#30: Star Wars Weekend 2013

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End of a long day at Star Wars Weekend 2013
End of a long day at Star Wars Weekend 2013

I was lucky enough to overlap my early summer 2013 trip to Walt Disney World with Star Wars Weekends.  I covered Star Wars Weekends at Disney Hollywood Studios in detail last year; in fact, l dedicated two full video episodes of Sam’s Disney Diary.  The first one focused on the Legends of the Force Motorcade (#14), and the second video on Hyper Space Hoopla (#15), the nightly Star Wars Character Dance Off.  So rather than rehash everything, I’ll focus on what’s new for 2013.  You can find all of the details in my Star Wars Weekend 2012 Blog with both videos here.

Sams Disney Diary The Video: Episode #30

The biggest difference from 2012 to 2013 is the Disney Company acquisition of Lucas Films, making the Star Wars characters part of the Disney family.  If you follow the Disney Company news, you’re aware of the acquisition.  It wasn’t noticeable at the event which is the way it should be.

"Legends of the Force" Motorcade and Celebrity Welcome, Jedi Mickey leads the parade.
“Legends of the Force” Motorcade and Celebrity Welcome, Jedi Mickey leads the parade.

On my side, I made an investment in a SLR Digital Camera; I’ve posted some of my better pictures in the slide show below and in the video edition of this blog.  I need to upgrade my video equipment now 😉

"Legends of the Force" Motorcade and Celebrity Welcome,
“Legends of the Force” Motorcade and Celebrity Welcome,

A few of the differences I spotted: (by no means is this a holistic list of changes, just what was noticeable in my eyes)

New Maps:  Star Wars Weekends maps have taken on the same style as the updated park maps. Meaning, the orientation of Hollywood Studios is different than usual and takes a little getting used to.  If you’re familiar with the My Disney Experience maps, it will be familiar.  The maps are also updated every weekend; I attended Weekend 4, June 7-9, 2013.

New parade route and time:  Back in March, Disney cancelled the “Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun” afternoon parade; rumor has it Disney is doing some backstage construction making it difficult for the floats to maneuver backstage.  To accommodate the backstage construction, the “Legends of the Force” Motorcade has been combined with the Celebrity Welcome and moved to 11:00am.  The parade route travels down Hollywood Boulevard where the celebrities are introduced.  After introduction, the celebrities’ cars and parade vehicles travel back down Hollywood Boulevard.  The change provides an opportunity to view the parade again with a much smaller crowd.

Jedi Mickey making his first appearance on the Hyper Space Hoopla Stage.
Jedi Mickey making his first appearance on the Hyper Space Hoopla Stage.

Hyper Space Hoopla:  Two new characters that hadn’t participated in Hoopla in the past, at least not that I’m aware of:    Lando Calrissian, I’m not sure if that had anything to do with Billy Dee Williams appearing this year…could be.   And Jedi Mickey, making a triumphant entrance at the end of Hyper Space Hoopla!  That appearance was possibly enabled via the Lucas Films acquisition.  I’m not aware of any other classic Disney character appearing on stage with the Star Wars characters.  Mickey’s appearance was definitely one of those Disney WOW moments… even had goose bumps.  Here’s hoping it keeps that same feeling and doesn’t get to feel “overdone” in future SWW.

Darth’s Mall was once again near the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, a temporary merchandise location in what is typically a cast member parking lot.  Of course, there were lots of limited edition merchandise available and some new experiences.

Lando Calrissian make an appearance at 2013 Hyper Space Hoopla, Billie Dee Williams was one of the celebrity guests.
Lando Calrissian make an appearance at 2013 Hyper Space Hoopla, Billie Dee Williams was one of the celebrity guests.

Angry Birds Star Wars Experience:  It was a play area where you could take aim against the Galactic Empire Angry Birds.  Grab an Angry Birds shooter and see if you can hit the target.  Nothing too exciting here, but something for the kids.

Star Wars Lego Center: You can help build the Lego mural celebrating the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi.  While you’re at it, kids of all ages can customize a Star Wars vehicle in the nearby Lego stations.

The D-Tech Me Storm Trooper experience.
The D-Tech Me Storm Trooper experience.

D-Tech Me Experience: Disney D-Tech Me was back once again, this time located inside Darth’s Mall.  Last year, I participated in the Carbon Freeze Me Experience at the Carbon Freeze Chamber in ABC Sound Studio (that location was being used for a Limited-Time-Magic “Lone Ranger” Preview).  This year, it was a Storm Trooper Experience.  It’s the same technology covered back in Sams Disney Diary Episode #25 D-Tech Me Princess.  The theming wasn’t as immersive as the Carbon Freeze Me Experience, but it appeared to be crowded.   The Storm Trooper Experience did showcase both men and women figurines, something missing from last year when the target audience appeared to be men and boys.  Pricing was in line with prior years, but I did not participate this year.  My investment in the Carbon Freeze Me Experience is still sitting in a box on a shelf… no need to add to that collection – Maybe next year.

New for 2013... Star Wars / Cars! Combine classic Star Wars Characters with Disney/Pixar Cars.. and you get... Fillmore as Yoda, Matter as Darth Vader, and Lightning McQueen as Luke Skywalker.
New for 2013… Star Wars / Cars! Combine classic Star Wars Characters with Disney/Pixar Cars.. and you get… Fillmore as Yoda, Matter as Darth Vader, and Lightning McQueen as Luke Skywalker.

Star Wars/Cars:  Disney has long combined franchises as with The Muppets and Star Wars, for example.  This year, Star Wars Weekends introduced the combination of Star Wars & Disney Cars.  How about Lightning McQueen as Luke Skywalker or Mater as Darth Vader?   Move over Muppets, the Cars are on a roll.  If you’re a Muppets fan, don’t worry, there were plenty of new Muppet / Star Wars merchandise. Beaker as C3PO…it doesn’t get any better in my book.

Annual Pass Holder T-shirts: SWW has long included Annual Pass Holder exclusive merchandise but mostly pins.  For 2013, an Annual Pass Holder t-shirt was added.

There are lots of photos in the photo gallery, and be sure to check out Sams Disney Diary Episode #30, the video edition with a complete Hyper Space Hoopla.  Both are below.

To get all of the latest videos, be sure to subscribe to youtube.com/SamsDisneyDiary.  You’ll also get my latest video series SamsDisneyDiary in the WDWFanZone.  The full blog is at SamsDisneyDiary.com, and you can get all the updates by following me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary.

Lots of Pictures from Star Wars Weekend 2013…  Tweet me if you like!!! @SamsDisneyDiary

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2 comments on “#30: Star Wars Weekend 2013”

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