Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on Star Wars Weekends...

First off...WOW!  I hadn't been to SWW in about six years, and I could not believe how much more crowded and popular the event had gotten.  Back in the day, when I went, there were a few limited edition pin sets, and now there is an entire "Darth Maul!"  Six years ago, you had to get outside an hour before hand to make sure to get an autograph, and now, people are getting there at 3 AM to get wrist bands and fast passes for a guaranteed meet and greet!

Based on that, my first tip for anyone visiting is GET THERE EARLY, especially if you want to get an autograph!  And I don't mean an hour early--I mean EARLY.  Especially if you are visiting on a weekend with a "big star."  Darth Maul and Boba Fett were on our weekend, so the lines were extremely long. It didn't help that DM was only doing one session a day, whereas most stars do at least two.  The lines for both celebrities were outside the gates, and wrist bands were available for a guaranteed meet and greet.  You could opt to wait stand by, but if you did that, there were no guarantees.  You could waste a large chunk of your day hoping to get to see someone only to find out it wasn't going to happen.

 My second tip is HAVE PATIENCE.  Lines are long, unless you get there right at opening.  If you get there after 11, expect extremely long waits.

There were 3 lines outside the gates.  Two were for the two different celebrities and one was for the exclusive merchandise.  We were there on day 1 and day 2 of the event.  The line for the merchandise was a 2 hour wait most of the first day.  On the 2nd day, there was no wait to get in to the merchandise tent.  But the line to check out was about an hour.  If you are wanting one of the special name tags, expect at least an hour.  If you are wanting to do the storm trooper or the carbonite figures, make an appointment.  People without a reservation were not getting in.

Lines for characters are (surprise!) long.  We went to Chewy first thing and waited.  The park opened at 8, and he didn't come out until 9:40.  Because of his delay, we were lucky and were given a "front of the line pass" to see any other character.  We chose Darth Vader.  Word on the street was Chewy and Darth were the longest waits, though it seemed to me SW Minnie and Mickey were the longest.  At peak times, you are easily looking at 2 hours to see your favs.  There are a few characters walking around--Storm and Clone troopers, Sand People, and Jawas.  However, they don't come out until after 11.

Crowd at park opening--MADHOUSE!  
Another change that was a "thumbs down" in my opinion was the switching of characters.  What do I mean by this?  Take C3PO and R2D2.  They were inside the merchandise tent and were routinely switched with Luke.  There was absolutely no schedule as to who would be inside the tent at what time.  We waited three times, and wound up with Luke every time.  It was very frustrating.  It was the same way with Boba and Jengo.  If you were in a 30 minute line, waiting to get Boba, he might leave before you got to the front.  The last time I went each character had a specific schedule so you knew when you had to be there to get each one.  Much easier for the guests and much less frustrating.  We never did get Boba or C3PO and R2.
Our son, Camp, with Darth Vader

I will say that every character played their part and did a great job.  It was hotter than Hades out there and they were all jumping around, posing, and interacting with guests.

We didn't do either of the shows, because again, the waits were ridiculous, and it was too hot to stand outside in line with a 7 month old who inherited his Dad's pasty skin.

We did get a special Darth Vader cupcake inside the merchandise tent that was unbelievably delicious.  And my husband did pay to have a storm trooper made in his likeness.  Yes, we had an appointment.  We didn't buy any exclusive merchandise, as the storm trooper was his big splurge.
Vader Cake

Oh, and if you get a chance spend some time watching the characters at the opening of the park and on the stage in front of the Sorcerer Hat.  The storm troopers are especially funny.  I love how the writers gave them so much personality!

Good luck, and may the force be with you!

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