This post isn’t about reading. It’s about what kept me from reading in the month of May! Last fall, I decided to become a Disney World Annual Passholder. There’s been a bunch of things I always wanted to do at Disney, but I haven’t had the time or money to do them because I was always going to stadiums. Last summer, I finished going to all the active MLB stadiums (woo!) and decided I wanted to go to Braves Spring Training this year. Since I was already going to Disney in November with my BFF Kristin, an annual pass just seemed to make sense. It then morphed into 80 bajillion trips this year. We did a week with free dining in November, I went back for my birthday in January (part of the trip was with Kristin’s family at OKW and part at Animal Kingdom Lodge with a stop at Universal’s Cabana Bay in the middle), and I went down for a week in March for Spring Training (this time at Pop Century with a couple nights at Universal’s Royal Pacific to start the week). That brings us to May and STAR WARS WEEKENDS!
I’m a huge Star Wars fan (obviously) and really wanted to go down last year to see the Clone Wars actors Weekend 5, but decided it was too much money. I’d just gotten back from San Francisco and Anaheim/Disneyland, so it made sense not to go, but I am still a little sad I missed it. So this year, I was determined to go and have lots of fun! I ended up going the first 3 weekends. I would love to have gone all 5, but wow – I never imagined how tired I would be with all the travel back and forth and working during the week and going to baseball games. It was exhausting! Next year, if I do more than 1 weekend, I’m going to spread it out more, I think. We’ll see. I may end up living at Disney for 5 weeks. (Ha, no, I won’t. But I can dream, right?)
So anyway, here are random thoughts on various aspects of SWW from my perspective.
Galactic Gathering and Darth’s Mall:
This was a merchandise event the Thursday before Weekend 1. It cost extra money to get in, but you got the first shot at all the merchandise, plus the opportunity to shop with smaller crowds than a normal SWW day. You could pre-order some limited edition stuff and some items were specific to the event. It was a neat experience, but probably not one I’ll do again. I spent way too much money in Darth’s Mall! First, you pre-pay for the pre-ordered stuff and then there are three different shops in the “mall.” My budget kind of fell apart because I spent too much money each place. :) Plus the GG lanyard meant I didn’t have to wait in line to get into the mall at other times, so it was really easy to pop in and spend more money. Oh Disney, I’ll just send you the next few paychecks, okay?
But I did get a lot of fun stuff. I was super happy to be able to try on Her Universe stuff before buying it. It really helped with sizes because their stuff can be all over the place. I also got some pins, a couple lightsabers, Stitch as Yoda plush, and an Ewok plush. The last two made great pillows at various times during the weekends and on planes. I think I am going to put some of the extra limited edition stuff up on eBay. The lightsaber Magic Band is cool, but I probably won’t wear it much because I already have MBs I’ve decorated and love to wear and I love the new Luke pilot band.
I also enjoyed meeting a couple authors and getting books signed. I met Jason Fry and Tricia Barr. They were both really cool.
I did D-Tech Me during the Gathering. It is really cool to have an X-wing pilot figure of myself, but it is also kind of weird. I hate the hair on it. I didn’t really like any of the hair options for women. So the hair is strange and makes the figure look more like my grandmother than me. :)
Celebrities and Autographs:
Lots of cool people come to SWW, which was great. Getting autographs is a lot less great. You have to get in line super early in the morning for a lot of them and you don’t have a lot of control on what time you’ll get, which can mess up other plans. Weekend 3 I really wanted to meet Warwick Davis and Steve Blum, but I also wanted and needed more sleep and didn’t end up meeting either of them. That was a little disappointing, but I’ll live. But it was super cool to meet the ones I did! Weekend 1, I met Tiya Sircar and Ashley Eckstein. Weekend 2, I met Vanessa Marshall. They were all really fun and cool. I loved being able to tell them how much I love their characters and they were all really excited to talk about them. And I met Ashley’s husband David in Darth’s Mall with the Her Universe stuff. He was one of my favorite baseball players for a while. We talked about my favorite scrappy Braves infielders Mark Lemke and Rafael Belliard. It was cool.
Feel the Force Package:
I did the Deluxe Premium package twice – the Saturdays of Weekend 1 and Weekend 3. It was really cool to do the first weekend, but ended up being unnecessary the second time. I loved the spot for the parade viewing and being able to walk right up to the stage for the show at the end. I loved the snacks and water that was available and not fighting for a spot to watch the parade. Weekend 3 I was very grateful for the umbrellas when there was a little rainstorm right before the parade. But I am not a huge parade person, so the second viewing wasn’t really needed.
This package included access to all the shows, which was awesome. Weekend 1, I went to all the shows with the pass, but Weekend 3 I used FPs to spread them out on all three days, which worked just as well. The seating for the package is right up front and great, though. Between the package and FPs, I was really happy to never have to stand in the standby line for any of the shows.
The final part of the package was a dessert party prior to the fireworks. This was okay. It was nice to have a spot without waiting forever and food and drinks were nice, but probably not worth the cost. The view of the pre-show was really cool, but it was a little too close to the stage for the fireworks. The second time, my table was more off to the side, which helped with the view. I really loved the fireworks. They were amazing and I love the music anyway, so I was doubly happy. I did watch the fireworks from Yulady’s spot farther back Weekend 2 and thought it was much better than the package area. But the package has to balance the preshow and the view for the fireworks, so they can’t be perfect for both. Overall, I was happy with the package. It was a great deal, especially for what it cost compared to the VIP tour.
