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It’s (Not) a Trap! Countdown to Star Wars Weekends Continues at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 8th, 2013 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


As the Limited Time Magic “May the Fourth Be With You!” celebration fades into the galaxy, the team at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is busy wiping out its droids’ memories and resetting them for Friday, May 17, opening day for Star Wars Weekends 2013. Actors and voice artists from the Star Wars film saga and Star Wars: The Clone Wars are ready to hop aboard Starspeeders and head to the park for the annual event. A trio of talent will appear each weekend, along with celebrity event hosts James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein.
Ray Park Will Perform His One-Man Show, 'A Visit to the Maul,' at Star Wars Weekends 2013

Here’s a list of scheduled celebrities for this year’s Force-filled fan fest:

Weekend I (May 17–19)
Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Captain Rex – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend II (May 24-26)
Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Jim Cummings (voice of Hondo Ohnaka – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend III (May 31 – June 2)
Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar – Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend IV(June 7-9)
Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca – Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Also new this year is a photo opportunity with a “life-size” rancor. The giant beast, which was Jabba the Hutt’s prized pet in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, will be on display during the event. The handcrafted replica is 17 feet long and weighs more than 700 pounds. The reptomammal sculpture is well-traveled — it’s a popular piece at Star Wars events around the globe and will make its way to our park for Star Wars Weekends.

A trio of specialty “one-man shows” will be presented this year, giving guests a peek into the on- and off-screen worlds of three Star Wars celebrities — James Arnold Taylor, Ray Park and Warwick Davis.

  • “Obi-Wan & Beyond” (each event day) stars James Arnold Taylor. James takes audiences on a journey into his wonderful world of voice acting.
  • “Visit to the Maul” (Weekends I and II) features Ray Park. Guests can see a demonstration of amazing martial arts skills by the actor who portrayed Darth Maul on the silver screen.
  • “An Ewok’s Tale – my short story” (Weekends II and III) stars Warwick Davis. Guests get a unique look into the fascinating world of this Star Wars legend.

As you plan your visit to Star Wars Weekends, be aware that many of the behind-the-scenes shows reach capacity quickly, so arrive early. Also, you’ll want to arrive early to the park if you would like to get a celebrity autograph.

Join the conversation online by using the hashtag #StarWarsWeekends on Twitter.

Star Wars: © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM.
(*celebrities and entertainment schedule subject to change)

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Star Wars – D-Tech Me Experience Returns to Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starting May 17, 2013

posted on May 6th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I’m excited to share that the Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience will be returning for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year. The experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, the highly themed merchandise destination located in the courtyard adjacent to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. You may recall we first introduced the Carbon-Freeze Me experience last year during Star Wars Weekends (my fellow author Gary Buchanan explains how it works in this video). We also introduced the experience at Celebration VI, the ultimate Star Wars fan event that was held last August in Orlando, Florida.

This year, we are bringing back the popular “cast yourself in Carbonite” option that was inspired by a scene from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. We are also delighted to offer a new option featuring the elite soldiers of the Galactic Empire, the Stormtroopers.
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The 10-minute experience uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. That captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine. The completed figurine will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally). Guests will also receive either a Carbon-Freeze Me light-up band or a collector button depending upon which option they choose.

The Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience is $99.95, plus shipping and applicable sales tax.
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To book your experience, please call 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324) to ask about availability. We will only offer the experience during Star Wars Weekends 2013 (May 17 – 19, May 24 – 26, May 31 – June 2, and June 7 – 9).

Please note: Separate theme park admission required for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No discounts apply unless otherwise noted. Guests must be at least three (3) years of age to participate. A valid accepted credit card number is required at time of booking. No-shows or in the event a reservation is cancelled within 48 hours of scheduled experience will result in such credit card being charged a $25 cancellation fee. The experience, due to its personalized nature, is non-refundable and not eligible for an exchange. Children must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age or older during the entire experience. Certain restrictions may apply. All prices, components and information are subject to change without notice.

