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Changes to Star Wars Weekends

What in the World?
A weekly peek at Walt Disney World

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Return of Star Wars Weekends in May
2009 is not even a week old yet and we still have some news about Star Wars Weekends.  According to the Walt Disney World Cast Member publication Eyes and Ears, Star Wars Weekends will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 22 – June 14, 2009.  This would be a change from the past two years where the popular event was held throughout the month of June.  If these dates are in fact confirmed by Disney, this move back to May would be a major breath of fresh air for those of us intending to return to Star Wars Weekends this year.

Having half of Star Wars Weekends in May is important in two major respects: crowds and weather.  As all of you know, June is the start of summer in Walt Disney World.  With the majority of schools out for the summer, families pack up the Family Truckster and head down to Orlando for a vacation.  With an increase in people in the park, we’re talking about long lines for everything in the park.  Last year, for example, if you wanted to go to Weekend Four of Star Wars Weekends, you’d be hitting the park shortly before Independence Day (arguably the busiest time of the year) with not only your fellow Star Wars fan at the turnstiles, but a mass of people there just to see Mickey and friends. 

By splitting the event in May and June, you allow Star Wars fans more flexibility in picking a weekend to come.  While some might opt for a June weekend because of their child’s school schedule, others may opt for a weekend in May in order to minimize the crowds they encounter.  And while I know that crowds increase in size from Memorial Day Weekend and on, there is a significant difference in crowds from say the end of May compared to the end of June.  The former is simply not as congested with guests as the end of June is.  And that may be appealing to some when planning their Star Wars Weekend excursion. 

The second reason why this is a big deal is the weather.  Last year, I did a couple of live blogs from the Studios.  I would say that nearly half of every entry I made commented on the heat and humidity and how fortunate I was to find a tree, an umbrella, or some cold beverage.  Let’s face it, the summer months are awfully hot and humid in Orlando.  While May is no winter wonderland, there is always the chance of a cooler temperature, a nice breeze, or some sort of cold front sweeping through the park.  Well, when the event was exclusively in June, there was no chance for a weather reprieve.  Waiting in line for a Fastpass to see a celebrity can be brutal at the end of June.  In other words, I would rather take my chances with the weather in May than in June.

Concerns About This Year’s SWW
Despite my elation over the change in dates, I still have some serious reservations about Star Wars Weekends.  I recently had a discussion with our resident Dark Lord of the Sith (aka Colin, who will return this year to write blogs over at our SWW site) about this year’s Star Wars Weekends and we had a big question about this year’s event:  What exactly will be the draw this year?  In years past, SWW has coincided with the release of one of the prequels, or like last year, for example, SWW centered around the release of Star Wars: the Clone Wars animated television series.  But what exactly will draw people in or be the central theme this year?  In 2009, we don’t have much to look forward to.  While there has been talk about a live action television series for some time, it is unlikely it will premiere until sometime in 2010 or 2011 (if at all).  And while the Star Wars Expanded Universe continues to grow with books covering every possible period in the Star Wars universe, it does not have the mainstream appeal like a movie or a television series would have. 

And of course, there is a question about which celebrities will make an appearance in 2009.  While I’m sure there will be perennial favorites attending, like Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett) and Jeremy Bulloch (old Boba Fett), who, if any, new stars will make their way to SWW?  Last year, David Prowse (Darth Vader) was scheduled for Weekend Two.  And while I got in line at about 5 or 6 am for his Fastpass, there were so many people wanting his autograph that I wasn’t even close to getting one.  Will 2009 bring someone new to the Studios?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Happy Two Years with Studios Central!
Instead of figuring out a coherent way to end this article about Star Wars Weekends, I thought I’d conclude by officially marking my second full year here at Studios Central.  It’s been a fun-filled year working for the site, especially since moving to the Orlando area.  I’m looking forward to 2009, and hope that I can continue to contribute any way that I can to the success of Studios Central.  Here’s to another great year!