Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog Readers Select First-Ever ‘Fan Choice’ Star Wars-Themed Disney Racer

posted on June 16th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


Last week, we invited Disney Parks Blog readers to select the next Star Wars-themed Disney Racer coming to Disney Parks in spring 2015. Today, I’m happy to share the winning selection – Chewbacca.

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Thank you to those who took the time to vote. When this die-cast metal car is released next year, there will be a special “fan choice” call-out on the packaging.

Look for future updates on the Disney Parks Blog as development progresses.

May the Force be with you!

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Actor John Ratzenberger talks Star Wars, his Disney•Pixar Roles & How He Once Parked Next To Kermit The Frog

posted on June 13th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Versatile actor John Ratzenberger has worn many hats in his career. Whether it’s the cold weather military hat of Major Bren Derlin, Mack’s “Rust-eze” trucker cap or a mailman’s cap on the longtime hit series “Cheers,” he’s portrayed many favorite characters in his acting career.

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Although he had only a brief role in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, it was a memorable one. His character, Major Bren Derlin, made the recommendation to Princess Leia to close the Echo Base doors for the night, just as the Rebels were losing hope for the safe return of Luke and Han on the frigid planet of Hoth.

The quick-witted actor sat down with us during his very first Star Wars Weekends appearance to talk about his memories of Star Wars, his favorite Disney•Pixar role, and how he once had an assigned parking space next to Kermit the Frog.

The curtain will close on Star Wars Weekends 2014 this weekend, giving you one more chance to feel the Force before the Wookiees, Twi’leks and Ewoks (oh my!) depart our galaxy until their 2015 return.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 12th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Being a long-time Star Wars fan, I’m delighted there is a fifth weekend for Star Wars Weekends this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This extra weekend takes place during Father’s Day on June 15, which is perfect since I regularly recreate a famous scene from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back with my son. Here is a brief look at some new items that you will find at Darth’s Mall, our merchandise location found between Toy Story Midway Mania and Studio Backlot Tour.

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

New items will include fun Darth Vader shirts, and some character T-shirts, a glass mug, and a spinner pin with characters from the upcoming Disney XD animated series, Star Wars Rebels.

Other new items include a 3-inch Vinylmation set that was originally designed for Vinylmation – Star Wars series 2 (it contains a Jawa and R5-D4), and a limited edition, D-Tech on Demand case for iPhone 5/5S featuring Goofy and Max. You can also find a new Disney Theme Park Tagalong, featuring Jedi Master Yoda.

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

For the first time, we will release two limited edition, retail MagicBands with pre-printed images (edition size 2,500 each). There will be a green retail MagicBand with Yoda’s image and a red retail MagicBand with Darth Vader’s image (colors were selected to match their light saber colors). Each retail MagicBand will be packaged in a decorative Star Wars Weekends box (you can use the free Aurasma app on your mobile device to make the box image come to life).

New Merchandise Coming to Fifth Weekend at Star Wars Weekends From June 13-15, 2014 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Finally to celebrate this fifth weekend, I would love your help in selecting the next Star Wars-themed Disney Racer that will be released in spring 2015. You may recall that we recently re-launched Disney Racers at Disney Parks. This is the first time we’ve asked our readers to select the next design to be made. When it’s released, the packaging for this die-cast metal car will have a “fan choice” call-out.

Please take a moment to vote for your favorite design from the list below. Voting will only be available for three days, June 12-15, 2014. We will reveal the winning entry on Monday, June 16, on the Disney Parks Blog.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Mark Hamill Makes His Star Wars Weekends Debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Weekend IV

posted on June 6th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Womp rats, you’ve been warned. Luke is in town.

Actor Mark Hamill, who portrayed farmboy-turned-galactic-hero Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, makes his debut appearance at Star Wars Weekends today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He is scheduled to appear today, tomorrow and Sunday.

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Activities where guests can see the acclaimed actor include the “Legends of the Force” motorcade and a star conversation about his career and role in the original Star Wars trilogy. To enable more guests to see and hear this special edition talk show, entitled “A Conversation with Mark Hamill,” the Star Wars Weekends event team has made arrangements for a simulcast at various locations throughout the park. Be sure to ask a cast member when you arrive for viewing locations.

We caught up with Mark at the theme park while he was doing final walk-throughs with the Disney Parks Entertainment team. After posing for a few photos with Jedi Mickey Mouse, he spoke with us about the Star Wars legacy, his childhood visits to Disneyland and what makes Star Wars fans special to him.

For more info. about Star Wars Weekends and to download an event guide, head to disneyworld.com/starwarsweekends. Also, join the conversation online by using the event’s hashtag, #SWW2014.

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‘May the Force Be With You’ on This Adventures by Disney Vacation

posted on June 5th, 2014 by Andrae Gill, Adventures by Disney


Fellow Jedi Knights and Padawans, it’s time to grab your light sabers and get ready to RUN! Adventures by Disney just released a special, out-of-this-world departure of the Southern California: Disney Backstage itinerary to take place during January 12 – 18, 2015. This departure will grant families access to the runDisney inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

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In addition to receiving access to the Star Wars Rebel Challenge (Star Wars Half Marathon 10k and Star Wars 5k), guests who book this trip can participate in an exclusive group run in iconic Hollywood and access the Star Wars Wookiee Welcome Party.

This trip also includes various unique experience, including: a rare, behind-the-magic private tour of The Walt Disney Studios; a tour of Walt Disney Imagineering and The Jim Henson Company (not regularly open to the public); a private tour of Walt Disney’s Disneyland apartment and the Disneyland Dream Suite; and a two-day, VIP experience at Disneyland Resort with special FASTPASS service to multiple rides at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park.