Star Wars Themed Meals:
I did two of the three Star Wars meals, the Galactic Breakfast and the Rebel Hanger. I had an ADR for Jedi Mickey’s dinner, but ended up cancelling it because it was super easy to meet all the characters in the park without spending money on a meal I may not eat (I’m not a big fan of buffets).
The breakfast was really cool. I was sad that Vader didn’t sign there, but I ended up meeting him elsewhere. I was completely freaked out by Boba Fett. NOT A FAN. Vader didn’t bother me that day, but did when I met him later. Who knows what kicks off my irrational fear of people in masks/helmets? Anyway, I did get a fun picture with them. Inside the restaurant was really cool. I loved watching the trailers and clips on the big movie screen. The characters that walked around were cool. I was annoyed the stormtrooper wouldn’t sign my lightsaber, but Greedo did and I traded with the jawas. That was fun. The food was awesome too, and they would give you more if you asked. I ended eating enough to not even notice I skipped lunch driving home that day.
The Rebel Hanger was one of the best parts of SWW. The food was great and the themed drinks were awesome! I wish I could have another Rebel Red. The X-wing and Millennium Falcon glow cubes were amazing. I have arts and crafts plans for those. At first, the characters would come in, go to a few tables and then leave. I didn’t like that, but they changed it so the characters came in and walked around and if you wanted to meet them, you had to initiate it. I liked that a lot more. I finally got to meet Ezra and Sabine! I really hope the Rebel Hanger sticks around.
So this final section is really about meeting characters, but before I get to that, I have to say that meeting people from the Disboards was awesome! I really enjoyed getting to know Yulady and Stephanie and loved seeing familiar faces all over the park. It definitely made me feel less like I was traveling alone. I am glad I was able to share stories with people that understood it instead of gushing to my family while I looked at me like I’m crazy. (That never happens, of course…)
So characters – I like meeting characters in theory, but in reality, I hate lines and am super awkward. But I still had a ton of fun meeting Star Wars characters. It was cool. There were only a couple lines where I was too hot and unhappy, but usually they weren’t that bad. I liked that they had umbrellas out over some of them, or the line was somewhat shaded. The biggest annoyance was that there’s usually several characters rotating in one spot, so it can be tough to meet the ones you want, particularly when you’ve already met most of the other characters in that spot. Also, all these pictures made it clear that my bangs can’t handle being sweaty. They just don’t recover well. :|
So here are my pictures from Memory Maker in basically the order I met everyone. I am glad I had multiple days and was able to spread out the lines. That’s probably a big reason why the lines didn’t bother me as much – I didn’t stand in a ton each day.
First up was the Chewy Run to meet Chewbacca and Logray without a long wait. I would have loved to have met Wicket, but I wasn’t going to stand in an hour+ line to do it!
Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy!
The Chipwoks! I have another picture where everyone is looking at the camera, but I love this one of me laughing and Chip taking over my personal space. They loved my shirt.
My first super awkward meeting of the day! I got so flustered talking to Anakin. We were talking about how my lightsaber was green. He said it was like Master Yoda’s and I am pretty sure I said I was Yoda. IDK.
Jedi Mickey and Leia Minnie! They were fun to meet. The best part was when I was holding the lightsaber up for Mickey to sign, I wasn’t holding it high enough and said “I’m sorry – I am short!” and he cocked his head to one side like “And I’m not?” It was cute.
The last picture from Weekend 1 is Boba Fett and Darth Vader. At least you can’t tell how much I was freaking out in the picture.
Weekend 2 kicked off with Ahsoka and Cody. I am sad that Ahsoka didn’t have her eyes open in any of these pictures, but luckily she looks great in my one with Rex, so that’s good. This was the line where I was way too hot, so I am glad I don’t look too rough in the picture.
Leia. I think we talked it being as hot as Tattooine.
Luke. I liked the other friend of Luke more than I liked this Ken Doll Luke, but he was nice. We talked about how his lightsaber was his father’s and was blue, but maybe someday he’ll make a green one because he really likes green.
There were a couple Magic Shots available. The force push with the troopers is my favorite!
But fighting Vader isn’t bad. I look very tough.
Meeting Vader. SO MUCH AWKWARDNESS. It was funny because he wanted me to hand him the pin and the saber, but I didn’t understand. It took me a minute.
Amidala was a bit awkward too because I didn’t have a ton to say to her. If she’d been from a later movie, I would have had more, but I don’t like or remember the Phantom Menace that much. We talked about Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber.
MACE! He’s gorgeous. He was fun to talk to.
REXXXXXXXXXXXXXX! I was really excited to meet him. I wasn’t expecting Ahsoka to be there as well, but she came out right when I got to the front of the line and I was the first person to meet them together. I really loved the friend of Ahsoka. She was great.
And the best meet of all! The Droids! I like this Luke better. I should have stood by him instead of awkwardly by Leia. Awkward is my specialty though.