Reviews of Star Wars Weekends (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
Reviewed by Time2Talk Review Date: 06/15/2014
Rating: (10) Recommended
Loved going during Star Wars weekend recently. I had so much fun riding Star Tours with Star Wars fans. Enjoyed seeing all of the characters. Lines to get pictures with characters were long. Ok, I did several selfie type pictures with the characters in the background! Lines for the rides weren't long at all. It was fun watching the parade with so many other fans of Star Wars. I would definitely go again during a Star Wars weekend.
Pros:Seeing characters from movie
Reviewed by dcdeb Review Date: 06/11/2014
Rating: (8) Recommended
I've attended Star Wars Weekends off and on over the years it's been offered and the crowds seem to grow larger every year. To see any of the celebrities or get autographs you have to be there insanely early, which is a real negative. However, with FastPass+ this year, I was able to reserve a spot to see Mark Hamill in his interview session, which was very convenient -- eliminated waiting somewhat, although I still lined up about 45 minutes before showtime, to try to get a better seat. One tip: Make sure you're waiting in the correct line for any of these events. There are FastPass+ lines and standby lines, and sometimes it's not easy to tell them apart -- you don't want to spent an hour in the wrong queue, so ask if you're not sure! Aside from seeing the celebs, there are so many characters around the Echo Lake side of the park now -- the lines for to get photos with them are long, but just seeing them mingling about is a lot of fun. If you're a Star Wars fan, it's definitely worth a visit to the park during this event.
Pros:Chance to see Star Wars celebrities and characters
Cons:Crowds and long lines
Reviewed by hello12345 Review Date: 06/02/2014
Rating: (9) Recommended
We visited on the Friday and Saturday of 3rd weekend. Arrived at entrance by 7:15am both days. Started letting guests in at 7:35-7:40. The Stormtrooper pre-show was 5 minutes and the rope dropped by 7:50ish. It helps to do your homework and find out where your favorite characters will be. Most come out at 8:00am. Some of the most popular were Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Disney characters inside the Mall, and Luke/C3PO/R2D2. Other characters stagger times and come out at 9, 9:30, 10:00. If you know your times and locations you can see all your favorites. Maybe not all in one day though.
I would recommend doing Jedi Training on a non-star wars weekend. If you get to entrance by 7:15-7:30 you shouldn't have a problem getting signed up. The chaos of it all is not worth it and the actual show is no different.
Darth's Mall has been moved to the vacant building next to Toy Story. Can't really tell if this location is any bigger than the big tent next to Rockin Roller Coaster. Still plenty of pins and other merhcandise still available on 3rd weekend. I had no problem getting in around 9am on Friday. Went back around 8:30pm and it was almost empty. Saturday there was a line outside all morning-afternoon.
I have found the best plan is to visit 2 days, get there at opening, and only stay until 12pm-1pm. We have went to this in 2010, 2012, 2013, and now 2014. It appears to be getting a little more organized. I do wish Disney would do a better job posting character locations throughout the park. The app was vague and sometimes incorrect.
The fireworks show at 9:30pm was probably the best show Disney has offered. I'm not a fan of laser/firework shows either. It was worth the trip back to the park to see the show.
People start claiming spots on the parade route when the park opens. Not sure if the parade is worth that nonsense.
I'm pretty sure a Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios would have been a better option than the Avatar land at Animal Kingdom.
Pros:Getting more organized
Reviewed by Fitzboyzmom Review Date: 05/30/2014
Rating: (9) Recommended
We really enjoyed this. When we made our reservations for vacation, we had no idea that Star Wars weekends was during the time we were going. We almost stayed away because we were concerned about the crowds. We did not do a whole lot of planning or try to get into events and get autographs, but think we will return and do that. We thought the whole thing was really cool.
Some suggestions on Darth's Mall. We went by early and the lines were ridiculous. We went back right before the parade and there was a 10 minute wait. Came back in the evening and there was no wait. For those of us who want some cool stuff, and maybe have more than one day there (do the parade the second day), go when others are not around. We were there for the second weekend and there seemed to be a lot of merchandise available.
We hope to come back again.
Reviewed by momof3inMadisonAL Review Date: 07/05/2013
Rating: (10) Recommended
Love Love Love SWW! and I am not a big Star Wars fan (kids are). Love to dress up but wish it just wasn't so HOT. Kids usually would start the morning in costume and would shed it by 10am.
MUST get there early. Yes, EARLY. We were there everyday of Memorial Day weekend at 7:15am. Park opens at 7:30 and it's a mad rush to Jedi Training and characters. (We weren't there for any celeb autographs). We were exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it paid off.
