Studios Central: A Newbie's Perspective on Star Wars Weekends - Studios Central

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A Newbie's Perspective on Star Wars Weekends

#1 User is offline   Sleepless Knight 

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 03:46 PM

I just returned from my first SWW a few days ago and wanted to post my observations about approaching SWW from the perspective of a first timer in the hopes that my experiences may be of use to someone about to attend SWW for the first time. I realize I may be "preaching to the choir" here, but I want to post it anyways just in case.

I have to give major props to Studios Central and the people who post here and join the chat. Your information was extremely helpful and made for a much smoother experience. While some on other boards just said that SWW was a lot of fun and that I would love it, this community helped me make the most of my time there. I've heard it said that planning is half the fun. While I'm not sure if that's true, I do believe that careful planning does make the event a whole lot more fun. I'm very confident that while my SWW experience would have been fun if I hadn't know about Studios Central, the information I learned here helped make it all the more enjoyable.

I arrived at DHS around 8:20am on the first Friday of SWW. I loved hearing the SW music and knew about the stormtroopers show to come. As many have said, it is well worth arriving early at DHS so you can experience this. And once the gates opened I walked into the park and headed over to Star Tours. For the first hour or so I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the whole thing and I was having a hard time getting a grasp on the SW related activities. I attribute much of this to my lack of familiarity with the layout of DHS. If you're not well versed in the layout of the park, then study a map ahead of time and figure out what building, theater, attraction, et all is located where. Once I had figured out the lay of the land so to speak I felt much more comfortable and soon didn't need to pull out my guidemap every few minutes to figure out where I was and what I was doing next.

Because there is so much to do, I do not think it's possible to accomplish every SWW activity in one day. While you can experience the talk shows, parade, autograph sessions if applicable, and a JTA viewing in one day, if you want to get pics with a lot of SW and Disney SW characters, you're going to need 2 days to fit it all in. If you only have one day, take a look at that schedule and decide what you want to do most, knowing that you may not experience it all.

I lose count at the number of people I met in the parks that literally stumbled across the event. They liked SW and were happy about the event, but were lost as to where some of the characters were and how to meet them. Some didn't even know that you could meet Jedi Mickey and friends. Others wanted celebrity autographs, but were frustrated when the fastpasses were long gone by the time the park opened. Some didn't understand that Disney distributes those autograph fastpasses on a first come, first serve basis. If you want an autograph, arrive at least very (and quite possibly insanely) early in order to get it. This is why multiple days for SWW are a good thing. If it doesn't work on day one, you always have the others to try and get it right. I wanted to get Warwick Davis' autograph for my little sister. Disorientation on day one meant I didn't, but by day 2 I had figured out how it worked and was able to get a standby ticket. As a side note, Disney does not take the stand by line in order of what time you line up for the session, but by the number on your standby ticket. While I was 5th in my standby line, I actually went first because the number on my standby ticket was the lowest. And thanks to the things I learned here, I had no problems getting Peter Mayehw's autograph on my only day for weekend #2.

About the shows, Matt said in his top 10 tips column to see the 2 shows you would skip. I can't say enough about this tip. I nearly skipped the Behind the Force Show with Ashley Eckstein and Matthew Wood because I'd seen the with James Arnold Taylor the week before. While a lot of elements were the same, there was enough new and fun stuff(such as Matthew Wood reciting Seinfeld lines as General Grievous) that I was so glad that I decided to do it. I probably would have skipped the show if Matt's tip hadn't echoed in my mind.

As for characters, be aware that sometimes you get a rotation such as Luke, Leia, and R2. You will get at least one, possibly 2 of the 3, but you cannot wait if the one you want isn't available when it's your turn. Be aware of that. Likewise, I think it's best to get a pic with Chewie in the afternoon because he will be there. He rotates with an ewok in the morning, but is always there in the afternoon. Also, if you see a major character such as Vader or Chewie walking alone in the park, be aware that they're either on their way to or from a meet and greet. They will not stop to pose for a picture with you or your child. You can get some great action pictures this way, but you will not get that picture of your child (or you) with the character and/or the all important autograph. I saw a few kids and parents who didn't understand this. Same thing applies with the Disney SW characters, though you may be able to sneak in a picture with them if you have something to show them (like a Jedi Mickey plush to Jedi Mickey or Leia Minnie).

On interacting with characters: This is a whole lot of fun even if you're an adult. Don't be afraid to wear SW shirts or carry a lightsaber. On one day I had a Episode I shirt on and Queen Amidala told me that Ani was working on a podracer and to tell him hi if I saw him. Luke commented about the familiar landscapes of Tatooine that were on that shirt. Remember that the villains are villains. They won't be touchy feely, but they will interact. While they do a great job of staying in character without deliberately terrifying the living daylights out of children, they will act stay villainous. Darth Maul will study your every move and be ready to take you down if necessary. Vader will not tolerate attempts to upstage him, and if you really want some fun watch when he signs a Tinker Bell or Princess autograph book.

On my last day I got more pics with Jedi Mickey and Leia Minnie. This was great fun since I now had a lightsaber. I did assorted Jedi poses with Mickey and the classic ANH poster shot with Minnie hanging off my shoulder as I held the lightsaber straight up in the air. If your camera doesn't have quick response time like my Nikon, use photopass since their cameras do. Tell the CM you would like a lot of pics taken. Likewise, I recommend hanging out near the end of the Disney SW character queue around the time the characters change because you may get some fun pics of Mickey interacting with Goofy, Donald, and Minnie(depending on who's coming out next). You may not be able to get a group shot if it's your turn, but it's a lot of fun to see them together in SW costumes.

As I told Matt on the 2nd day of SWW, this site is a tremendous resource. So thanks to the many seasoned veterans of SWW for all their tips. I feel that by the time the 2nd weekend rolled around, I was no longer green and inexperienced in the ways of SWW. And if anyone has any other questions, please ask.
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#2 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:55 PM

Glad to hear you had such a positive experience Keith ;) It was great to meet you and I'm glad you came all the way from the West Coast to SWW and to the Studios Central dinner
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#3 User is offline   Sleepless Knight 

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:38 PM

Me too. While some want to make a rivalry between the two Disney complexes, I view them as two equally wonderful experiences. I may like Disneyland itself better than the Magic Kingdom, but I absolutely love the WDW resort, so it was great to be out there again. I've listened to the podcast for 3 years so it was fun for me to meet you and Newell. Hopefully my next visit to WDW won't be after 3 years.
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