So before going I started researching. It definitely got me excited. I mean I knew how much my then 4 year old son would love it. My research started with www.disboards.com. There are many posters there that had been going to Star Wars Weekends (SWW) for many years and were well informed on all the ins and outs. The thread grew to over 100 pages! But I learned all I needed to know. I'm going to share some of that with you!
First - Hollywood Studios while posted that it opens at 8AM on the days of SWW actually starts letting people in around 7:30AM. Before letting people in Storm Troopers come in on top of the ticket entrances and do a little show - very fun! Kids (and grown ups too!) really enjoyed it! We arrived to the park via our car around 7:15AM and there was already a huge crowd!
EDIT: Starting in 2013 the Stormtrooper opening was within the park gates!!!
Second - Upon entrance split up. Send one adult to get fastpasses for Toy Story Mania. The other parent take the kids and get lined up for Jedi Training. This is me assuming that (a) you have children between 4 and 12 and (b) that since you are there for SWW you are indeed a big enough fan that your child would want to do Jedi Training! Now during the rest of the year Jedi Training sign ups are set up back in the old Sounds Dangerous attraction, BUT during SWW, at least last year, it was in Indiana Jones. ALWAYS double check with a cast member that you are headed the right way! Now Jedi Training during the regular part of the year is only against Darth Vader, but during SWW your child will possibly fight either - Darth Vader, Ventress or Darth Maul. It is random, you cannot request who you get. Trust me, we tried! My son wanted Darth Maul!
EDIT: No Longer need to run off for fastpasses now that legacy fastpass is gone. Book your Fastpass+ and also head over if there is a short line to get a ride on TSMM before the crowds pick up!
Third - The parade is a lot of fun, but HOT!!! It usually takes place at noon and it is on Hollywood Blvd...aka the main street. Looking at the hat - the left side is shaded, but not completely, the right side is pure sun. Bring an umbrella and a mister fan and set up shop about 1 hour before if you want to actually see anything without standing on your tippy toes and staring at the back of a guy in a Star Wars costume! To get a shaded spot, plan to find one way earlier than 1 hour before.
EDIT: 2014 parade is set for 11:30AM
Fourth - The merchandise tent is back by Rockin Roller Coaster. They open the gates up, that is usually a parking area for cast members, and put up a HUGE tent full of Star Wars merchandise. The first weekend this area is INSANE. I wasn't there, but that is what I heard via reports of those there on disboards.com I think it gets better after the first day, but we are talking hours long lines just to get in! We were there the last weekend and walked right in no problem. Plus to the last weekend - the final day merchandise is discounted! Major plus - it is air conditioned!!!!
EDIT: 2014 merchandise is set to be back by Toy Story Mania in one of the Backlot buildings. Unsure if the tent will be used by Rockin Roller Coaster. I have heard it will still be set up, but will be used for character meets - I know I read that there is possibility of the Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Donald as Star Wars Characters being there...
Fifth - Check out www.kennythepirate.com. He posts all the times and where to find the characters. It was dead on and allowed us to have my son meet many of his favorites! He posts for all characters, not just SWW characters.
We didn't do the Hyperspace Hoopla, but I have heard it is a lot of fun. However, you can't see well unless you are right up front, like first row. And to get that you must get a spot about 2 hours prior! Now people have said to watch on the American Idol screen and it is just as good. Like I said we skipped this in favor of characters and rides!
EDIT: As of 2014 SWW Hyperspace Hoopla has been retired. Being replaced by Symphony in the Sky Fireworks
Here are some photos of my kids meeting some of the MANY characters we met. My son was in Star Wars Heaven!!
|With Luke...his favorite good guy!|
|With Darth Maul...notice how scared they both are. They won't go too close!|
|Ok I get the Fetts mixed up, but this is one of them and they are his favorite bad guys!|
|Caught up with a Storm (that's right, isn't it?) Trooper patroling the streets!|
|One of the LONGEST lines. I sat in it while the kids rode Star Tours. Only can meet them both in the afternoon. Chewy is by himself in the mornings The line is long due to frequent breaks due to the heat!|
|In awe...C3PO was talking to them. Probably my favorite meet and greet. Long visit and interactive!|
So there you have it! I will probably think of more as I hopefully plan our next SWW trip for 2013! If and when I do, I will post SWW part 2!
Be sure to share your tips and/or questions in the comments below!
Don't forget the current promo encompasses the dates for SWW, so book with me today!!
Have a Disney Day!!