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New ‘Limited Time Magic’ Merchandise Coming For ‘May The Fourth Be With You” Celebration at Disney Parks

posted on May 3rd, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Being a long-time Star Wars fan, I was thrilled to read Gary Buchanan’s article about the special “May The Fourth Be With You” event taking place this weekend as part of “Limited Time Magic.” This one-day celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is separate from our month-long Star Wars Weekends special event, which begins on May 17. Gary mentioned there will be special entertainment, a dance party, fireworks and commemorative merchandise. I’m happy to share with you a first look at the new shirts and pins that will be released on Saturday at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
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Disney Design Group artist Quynh Kimball told me the character artwork found on the shirts was created by artist Tommy Lee Edwards. The artwork for the limited edition pins was created by Disney Design Group artist Mike Sullivan. The pins will each have an edition size of 1,500.
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If you are in Florida, these items will be released at the Superstar Shop located next to The American Idol Experience attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For those fans in California, the shirts and pins will be released at Disney’s Pin Traders in the Downtown Disney District and Little Green Men Store Command in Disneyland park. Please note that wristbands will be distributed to those guests purchasing pins at the Disneyland Resort.

I can’t wait for this weekend. I hope you will join us!

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Rock’n Gear from Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 30th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Rock’n Gear from Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I’ve often dreamt of being in a rock band, performing shows in sold out arenas around the world. I once had a great name for my band, but it’s sadly no longer available. The closest I get to being a rock star these days is singing karaoke on the weekends or visiting Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I love this attraction, especially the thrill of taking a super-stretch limousine through the darkened freeways of Los Angeles (if only driving in Los Angeles was really like that!). I recently visited Rock Around the Shop, the merchandise location at the attraction’s exit, to see what “rock’n” gear they offer for my imagined world tour.

According to Matt Hahn, location planning manager for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this shop contains unique merchandise not found anywhere else at Walt Disney World Resort.

“[Rock Around the Shop] has a good mixture of merchandise inspired by the attraction,” explained Matt. “Guests will find apparel, accessories, headwear, plush and more. We recently added some signage to the location to inform guests that many of these items are only found in this shop.”
Rock’n Gear from Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The attraction’s logo is found on a few items, including shirts and a popular Mickey Mouse rock star plush. I liked the miniature guitar photo holder that was inspired by the giant guitar found outside the attraction.
Rock’n Gear from Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I also found a variety of shirts inspired by Aerosmith’s classic songs or their iconic logo. I particularly liked the “If It’s Too Loud” shirt (the only way to listen to rock!). Matt told me that one of the more popular items recently introduced was the guitar shaped bag (hello, air guitar solo!).
Disney Parks Blog Author Steven Miller at Rock Around the Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Finally, I couldn’t resist recreating a photo that many guests take when exiting the shop. Thank you to my fellow author Erin Catalano for taking this image. I guess it makes up for the recent Cozy Cone hat photo I took of her.

Rock on!


Read on for more from Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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Finish That Disney Parks Sign: A Muppetational! Shop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 30th, 2013 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


The Stage 1 Company Store near Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios sells everything a Muppet fan could ever ask for.
Can You Finish This Sign from Stage 1 Company Store at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

Check out the sign above. There sure seems to be a lot of rules around this place. Which prohibited action is missing from this sign? Tell us in the “Comments” section below and we’ll update the post later today with the answer.
Read the rest of this entry »

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‘May The Fourth Be With You’ Celebrated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ‘Limited Time Magic’

posted on April 26th, 2013 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


For one day only, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present a “Limited Time Magic” event for the annual, fan-proclaimed “Star Wars Day,” May 4 – a date that Star Wars fans worldwide turn into a celebratory pun, “May the Fourth Be With You!”
May The Fourth Be With You at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Separate from our month-long Star Wars Weekends special event (which begins May 17), this “Limited Time Magic” celebration features special Star Wars entertainment, characters, commemorative merchandise, a Star Wars dance party and a Star Wars-themed fireworks show to cap off the day.

You might even find yourself sitting next to Chewbacca aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Star Wars characters will make surprise appearances on the 3-D attraction to enjoy the wild journey through space alongside park guests.

A special edition of Jedi Training Academy also is planned that day, with parents invited to join their children (ages 4-12, sign-ups required on first-come basis) on-stage for the training and final showdown with the Empire.

When the sun goes down, galactic fun lights the night as Lobot (from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back) takes over as DJ for a dance party that will be highlighted by a special Star Wars fireworks show.

“May the Fourth Be With You” “Limited Time Magic” park activities and shows are included in regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Join the conversation online by using the hash tag #StarWarsWeekends on Twitter.

Star Wars: © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM.

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Attend Monsters University at Disney Parks This Summer

posted on April 25th, 2013 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


It’s shaping up to be a Monstrous Summer at Disney Parks, with a colossal lineup of unforgettable experiences, including entertainment enhancements celebrating the newest Disney•Pixar animated feature, “Monsters University.”