We were able to get A LOT done every morning by 10am. One morning did Jedi Training sign up while DH got FP for TSM and got in line for Vader. Then did Maul, and the Fetts. Then got our spot an hour ahead of time for the parade.
Another morning we got in line for PMC while DH got FP for TSM and in line for Chewbacca. Next morning we got in line for Jedi Mickey etc first thing.
Kids enjoyed meeting all the SW characters and especially trading with Jawas (which they did every day).
Sunday of Memorial day weekend was the worst crowds. So crowded that we could barely walk by TSM and waits were 120 mins and even Disney Junior had a queue, but we had most everything done by then. Met every character out in those 3 days except R2MK. Rode TSM and RnR every day. We go to WDW often so we weren't trying to do a lot of non SWW things. Restaurants were always crowded and we made a point to schedule TS every day for lunch. It's necessary that time of year to get out of the heat. And after our experience waiting an hour at a CS last year during SWW, we knew what to expect.
Watched HH 2 different nights in front of screen at AI. Trying to watch it on the stage is impossible if you have kids. My kids didn't seem to mind watching it on screen and they could sit down.
If you love Star Wars then it is a must. If you don't really care, then I'd recommend HS for a different day.
Pros:characters, parade, Hoopla
Cons:crowds in general but especially restaurants
Reviewed by OneLtlSpark Review Date: 06/17/2013
Rating: (6) Recommended
A Star Wars weekend just happened to be going on during our adults-only trip in early June, and it was a much bigger deal than we had expected. There were several high-profile autograph signings, characters, a parade, and Disney characters in Star Wars costumes (along with many fans wearing Star Wars costumes of their own). It was fun to see Chewbacca and ewoks walking around, along with Storm Troopers and others.
Lines for character pictures were outrageously long, as were lines for autographs. We're not big Star Wars fans, so we just had fun watching, but for the true fans, this event requires definite planning to make sure you get the most out of it. Apparently, Fast Passes are available in limited quantities for select autograph sessions and we noticed people lining up for photo ops long before the schedule time. The parade drew a massive crowd as well. We caught a good portion of the parade as it was shown on the large video monitor under Mickey's hat.
While this all made for a unique experience for us grown ups, we will avoid Star Wars weekends on any future trips. Fast Passes for all the popular rides were "sold" out before noon (thankfully, we were braced for this and secured Toy Story Mania passes first thing), and standby lines ranged from 90 - 120 minutes.
The worst of it though was attempting to navigate through stores, particularly ones with Star Wars merchandise. I had a heckofa time buying the R2D2-themed Mickey Mouse ears as a gift due to massive throngs of people, many of whom just weren't as considerate as they should have been.
I imagine dining options are limited too, without prior reservations. We camped out at the 50s Prime Time bar right when it opened, so we were quite comfortable there with cocktails and aps, but wow did we see tons of walk-ins turned away at the counter.
Best advice: plan, plan, plan for this event!
Pros:Fun to see characters from the movies
Reviewed by charlemonster Review Date: 06/04/2013
Rating: (10) Recommended
I attended Friday, May 31 of the 3rd weekend of 2013. I got to the park early about 7:30 am and the gates were already open with storm troopers inside heckling the guests. During the entire morning, it was easy to get on all the major rides (Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Toy Story, etc.) with 10 minutes or less of waiting on stand-by! That was a first for me! The only longish line was in Darth Mall for character photos, but it was worth it! The line took longer because the characters were chatting with every guest. C3-P0 sounded exactly right! I even got right in for the animation lesson in the early afternoon. The crowd level felt just right. Lots of energy and excitement, but easy to find places to stand and watch the Hoopla and the parade. Don't miss the special shows in the Premiere Theater with Star Wars actors. I saw three of the shows in one afternoon and all were excellent. There were empty seats in the back of the theater. If you want Star Wars merchandise, do buy it in the park. I was unable to find most of it anywhere else on property (like the photo frame). I asked cast members and only very limited merchandise was sent to other locations like Downtown Disney and the other parks. Star Wars weekends are a treat and worth trying! Just be sure to get there early.
Pros:special character photos, unique shows
Reviewed by hello12345 Review Date: 06/04/2013
Rating: (8) Recommended
This was a our second year in a row and third overall. We went in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Went this year during third weekend, May 31 and June 2. I noticed there was no banner this year out front like in years past. Storm Troopers were not on roof at entrance. Also in the past the storm troopers were patrolling near the Backlot tour area. We went two different days and did not see them. Lines for characters get long quick so get there early. Parade is hard to see if you don't camp out on curb an hour early. We went last year during the final weekend and logo pins were sold out. On Friday of week 3 this year I was told by a castmember that the logo pins were nearly all gone. Also no DVC Star Wars pin this year! Luke, Leia, R2D2, and C3PO were all in Darth's Mall. The Disney app will tell you a few hours in advance who will be out, but there is no posted schedule at location. We had to let people go in front of us in line so we could get pics with all characters at Darth's Mall. The interaction with the characters was great. It seams that Disney has downscaled this event in some aspects.
