I am a huge Disney fan and have been for as long as I can remember and, after a while, I was able to bring my husband around to my way of thinking. He has been a Star Wars for as long as he can remember, so now I’m the one who has come around. When discussing our 2015 Walt Disney World trip, we realized that his birthday fell on a Saturday during the last Star Wars Weekend at Walt Disney World. This seemed like fate, so we started planning. Here are a few more things I learned that kept me sane during this crazy trip.
Tip #1 – Plan, plan, plan. There is so much that goes on during Star Wars weekends that you have to have a plan. Visit the Walt Disney World website to find out which celebrity guests will be at the park during your trip as there are different celebrities during each of the weekends. Decide whether you would like to try for the FastPasses for their meet and greets. And speaking of FastPasses, plan those out as well. During the Star Wars Weekends, not only will you be able to choose traditional Hollywood Studios FastPasses, like Toy Story Midway Mania or Tower of Terror, but you will also be able to select from some Star Wars Weekend events, like some of the celebrity talk shows. If possible, I recommend planning a visit to Hollywood Studios on a non-Star Wars Weekend day during your trip. Then you can ride Toy Story Midway Mania, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, or your other ‘must-do’ rides at Hollywood Studios and on your Star Wars day, you can focus solely on Star Wars events. You may even want to have your children participate in Jedi Training on a non-Star Wars Weekend day as they get VERY crowded during the event weekends. Remember, by staying on-site at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, you can book your FastPass+ selections 60 days prior to your trip verus 30 days for off-site guests.
You’ll also want to plan what you want to accomplish. For our family, it was character meet and greets and not the celebrity talk shows. We prioritized which characters we wanted to see and made sure we made it to the lines in time to see them. As I’ve mentioned before, the character you get in line to see may not be the character who is there when you reach the front of the line. When in doubt, talk to a Cast Member. They were incredibly helpful in letting us know the next time certain characters would make an appearance.
If characters are a priority, I’d also recommend the character dining options. We were able to skip many lines because we either had seen the characters at breakfast, or would be visiting with them at dinner.
You may also want to have your family watch the Star Wars films, or brush up on characters from Star Wars Rebels. We watched the films but had not seen Rebels before, so we ended up having other guests explain who some of the characters were to us.
Tip #2 – Dress up. For our trip, we made matching t-shirts and my daughter and I had Princess Leia buns in our hair. We got compliments all day long. We saw people in full Jedi robes and a LOT of Star Wars t-shirts. I loved people watching all day and seeing everyone react and compliment others costumes/shirts.
Tip #3 – Arrive EARLY. This is especially important if you want to get in line for a celebrity Meet & Greet FastPass. You also don’t want to miss the opening skit with the Storm Troopers. They are hysterical! The Storm Troopers also appeared throughout the day with similar senses of humor.
Tip #4 – Be ready for wandering characters. There were quite a few wandering characters, like the Gamorrean Guard and a few different Bounty Hunters. They aren’t stationary like most Disney character meet and greets, but instead wander in specific areas of the park at specific times. They can be a little frustrating to try to meet because they rarely stay in one spot for long, but keep trying and be sure to use your best manners when requesting pictures, as we saw a bounty hunter ignore guests who did not and only respond to those who showed her proper respect. One of our favorites of the wandering characters were the Jawas. Jawas like to trade, so bring along some trinkets (preferably not broken items) to trade with them. And be sure to celebrate a good trade by jumping up and down!
Tip #5 – Plan to stay late. You don’t want to miss the Star Wars Symphony in the Sky fireworks, so make sure to plan your day accordingly. The show is late so it makes for a long day but it is totally worth it. We purchased the Feel the Force Premium Package so we had a nice area to rest (with refreshments and drinks included) during the Celebrity Motorcade. This was actually a nice rest in the middle of the day. Summer in Florida is HOT so be sure to wear lots of sunscreen and stay hydrated so you can stay all day. Remember, even those not in Jedi robes can get very warm so drink plenty of water. And if you have young children, you may want to plan to sleep in the next day. Don’t plan on making morning Extra Magic Hours after spending all day at Star Wars Weekends! My kids who never sleep past 7 didn’t wake up until almost 10 the next day.
Tip #6 – Have fun! Some of our most favorite memories from our Star Wars Weekend trip were not things we planned, but things that just happened. Talk to people while you’re waiting in the long character lines. Our girls made a friend while watching the Motorcade that we saw at dinner, they rode Star Tours with after dinner, and her family stood with us during the Dessert Party and fireworks as well. When we missed the cutoff for the line for Chewbacca with one of the Ewoks, we walked past him on our way to Star Tours and watched the Ewok climb into a guest’s stroller and Chewie pushed him around waving at everyone. This was definitely not something I planned to see!
If you have a Star Wars fan, you have to visit during a Star Wars weekend. I’m so excited that Disney is increasing the Star Wars presence in the parks and I cannot wait to see what comes next!
If you’re ready to book your Walt Disney World trip, email me at Amy@TravelWithTheMagic.com. You can also find me on Facebook or call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to help you plan your family’s MAGICAL vacation!