. Real ‘Star Wars’ fans will often start queuing at 2. 00 am! You can find an information desk across from Drew Carey: Sounds Dangerous, and here you can sign up for the different Trivia contests as well as getting answers to any questions you may have.
Of course, celebrity autographs are popular and to get them you will need to get a Fastpass as soon as the park opens, as this is the only way to guarantee that you will get an autograph. There are usually special , and these will take you to the special Fast Pass ticket booths, located by Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Here you can use your park entrance ticket to obtain one Autograph FastPass, which will allow you to attend a specified autograph session. The time is stamped on the ticket and you must return to the specified location to meet the celebrity for photos and an autograph. You cannot receive more than one Fast Pass, so you cannot take other people’s tickets with you – they must attend themselves. Autographs can be written on almost anything – sabres and t-shirts are popular, but if you don’t have anything suitable then black and white photos are given to you free.
The Jedi Training Academy (Star Tours Stage) is particularly popular during Star Wars Weekends and participants are selected randomly, so if your children are keen to do this then get along there as soon as you can. If you collect pins then there will be two commemorative Star Wars Weekend pins issued each weekend as well as a special event pin.
These events are great fun, and some really keen fans actually dress up in Star Wars’ costumes, which adds to the atmosphere. Even Mickey Mouse has been known to sport a Star Wars persona as Jedi Mickey, as well as some of his friends – Leia Minnie, Vader Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald! The day usually begins with the ‘Legends of the Force Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, ’ with costumed characters and celebrities.
What could be more exciting than the combination of the magic of Disney and the power of the Force. . . grab your lightsabre and may the force be with you!
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