It might be time to make this a ticketed special event on at least one evening every weekend. They really need to limit the number of tickets sold to make it special. Not like the Christmas party at MK where they pack the park and call it a special event.
Reviewed by MM from Connecticut Review Date: 06/02/2013
Rating: (6) Recommended
This was our 2nd year in a row, and we attended the first Friday it opened -- huge crowds! We got there in time for the motorcade parade, but we couldn't see a thing and is very discouraging. Most of the characters dressed up are walking, so only people standing in the front rows can see the parade. If Disney would elevate the characters on floats, then everyone could see them. The Jedi Training was filled up fast, and there were always long lines for photos and autographs. The themed music and extra decorations and characters throughout the park are fun, but overall, it is really too crowded to enjoy. Even the Star Tours store is crazy crowded. We recommend doing any "must dos" (like SW photo opp) on the weekend and come back on Monday-Thursday for all other attractions and purchases.
Reviewed by JackM Review Date: 05/22/2010
Rating: (0) Recommended
This review of Star Wars Merchandise was sent in 5/21/10 from Chris:
I am sending this in the hopes it can help out some of your readers who are going to be attending Star Wars Weekends. After going through this today, I think it would be good to spread the word about the ridiculous change Disney made to the merchandise area this year.
Attending Star Wars Weekends for another year is always fun, and basically everything that applies to previous years regarding autographs, character greetings, the shows, etc. remains the same.
The only change, and it is a big one, is how the merchandise is being handled, and today I saw a lot of people end up spending a long time waiting in a line they didn't have to be on.
To make things easier, I will break down the merchandise into three categories:
General Merchandise - These are the Star Wars and Star Wars Weekend items that are available to everyone, and in plentiful supply.
Passholder Merchandise - These are the items that are only available to Disney Annual Passholders (or, in one case, Vacation Club Members).
Limited Merchandise - These are the items where you are restricted in the number you can buy, and there is a limited amount available.
In past years, Disney set up the merchandise in the large, warehouse-like "Hot Set" area. All the General Merchandise was spread out on the floor. The Passholder Merchandise was available at the multiple (I think over 15) registers by request. Limited Merchandise was off to the side, with a separate line to purchase, and you could approach the line (not crossing into it) and see the items.
For whatever reason, Disney decided to ditch this method and go with a different setup. The "Dark Side Depot", which is outdoors in what is normally a merchandise area has the same Star Wars items that are always available at Hollywood Studios, along with the Star Wars Weekend Event Shirts and Caps.
For everything else, you have to go to "Boba's Bounty" which is located in the air conditioned exit area of the Studio Backlot tour. Here's where the problem begins.
There is a long lineup area outside, then a line that works it's way through the inside area before emptying into the surprisingly small shop area. At the head of the line, a cast member lets people into the shop area "nightclub style" meaning they wait until people have exited and they feel there is sufficient room to let in more shoppers.
Inside the small shop area, you have to get on a short line to see and select the "Limited Merchandise" while the General Merchandise is spread out on the store floor, and the Passholder Merchandise is again at the registers (of which there are six).
Obviously, them using a smaller area and less registers is already going to cause a backup, but it gets worse because only two people are manning the Limited Merchandise area, making for slow going.
On top of that, many people waiting on line might have no interest in the Limited Edition items, but they still end up waiting on this line, just to be able to go grab General Merchandise or go to the registers to get Passholder Merchandise.
To their (slight) credit, Disney did have a cast member occasionally come out and state that if someone only wanted General Merchandise, they could be pulled from the line and let into the store (this was only to those waiting on line on the "inside" not those still lined up outside the doors).
However, I saw this lead to at least once instance where a person was allowed in, and then they walked over and got in the line for the Limited Merchandise (hardly fair to the others).
There was also confusion over whether those who wanted Passholder Merchandise had to stay in the line, or if they could be "bumped up" and allowed in the store (which they could be, since that merchandise was at the registers, not the Limited Merchandise table).
To give you an idea of how bad the line got, we had a one hour wait outside (and this was DURING the only "Stars Of The Saga" talk show), then another hour-plus inside. I can only imagine how long the wait was earlier in the day.
Needless to say, the consensus of almost everyone I spoke to on line is that Disney made a mistake in changing the merchandise setup, and while I can understand the need for a lineup for the Limited Merchandise, they should make those items TOTALLY SEPARATE from the Passholder and General Merchandise... you know, like it used to be!