Star Wars Weekends; Out of this World

You probably already know it: The Force returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 15th when the movie teams up with the theme park for “Star Wars Weekends.” But what if you are not a fan? Should you go anyway?

There are reasons for both those who are with the force, and those who are viewing in neutral terms, to see what’s going on at that time in the long-standing event that is approaching its 20th year.

For fans:

—The continuing good news is that Star Wars Weekends activities are included with regular Disney’s Hollywood Studios admission.

—For those with questions, the Information Desk for the event is usually located at the entrance to the event area, across from the former “Drew Carey: Sounds Dangerous.” In addition to answering questions, you can sign up here for different trivia contests.

—This year’s event welcomes a new show, “Star Wars: Rebels,”

—It also has new places to sign autographs and merchandise.

New places, new faces

—And new faces that include actor Ian McDairmid who plays Senator/Emperor Palpatine (he kicks off the weekend May 15-17, and Frank Oz, who is the voice of Yoda making his first appearance in Weekend Five, June 13-14)

—A perennial question is when is the best time to go? Probably the first weekend while the hot Florida weather is still reasonably cool. And Epcot’s International Wine Festival is also winding down at that time.

—There are various special deals at Star Wars Weekends such as the “Feel the Force Premium Package” available every weekend. Among other perks, the package includes a reserved premium viewing area for two popular Star Wars Weekends spectaculars — the “Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade” and the “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks. The package also includes a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card, and includes a series of complimentary Star Wars photos. Price: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included). Discounts do not apply.

—A new VIP experience has been introduced. For $499 plus tax, per person, you can have special access to Star Wars Weekends activities, expedited access to attractions, a private continental breakfast, table service lunch, and a VIP Viewing and Dessert Party for the “Symphony of the Stars Fireworks.”

Some highlights this year are familiar to fans:

—The “Summon the Force” celebration will close out the each day, with the “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks back again as the evening’s grand finale.

—Long-standing best advice for any of the themed weekends: be sure to arrive at the park early. Although the official park opening time is 9 a.m., you will be allowed into the park around 8:30, say news reports.

—Actor James Arnold Taylor will again host the “Stars of the Saga” talk show at this years Star Wars Weekends. He is best known as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” But look for his talk show at a new and more sprawling location at Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard.

—The Star Wars character meals that debuted in 2014 are returning. Reservations are suggested. Other food highlights include “Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine,” which is transformed into a Star Wars themed venue where Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Chip & Dale come together to celebrate the story. The VIPs, dressed as their favorite Star Wars characters, will meet and greet guests and interact during several “Star Wars” themed moments throughout the evening. Star Wars decor, themed foods, and music create the intergalactic atmosphere. Fans can also start the day with the “Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast” at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Inside, it’s a long time ago at a drive-in far, far away. Movie moments are the entertainment, along with characters. Prices range from $34.99 for children to $63.99 for adults.

Among the characters that should be on hand include

Jedi Mickey


Clone Troopers

Princess Leia

Luke Skywalker


Luke Skywalkers

Storm Troopers

And of course, Darth Vader

So how about non-fans who also want the force on their side?

For them, the good side is that the movie events are only on weekends. Attendance the rest of the week involves normal crowds.

But an added benefit for non-fans is so see the outrageous costumes. They are the rule. There is really no other time to see so many people dressed in movie outfits.

For both fanatic fans and those who are not willing to envision something out of this world, Disney has been sponsoring it since 1997. And every year it has gotten better. This time should be no exception. ####