Meeting Mike and Sulley at Disney's Hollywood Studios Meeting Mike and Sulley at Disney California Adventure Park

 
Mike and Sulley are dropping in from MU to scare up fun all summer long. Some of the monstrous surprises in store include all-new, collegiate settings in which to meet your favorite aspiring scarers. On the Backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll find the Monsters University Student Union, complete with a view of the campus. Meanwhile, when Sulley and Mike step through the door to Disney California Adventure park, you’ll find them right outside the university dorms, recreated in Hollywood Land.

Also at Disney California Adventure park, Mike and Sulley show their MU spirit as they lead daily performances of the Pixar Play Parade, and at Magic Kingdom Park, you’ll chuckle along with the gang at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, where they’ve been studying new jokes and are ready to graduate to new comedic bits in honor of their alma mater.

It may be summer vacation, but Monsters University will be in session all season at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts! The fun starts on May 24th!

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Ready, Set, Go! at X Games for Driver in ‘Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 17th, 2013 by Tony Morreale, Sports Public Relations Manager


Eduardo Marques, Jr., has entertained countless fans at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a driver for the high octane “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.” Now, the Brazilian-born stunt car driver will be returning home to compete on a bigger stage, ESPN’s X Games Foz do Iguaçu.

Later this week, Marques will be competing at RallyCross, which pits 16 of the world’s best drivers side-by-side, drifting and jumping through an exciting dirt track. Of course, that should be nothing new for Marques, as his precision driving skills are routinely on display with edge-of-your-seat jumps, slides and spins as a part of the daily Lights, Motors, Action! show.

We slowed down Marques before his trip to Brazil, just long enough to ask him about his journey to Disney and the X Games.

 
If you want to catch Marques, and the other high-flying athletes of X Games Foz do Iguaçu, tune in April 18-21 to ESPN/ESPN2.

And, of course, you can regularly see all our talented stunt performers in the thrill-a-minute “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show,” featuring gravity-defying automobile, motorcycle and watercraft stunts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


For more from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, check out these posts:

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‘Star Wars’ Droid Factory Expands to New Locations at Disney Parks

posted on April 12th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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In May 2012, we opened the first Star Wars Droid Factory experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’m delighted to announce that we’ve expanded the build-your-own droid experience to new locations at Disneyland park in California and Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida. I spoke with toy merchandiser Cody Hampton at Disney Theme Park Merchandise about what’s in store for fans.
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“The Droid Factory has been an incredibly popular experience with our fans,” explained Cody. “After the initial launch, we heard our fans loud and clear that they also wanted this interactive experience in California. I’m beyond happy that guests are able to exit Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland park and be able to build their own droids.”
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A Droid Factory build station opened at Once Upon a Toy in the Downtown Disney Marketplace earlier this month. For California, the new build station can be found in The Star Trader in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park starting April 13.
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Guests are able to build “astromech” droids from the Star Wars galaxy. (Here’s a closer look at this series of droids from the official Star Wars website)
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The new experiences will feature more build stations for guests to make their own droid action figures. They were designed as a square, which can accommodate up to four guests at one time (that’s two more build stations than the current version at Tatooine Traders in Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

May the Force be with you … and your droids!

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Billy Dee Williams, aka Lando Calrissian, Set to Appear at Star Wars Weekends 2013 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on April 5th, 2013 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Billy Dee Williams, aka Lando Calrissian, Set to Appear at Star Wars Weekends 2013
Today we’re pleased to announce that everyone’s favorite galactic smuggler, gambler and scoundrel will temporarily leave Cloud City and board the Millennium Falcon with a course set for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as actor Billy Dee Williams returns to Star Wars Weekends for the 2013 edition.

Williams, a fan favorite for his portrayal of Lando Calrissian in the film saga, will attend Weekend IV, June 7-9, 2013.

Lando, who is described on his official StarWars.com bio as having two weapons of choice — a blaster pistol and “a devastating smile” — betrayed the Rebellion when he made a deal with Darth Vader to capture his old friend, Han Solo. However, there was a storybook ending to the tale when he redeemed himself by later helping to free Captain Solo and assisting in the destruction of the second Death Star.

If you make plans to attend Weekend IV, I definitely suggest attending one of the “Stars of the Saga” talk shows that features Williams. It was a highlight for me at past events to hear him tell tales about his portrayal of the suave scoundrel. But be sure to get there early; his appearances will most likely be a popular gathering place for members of both the Empire and the Rebellion.

Join the conversation online by using the hash tag #StarWarsWeekends on Twitter.

Star Wars: © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM.

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