If there's one thing that has been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to special events at Walt Disney World, it's been not having enough advanced noticed for events. Typically Disney offers just a few months lead time before an event actually occurs and additional information beyond the dates usually are even later. So it was to my great surprise and delight yesterday when I saw the 2010 Star Wars Weekend dates had been announced. As easy as it is to slam Disney when they are wrong, I had to take a moment to applaud Disney for finally getting information for a popular event like Star Wars Weekends out in advance.
In the past, we've had to wait until late January or February for the Star Wars Weekend dates to be announced. One year, it was President's Week before we heard the exact date and I found it incredibly frustrating as a guest to plan my trip if I didn't at the very least have dates for the event. Because Star Wars Weekend dates have changed quite a bit over the last 4 years or so, with the event being held in May and June, then one year June only and now back to May and June, it's been increasingly more difficult to know if the event will be held and when. Considering that the Memorial Day holiday falls in those dates as well as the ever popular beginning of summer in June, you can't simply purchase airfare for a weekend blindly and hope for the best.
Luckily for us this year, we have the information well in advance of when the event will be held and confirmation that Star Wars Weekends will be around once more. It seems every year there is a rumor that Star Wars Weekends may not return this year for some crazy reason and every year the event returns (with the notable exception of 2002, when Star Wars Weekends was not held). There is little doubt that Star Wars Weekends remains a very popular event and this year will be a little different than previous years. Actually, it will be a lot different. In addition to Star Wars Weekends in May and June, Star Wars buffs can come back to Orlando in August for the official Celebration event, which Lucas Film hosts and this year it is going to be in Orlando. As soon as the news of Celebration being held in Orlando was announced, there's been speculation that Star Wars Weekends would have to be different to compete/catch up.
While we don't yet have any information on which celebrities will be attending Star Wars Weekends or what events will be held, Disney did mention that guests can "expect a lot of surprises at this year’s event". What that means, is anyone's guess and very likely could simply be marketing hype but anyone who is a fan of Star Wars Weekends knows that things can change from year to year and there's certainly the possibility of something new coming our way.
This year's event will be significant in that this will be the last year of Star Tours as we know it. In October 2010, Star Tours will close to make way for Star Tours 2, which is slated to open sometime in 2011. Perhaps it will be ready by Star Wars Weekends 2011 or perhaps the new attraction will take longer to complete, but fans of the original will get one last chance to experience this attraction with other Star Wars fans this year.
With Christmas just a few days away, I'm hoping this isn't the last gift Santa has brought to us Star Wars Weekends afficiandos and that we can hopefully receive more information on what to expect sooner, rather than later. Be sure to keep tabs on the Star Wars Weekend section of Studios Central for any and all updates as they come in. Kudos to Disney for getting us this essential information extra early this year and I'm already looking forward to what 2010 has in store for us!