It's Crunch Time for SWW
Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:29 PM
Posted 18 May 2010 - 09:01 PM
May 18, 2010
"Star Wars" with a Touch of Pixie Dust
In a galaxy not so far, far away, Jedi Masters, Sith Lords, Ewoks, and others will soon celebrate one of the most amazing pop culture phenomena this side of the sun. "May the Force be with you" will sound 'round the Park when Star Wars Weekends invade Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, for four consecutive weekends beginning May 21 and ending June 13. Little Padawans won't want to miss the hottest party of the year for human, droid, and alien devotees of this fantastical cosmic adventure.
A unique partnership with Lucasfilm led to the event's official inception in 2000, and Disney's Hollywood Studios is set for its 10th year of hosting Star Wars Weekends in honor of the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back." Actor Jeremy Bulloch, who portrayed bounty hunter Boba Fett in Episodes V and VI as well as Captain Colton in Episode III, will co-host the event with Ashley Eckstein, the actress who voices Ahsoka Tano in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
Many other intergalactic celebrities from the films Ray Park (Darth Maul), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett, Commander Cody), and James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi/"Star Wars: The Clone Wars"), to name a few will join Jeremy and Ashley in signing autographs, taking photos, and mingling in this otherworldly universe come to life. A word of advice: Guests should arrive when the Park opens (or before) to obtain a FASTPASS for the autograph signings as these disappear quickly.
The celebrities are also scheduled to appear at numerous venues throughout the day, including the "Legends of the Force" celebrity parade, the "Stars of the Saga" talk show, the "Padawan Mind Challenge" trivia contest for kids, and a special end-of-day experience, "Hyperspace Hoopla," that's become extremely popular on YouTube. Surprise celebrity video greetings will play at designated areas throughout the Park, featuring cast and crew who worked on "The Empire Strikes Back" 30 years ago. Two of the Park's permanent "Star Wars" attractions Star Tours and the Jedi Training Academy are always favorites with Guests eager to face off with Darth Vader.
Die-hard fans will be thrilled over the plethora of Star Wars swag on hand to commemorate the occasion, including special-edition pins. Disney Pin Collectors are a zealous breed, and according to Steven Miller, Project Manager for Disney Trading, the community's already abuzz with anticipation. "Based on feedback from our Facebook page and the Disney Parks blog, people can't wait. The pins we create year after year are always fabulous, but it's especially true this year because of the excitement around the 30th anniversary of 'The Empire Strikes Back.' It's a film loved by millions."
Collectors can snag some cool limited-edition pins, like the jumbo "30" pin complete with a light saber sound chip in the packaging. Steven talks about this and other pin designs. "It contains various scenes from 'The Empire Strikes Back' as well as Han Solo in Carbonite, which is also available as a separate Annual Passholder-exclusive pin. Last year the Passholder pin response was incredible it sold out the very first weekend. We doubled the edition size this time ... the sculpted details and character resemblance are remarkable. Even though we've limited the edition to 250, the jumbo pin gives non-Passholders an opportunity to collect their own miniature Han Solo in Carbonite."
Another hot item is the Disney Vacation Club Member-exclusive pin, featuring an unpublished version of the Star Wars Weekend logo that wasn't used for the official design. "We repurposed the art since it tied in so nicely with the tauntauns and wampa from the ice planet Hoth. Although Star Wars Weekends have existed for many years, this is the first time we've offered Vacation Club Members an exclusive pin."
Steven's also jazzed about event-specific pin sets that he describes as "good, better, best." "There are eight different pins that can be purchased individually and feature various 'Star Wars' characters (Vader, Boba Fett, Lando, Chewbacca, C3PO, etc.) and scenes like the Battle of Hoth, Jedi training, and a light saber duel. There's also a 200-edition-size collectors' box set that includes those eight pins plus a bonus AT-AT/snowspeeder pin. Serious collectors will want the framed set that also includes a second bonus Yoda pin ... we've only produced 200 of these as well, but it's the ultimate, must-have 'master' set."
Can't get enough? Another box set features various "Star Wars" characters with their related vehicles which, Steven says, is especially exciting because the film has so many. "There's Boba Fett and his ship Slave I, AT-ATs, snowspeeders, and others. They were designed as real depictions of 'Star Wars' characters -- not 'Mickey dressed as' -- and come in a six-pin box set." Speaking of the world's most famous mouse, Jedi Mickey's new droid, R2-MK, will make his debut both as a pin and an action figure as part of the open-edition series.
Two of the souvenir shops will be revamped for this Tatooine takeover. Logo items will take over the Dark Side Depot (aptly named as it's supposedly located on the "dark side of the Park" as well as being adjacent to Darth Vader's meet 'n' greet), while limited-edition collectibles can be found at Boba's Bounty.
Steven, a self-admitted "Star Wars" fan, explains why the event is such a hit. "It's the storytelling that makes Guests really feel like they're part of an immersive experience. They love putting on their costumes and living in the 'Star Wars' galaxy ... even if it's just for a day."
Break out your stormtrooper helmets, head over to Disney's Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends, and "Let the Force be with you!"
Posted 19 May 2010 - 11:30 AM