Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Star Wars Weekends Launches Today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 17th, 2013 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor


Ewoks are celebrating, Max Rebo is playing a happy keyboard tune with his feet, and the droids are happier than C-3PO in an oil bath. Why? Because Star Wars Weekends launched its galactic celebration today at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here are some new things to keep your electrobinoculars looking for during the event:

  • A giant rancor has taken up residence this year in Darth’s Mall. The intricate, fan-created beast from Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi is sculpted from 2,000 square-feet of expanded polystyrene foam.

  • Our lovable pair of chipmunks, Chip and Dale, get into the Star Wars fun this year by dressing as Ewoks. Clad in their Ewok best, the duo also is depicted on this year’s event logo with Jedi Mickey.
  • Stormtroopers will be “on the move” this year, with mobile sentry outposts along Hollywood Blvd. These new outposts offer the Empire’s shock troops new vantage points to survey the areas for Rebel spies.
  • Tosche Station, made famous as the place where Luke Skywalker wanted to pick up some power converters, finds a new home this year at Star Wars Weekends at the main stage on Hollywood Blvd. Atmospheric entertainment keeps the galaxy festive throughout the day before transforming into a DJ dance party.
  • Warwick Davis, the actor who brought Wicket the Ewok to life on the silver screen, hosts a new one-man show entitled “An Ewok’s Tale – my short story” for two weekends this year.

Star Wars Weekends takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 9. Most event activities are included in regular park admission.

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

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

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New Disney Gift Cards Available During Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on May 14th, 2013 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


For the first time in Star Wars Weekends history, Disney Gift Cards will be offering four unique Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Card designs. Each week during Star Wars Weekends a new design will become available. They can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the following weekends.

  • Weekend 1: Skywalker Mickey, May 17
  • Weekend 2: Darth Donald, May 24
  • Weekend 3: Yoda Stitch, May 31
  • Weekend 4: Darth Goofy, June 7

New Disney Gift Cards Available During Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios

As a fun added bonus, each card features a hidden Mickey.

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Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

posted on May 12th, 2013 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


We’re less than a week away from opening day for Star Wars Weekends 2013 and that means actors and voice artists from the Star Wars film saga and Star Wars: The Clone Wars are on their way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the annual event.
Ray Park Will Perform His One-Man Show, 'A Visit to the Maul,' at Star Wars Weekends 2013
A trio of talent will appear each weekend, along with celebrity event hosts James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein. Here’s the rundown for May 17-19:

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)

You can find the complete list of scheduled celebrities for this year’s Force-filled fan fest in Gary’s original Stars Wars story.

And if you can’t decide which Disney park you should visit first this Mother’s Day weekend, we offered some help on the Disney Parks Blog. Check out the graphic below, which asks a series of questions and gives you a suggestion at the end. Where are you going first?
Which Walt Disney World Resort Park Should You Visit First?

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week:

Disney Parks After Dark: Fireworks at Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland – In this week’s edition of “Disney Parks After Dark,” fireworks light up the night sky above Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland.

Another Crazy New Burger at ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk at Walt Disney World Resort – Pam Brandon shows us some of the crazy new burgers available at ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk.

Magic Kingdom Park Special Event Tickets Now Available – Tickets are now available for some of the exciting events happening at Magic Kingdom Park including, Night of Joy, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties!

runDisney Reveals Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bling – This week runDisney revealed the four new medals for the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue Opens at Tokyo Disneyland – The force is strong at Tokyo Disneyland this week with the opening of the updated Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.

Meet the Steam Engines of the Disneyland Railroad: Fred Gurley – Chugging along the Disneyland Railroad, Erin introduces us to the oldest train on the tracks, Fred Gurley.

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Yummy Confection Goes to the ‘Dark Side’ for Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on May 10th, 2013 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Just in time for Star Wars Weekends, this designer cupcake is back – rich chocolate-peanut butter filling and chocolate frosting with Darth Vader and a kitschy saber (actually a plastic pick) topping the confection.
Darth Vader Cupcake with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Frosting
You’ll only find it May 17-June 9 at ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, Starring Rolls, Rosie’s All-American Cafe and Fairfax Faire. Cost is $4.99 and the cupcake is on the Disney Dining Plan.

