✩ Star Wars Weekends: Have You Heard?


  • Rumors keep flying about it. “Star Wars Land” is joining Disney’s Magic Kingdom as a fifth park in Orlando.

    Sorry.

    Just a rumor. And we don’t really know if it will happen.

    But the likelihood of it was promoted three years ago when Disney acquired Lucasfilm. And announced renewed activity in the movie department.

    And then there’s the ongoing “Star Wars Weekends” now playing at Disney.

    Rumors remain, but we can tell you what’s new about the latest Star Wars activity at Disney. And give you a few hints of what’s ahead.

    Darth Vader appearing at Star Wars WeekendsFive event weekends from May 15-June 14 just started, a.k.a., Star Wars Weekends.

    Star Wars Showing its Age

    The movie, Star Wars, actually was released 38 years ago. It was no sure thing.

    Would there be enough interest to do another?

    There was.

    Finally.

    After the initial three films, there was a 16-year gap before “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace” introduced the next movie.

    The next film, ”Star Wars: A New Hope” is due out December 18.

    Meanwhile, first-day crowds packed the Orlando park in their usual force. News reports said the merchandise line was almost immediately at a two-hour wait for the limited edition collectibles shop. Fans arrived at 5 a.m. to wait.

    What’s new this year for Star Wars Weekends?

    Disney calls it a “Star Wars Lounge Experience.” You will find “Rebel Hangar” at the Backlot Express counter service restaurant next to Star Tours.

    It serves themed dishes and drinks. The corn dogs, for example, are called "Lightsaber Bites" (hand-dipped, corn-battered knockwurst sausages with house-made chips and mustard dipping sauce); and the drinks have names like "Tatooine Sunset." There’s also “Yoda Key Lime pie.” Seating guests from 4 p.m. the Rebel will satisfy anyone’s appetite for well-known figures.

    Warning: Not a great place for real satisfying dinners. And not a place particularly geared for kids, either.

    For the later, the special cupcakes created for the Star Wars weekends have been getting high ratings. This year, “Star Wars Mini Cupcakes” include including Darth Vader (chocolate-peanut butter), Yoda (chocolate-hazelnut), and Jabba the Hutt (salted caramel latte). All served in a “Han Solo Carbonite Souvenir Box.”

    The larger ones can be shared by family members.

    Not too late for Yoda

    You’re too late for Emperor Palpatine himself, Ian McDiarmid. He was there for the opening weekend. But the voice of Yoda as well as several Muppet characters are set to appear during the last weekend, June 12-14.

    Shop till You…

    Event shopping has been split from one mega-store experience into separate vending areas along the park's Streets of America that deal in specific items. They range from limited edition and exclusive Star Wars Weekends memorabilia to more generic Star Wars saga merchandise.
    This year, fans will find two T-shirts, one with Jedi Mickey for “May the 4th” and one with Goofy dressed as Darth Vader for “Revenge of the 5th.” A sampling of merchandise also turns up two limited-release MagicBands with stylized images of Luke Skywalker and a storm trooper. Each has a retail price of $24.95.

    A suggestion

    Darth's Mall fills up quickly, of course, so a good time to visit there is when the Celebrity Motorcade passes through the park.

    As for the future, Disney chief Bob Iger told Wall Street analysts that there’s “a fair amount of design and development to greatly increase ‘Star Wars” presence in multiple locations around the world.”

    “Star Wars" already has a significant presence in Disney parks around the world. The "Star Tours" simulator ride is in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. The Florida and California parks also have an interactive show called "Jedi Training Academy."

    And rumors of a new Star Wars Land? Maybe not so long ago in a galaxy close to home…###