This galactic seven-day, six-night itinerary is a must for both Star Wars and Disney fans alike. For more information on the Disney Backstage & Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend trip, please click here. You may also call 1-800-543-0865 for dates, availability and to make reservations.

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Filed: Adventures by Disney, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

runDisney Joins the Force for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort

posted on May 27th, 2014 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


It was the summer of 1977, and I swear I saw “Star Wars: Episode IV” at least 10 times in the movie theater. Let’s face it, there was not a lot to do in Southeast Iowa. But I was hooked, especially the first time the Millennium Falcon made the jump to light speed. SO COOL!

So you can imagine my excitement when the team told me we got approval to do a Star Wars-themed runDisney weekend at Disneyland Resort, January 15-18, 2015! I was equally geeked when our advertising team took a scene from the movie where R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing some kind of galactic chess, and C-3PO quips, “I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win,” and made it the heart of our advertising campaign, #LetTheWookieeWin.

Whether you’re a runDisney veteran, a first-time rookie or even a Wookiee, Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort is going to be a fantastic weekend – and another great reason to runDisney. So may the Force, or should I say the Course, be with you!

Now if an invitation and Jedi mind tricks from some marketing guy at runDisney isn’t enough, maybe this message Lord Vader himself will convince you to join him to complete your training.

runDisney Joins the Force for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort runDisney Joins the Force for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort
runDisney Joins the Force for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort runDisney Joins the Force for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort
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More Cupcake Fun for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Through June 15

posted on May 17th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Immerse yourself in a galaxy far, far away – and don’t miss two more over-the-top cupcakes created by the pastry chefs at Disney’s Hollywood Studios just for Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World Resort.

Available only at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and only through June 15, chocolate fans will have a hard time deciding between the two (you can always buy one of each and share). The chocolate Darth Vader cupcake also has a little peanut butter in the topping, while the chocolate Yoda cupcake features a rich hazelnut buttercream frosting with a sprinkle of crunchy chocolate-toffee.

More Cupcake Fun for Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios Through June 15 More Cupcake Fun for Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios Through June 15

You’ll find the Darth Vader cupcake at Rosie’s All American Café, Fairfax Fare, Starring Rolls Cafe, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Pizza Planet, Studio Catering Co. and Darth’s Mall. The Yoda cupcake is at Starring Rolls, Backlot Express and Darth’s Mall.

Both cupcakes are $5.19 and on the Disney Dining Plan.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

New Augmented Reality Features Bring Star Wars Weekends to Life in New Ways for 2014

posted on May 17th, 2014 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


If you plan on attending Star Wars Weekends 2014, be sure to try out some of the new technology designed to bring the event to life in new ways.

For the first time, Star Wars Weekends is utilizing augmented reality to provide guests “virtual” character experiences, added information in the guide maps and even interaction with the event logo itself.

Lots of fun is centered in Darth’s Mall, thanks to our official technology partner, HP.

Before arriving at the park, download the free app., Aurasma, from the App Store or Android Market to your smartphone or tablet. (Tip: While the app. will prompt you to register, you are not required to do so. You can choose to advance by clicking “Skip” in the lower right on the final welcome screen.)

Utilizing HP technology, there are special locations to utilize Aurasma in the park and even on the event’s guide map. Join me and Star Wars Weekends celebrity host James Arnold Taylor as we demonstrate some of the ways you can have even more interactive fun this year.

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Creating Art for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 16th, 2014 by Will Gay, Creative Director, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Star Wars Weekends is here once again. It is definitely one of my favorite times of year as a Star Wars fan because that means here at Yellow Shoes Creative Group we get to create some awesome new images for the event. It has become one of our favorite things to “work” on each year.

There seems to be endless great ideas around the combination of our favorite Star Wars characters in situations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These photo shoots are always a lot of fun as well, giving direction to a Wookiee — who could ask for more?

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Anyway, I am excited to share with you today one of our latest images for this year. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did making it and see you at Star Wars Weekends!

Which image is your favorite? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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PHOTOS – Darth’s Mall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends 2014

posted on May 15th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Star Wars Weekends 2014 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort starting May 16. You may recall I shared a first look at some merchandise created especially for this event along with details about the fan-favorite Star Wars – D-Tech Me Experience. This year, these items and more will be found in Darth’s Mall, the out-of-this-world merchandise shop located in Soundstage 1 between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania. I recently visited the location as the merchandise team was putting on the finishing touches. Here are a few images of some of my favorite things I found.

Experience Darth's Mall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends 2014 Experience Darth's Mall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends 2014

Toys have been an important part of Star Wars ever since Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope debuted in theaters in 1977. I was happy to see several new toys not previously discussed including a new wave of Disney-Pixar’s Cars as Star Wars characters and a giant clone trooper that is unique to Disney Parks.

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Other favorite items include a calendar that contains marketing artwork for Star Wars Weekends, light-up glasses and reusable tote bags. There will also be several new apparel items including items from Ashley Eckstein’s incredible Her Universe line. I love the dress that reminded me of bed sheets and curtains I once had as a child!

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Speaking of apparel, we will be offering select Star Wars Rebels shirts on our Disney Parks online store from May 16-22. These will be the same shirts offered at Darth’s Mall, just in case you aren’t able to attend the event this year. Visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents to place an order.

I hope to see you at Star Wars Weekends!

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