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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


“Star

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.
“Star

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.
“Star

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


“New

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.
“New

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.
“New

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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‘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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Walt Disney World Resort – May 2013 Merchandise Events

posted on April 23rd, 2013 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Quick Update on Trading Night! The Trading Night hours have been extended to start at 5 p.m. ending at 9 p.m.

Just a couple of reminders:

  • The specific location of Trading Night will actually be in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill Restaurant area and adjacent lobby area.
  • Space will be extremely limited, we ask that you limit the number of items that you choose to bring.
  • Vinylmation Trading will not be offered, however the Product Preview Section and Artist Signing Area remain.
  • Food & Beverage concession areas will be open.

Before we jump into May events, here’s one last note for April. Trading Night has just been announced! The Walt Disney World Resort Trading Night will take place April 30, 2013 from 6 – 9 p.m. 5-9 p.m. at ESPN Grill and Josten’s Center at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. So bring your friends and family and trade stories, Vinylmation and pins.

Walt Disney World Trading Night Will Take Place April 30 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex

Now onward to May we go!

May 3: Disney Design Group Artist Betsy DePadova will be appearing at Disney’s Pin Traders in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 5 -7 p.m. to sign the latest pin and Vinylmation release in the 2013 series. Fellow author Steven Miller was the first to give you a glimpse at this artwork and more as he turned the spotlight on 2013 posters. Learn more here.

May 3 – 4: Everyone loves jewelry, or at least I know I do. So be sure to stop by Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace between the hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m. to see some of the newest releases from Chamilia. If your interest is piqued about this event, be sure to look for an upcoming post by author, Steven Miller who will give you a glimpse of what you’ll find before you go.

May 6 – 11: For those of you visiting Magic Kingdom Park, be sure to stop in and say hello to Larry Dotson who will be taking up residence in Uptown Jewelers, May 6 – 11 and at Art of Disney in Epcot, May 16 – 19, as we debut some of his newest releases. Learn more here.

Larry Dotson Will be in Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park May 6-11 and at Art of Disney in Epcot May 16-19

May 8 – 19: Art of Disney in the Downtown Disney Marketplace will once again welcome David Doss, who will be on hand to showcase some of his most recent releases. Learn more here.

May 9 – 13: If you are a Precious Moments Dolls collector, then this release is for you. Making a splash at Walt Disney World Resort is the new collection of dolls inspired by “The Little Mermaid.” Representatives will be on hand on each of the days at Once Upon A Toy in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Want to meet Linda Rick? Well you’re in luck. We have official confirmation that Linda Rick will be appearing, May 10 – 12. Learn more here.

New Collection of Precious Moments Dolls Inspired by 'The Little Mermaid'

May 10 – Okay Vinylmation collectors, mark your calendars! Park Starz 2 Vinylmation designed by Disney Design Group artists Casey Jones and Thomas Scott hits shelves at D Street in Downtown Disney Westside on May 10. Casey Jones will be on hand for a special appearance and signing of this new collection from 5 – 7 p.m. Here are a few of my favorite Park Starz, wait until you see the rest. Learn more here.

Park Starz 2 Vinylmation Hits Shelves at D Street in Downtown Disney Westside on May 10 Park Starz 2 Vinylmation Hits Shelves at D Street in Downtown Disney Westside on May 10 Park Starz 2 Vinylmation Hits Shelves at D Street in Downtown Disney Westside on May 10

May 17 – Planning on attending Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? If not, you should consider it. It’s literally the best place in the galaxy to be. Steven was the first to give you a look at Star Wars Weekends 2013 merchandise, and I assure you there’s more to come, from new artwork to toys, tees, Vinylmation and more. Passholders, we even have some special items just for you! Keep watching as the date draws near.

Look for details on all of these events and more on www.ArtofDisneyParks.com.

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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


“‘Star

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.
“‘Star

“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.”
“‘Star

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.
“‘Star

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)
“‘Star

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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