Star Wars Weekends kicked off yesterday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and as Gary Buchanan, Social Media Manager and Disney’s resident Skyguy likes to say, it has people “happier than C3PO in an oil bath.”
Every weekend through June 9, 2013, guests can rub elbows with Star Wars celebrities, meet characters from the galaxy far, far away, collect all kinds of exclusive Star Wars-inspired merchandise (you can cast yourself in carbonite, diehards), and even face off against some of the most feared Sith around.
If it’s your first time attending the annual celebration, it can be a little overwhelming, despite all the rampant awesome.
You definitely don’t want to miss anything, but where should you start?
Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe, and the voice of Star Wars: The Clone Wars‘ Ahsoka Tano (she also voices Mia the Bluebird from Disney Junior’s Sofia the First!), sat down with me to share her top 10 tips for first time attendees.
See them all here:
THE FORCE IS STRONG AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1 of 11
Ashley Eckstein shares her top 10 tips so you get the most out of Star Wars Weekends.
BE ONE WITH THE FORCE… AND THE SCHEDULE 2 of 11
"Check the schedule ahead of time. If you don't show up with a plan, you're going to miss things." - Ashley
There are a lot of new elements and experiences this year, so make sure to keep on top of what's happening when and where. Learn more here.
And for an overview of all the events during this celebration of all things intergalactic, check out Disney's official Star Wars Weekends page here.
KEEP COOL 3 of 11
"Jedi robes are not very breathable, so make sure to drink water, put on lots of sunscreen, and keep cool. When it gets really hot head to my favorite 'hidden gem,' the Prime Time Diner - they have PB & J milkshakes!" -Ashley
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the layout of Hollywood Studios before you go, too. Always helps to know where restrooms, first aid stations and baby care centers are ahead of time. And for an overview of all the events during this celebration of all things intergalactic, check out Disney's official Star Wars Weekends page here.
JEDI TRAINING ACADEMY 4 of 11
"If you want to participate in the Jedi Training Academy, you have to get there early." -Ashley
Very true. If your young padawan (ages 4-12) wants the chance to face off against some of the galaxy's most feared Sith, then you'll definitely need to plan ahead. Get all the details on enrolling your younglings here.
RUB ELBOWS WITH STAR WARS ROYALTY 5 of 11
"Check out the shows that happen every day during all of Star Wars Weekends. Movie guests like James Arnold Taylor, Anthony Daniels and others could be there. And, make sure to go 'Behind the Force' with Star Wars voice actors! It's your chance to get up close and personal with them." -Ashley
Get the full list of scheduled celebrities here.
MAKE TIME FOR THE MERCHANDISE TENT 6 of 11
"What I love about it is the coolest exclusives you won't find anywhere else." -Ashley
Learn more on the Disney Parks Blog, and watch a video of Gary Buchanan, Disney's resident Skyguy, showing you exactly how that works.
DON’T MISS THE MOTORCADE 7 of 11
"You definitely can't miss out on the motorcade. This is where you get to see all the 'Star Wars' characters in one place!" -Ashley
Motorcade and parade are interchangeable here, and you definitely want a good spot. Young padawans from the Jedi Training Academy get to take part, and everyone from Minnie Mouse to Donald Duck are dressing up in their Star Wars duds. Learn more here.
BE ONE WITH THE FORK 8 of 11
"Darth Vader cupcakes are absolutely incredible. They're like heaven in a cupcake!" -Ashley
Yep. We're talking a rich chocolate-and-peanut-butter-filled confection topped with chocolate frosting. And then there's the inimitable Darth Vader on top, along with a kitschy lightsaber. Brings new meaning to "death by chocolate," don't you think?
Find out where to get it here.
CHARACTER MEET AND GREETS 9 of 11
"I just do the voice, but to actually walk up to Ahsoka Tano... amazing." -Ashley
From Queen Amidala to Darth Maul to Ewoks, find out where your favorite characters will be and when they'll be there here.
HEAD TO HYPERSPACE HOOPLA 10 of 11
"Don't miss this music and dance party with characters from the Light and Dark sides facing off against each other." -Ashley
Get all the details on Disney's official Star Wars Weekends page here.
COME IN COSTUME 11 of 11
"Don't be afraid to come in costume. Get into the Star Wars spirit!" -Ashley
Need inspiration? Fellow Babble blogger, Silvia Martinez, rounded up the cutest Star Wars Weekends costumes for kids here. This is one of the few events where guests can dress in costume, and why wouldn't you? Just remember, no face masks of any kind are allowed.
Join the conversation online by using hashtag #StarWarsWeekends on Twitter.
Photo credits: Jeff Clark (@ArtooDad2), Pilar Clark (lead photo only), Disney Parks Blog (Darth Vader cupcake only)