Dateline Disney World takes you to the first of six Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios today. This is one of Disney World’s most popular festivals. Let’s take a look . . .

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Welcome to the Studios!

The map for SWW is interactive this year through an augmented reality smartphone app.

Nikon represented here now.

Darth’s Mall used to be behind Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, but is now by the backlot.

Typical character meet and greets are throughout the park, but one of my favorite ones was missing, which was the walkaround characters. Perhaps I just missed them, but I did multiple loops through the park, and never encountered them.

They were advertising car decals.

Gotta have booze.

Premier Theater is the home of all the special shows during SWW.

Photo ops are also scattered throughout the park.

There is a Maleficent preview happening where Sounds Dangerous used to play.

SWW merchandise.

There was lots of activity at the Sci-Fi Dine In since they are doing a Star Wars themed breakfast here during the event.

Before the motorcade, the Citizens of Hollywood came out to have fun with guests.

It draws big crowds for sure.

Time for lots of motorcade photos.

501st Legion.

Ashley Eckstein, voice of Asohka Tano.
Ahmed Best, voice of Jar Jar Binks. GET HIM!
Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca himself!

James Arnold Taylor, voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars series.

There are also fireworks at the end of the night now that replace the Hyperspace Hoopla. Unfortunately, I was unable to stay late to photograph them, so this is all I’ve got for you this week.

Do you brave the crowds for Star Wars Weekends? Sad the Hoopla is gone? Let us know in the comments!!

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  • Jabroniville

    Nice stuff! I find the modern concept of “Character Meet & Greets” a bit bizarre- I loved seeing a few cute “costume characters” at various parks when I was younger, but some guy dressed as Mace Windu or something really wouldn’t have appealed too much. The fact that it’s just EVERYWHERE and seems extremely hyped-up and attention-grabbing is strange.

    But clearly that is what kids want and are obsessed with these days- the Character stuff is one of the most popular things in each park- AND it’s probably one of the cheapest things for Disney to make! All you do is get an expensive (ish) costume and pay someone the pittance of 10 bucks an hour or whatever and make them do it!

    • Perhaps this explains why Disney is building new attractions at a snail’s pace. Why build expensive rides when folks will line up for hours to see characters? 😉

      I love the characters, they are a vital part of the park experience. However, there was a time when the characters lived in the parks, walking around and interacting with guests. Today they are attractions set at the end of long lines.

      Thanks for the update Cory!

      • AaroniusPolonius

        I totally agree, Dusty. I do like the snippets of atmosphere in the photos, though. Leaving the wretched Hat aside (seriously, they have to get rid of that HAAAAAAAAT,) the front end of DHS is superbly themed.

  • ayalexander

    This event looks cool. Especially the motorcade. I like the 501st they work really hard on something that they’re passionate about, being storm troopers. Speaking as an overweight person myself…I have to ask on of those men, “aren’t you a little fat, for a storm trooper?” But I suppose its not about size or height, its about fun, and getting out there and being a storm trooper. Great update!

  • martinjbell1986

    It would be nice if some money flowed down the corporate ladder to Disneyland and Hollywood Studios. I say a Billion dollars could go a long way in each park. I’d say it would be worth the investment.

  • mickdaddy

    The reason the meet and greets took over is for the safety of the characters and the guests. The egocentric world we live in today can you imagine how the characters would get attacked and mobbed and how your pictures would turn out? Heck I have pictures from the late 70’s early 80’s that I have to explain why there are people we don’t know in them could you imagine that now!

    • michael darling

      Good point. Still, the magic of seeing random characters wandering about was a thrill. Too bad it’s become so staged. Then again, hundreds of folks lined up for hours to see characters must make a nice dent in the attraction lines the rest of us get in. Doesn’t seem like it though.

      • BradyNBradleysMom

        I never understand comments like this one, Michael. People act like characters no longer walk around. I see them all the time and find it hard to believe that I am just lucky.

        On our recent trip to Disney, we ran into the Fairy Godmother walking around by Cinderella Castle. Then not 15 minutes later we were on our way to Tomorrowland and we ran into Snow White by her well, just singing and looking at the birds in the trees. Then, we ran into Alice and the Rabbit over by the Tea Cups…and got to talk to Tiana over by Liberty Square.

        Throughout the day we also ran into the Stepsisters from Cinderella and saw the Toy Story people wandering around…and ran into Peter Pan and Wendy too.

        It seemed like at least once an hour we were running into someone in MK.

        I see the meet and greets as being an addition to the old experience and a nice way to guarantee you meet characters but the random walking around is still there too.

    • Amy VandenBoogert

      Oh yeah. Totally. I have a photo of me with Pluto from my very first visit to WDW back in 1978 and there are 2 totally random other kids in the photo as well! People ask me, “Who are they?” I shrug and say, “Beats me!” Oh and my dad was a horrible photographer and managed to cut off part of Pluto’s head in the photo as well. LMAO!

  • FlynnLives

    Ah I want to go so bad! Why can’t they bring this to Disneyland as well?

  • danielz6

    Yawn…let me know when that star wars land breaks ground…