Disney Done Right: Star Wars Weekends at Disney Studios

Summer’s here, and family travel is at its best! What better way to celebrate the end of another school year than with a weekend at Walt Disney World? If you have a Star Wars fan, there’s no better time: Fridays-Sundays through June 12th, Star Wars Weekends are ongoing at Disney Studios. The best part is, all special activities, shows, and parades are free with the cost of admission.

Last weekend, family travel blogger Sue Rodman of Field Trips with Sue packed up the family and headed to Orlando to attend. It was a huge hit for everyone! If you plan to go, here are her top suggestions.

Disney Star Wars

1. Get There Early. This is the single best tip for any theme park experience, but especially when it’s a special weekend like Star Wars where crowds are expected to be higher than normal. Sometimes Disney will open early as a special “surprise”. When we went, the studio officially opened at 8 am. We arrived at 7:30 and the gates were already open. I can’t guarantee they’ll open early when you come, but you may want to plan for it just in case. My boys immediately went to Rockin’ Roller Coaster and rode it five times with no wait at all. Later in the day, waits were up to 70 minutes long!

2. Have a Plan. This is the second best tip for any theme park experience, but again, especially important for busy weekends. Spend some time before you go to plan out your day. Know before you exit one attraction where you are headed next. Don’t try to do that on the fly either, plan it out before you go. For instance, we saw the 9:40 am Little Mermaid Show and immediately went to the Animation Studio to find Sorcerer Mickey. We were one of the first five people in line when he arrived at 10 am and were able to zip in to see him and zip out. I found this tip on my favorite Disney planning site, www.TourGuideMike.com. Although he was not as helpful as I would have liked on the Star Wars Weekend information, I wouldn’t go to the Magic Kingdom without him. He gives sound tour advice and reasons behind WHY you should do things: ensuring you don’t second guess his expert opinion.

Jedi Training

3. Bring your younglings to sign up for Jedi Training. As soon as you enter the park (assuming you are there upon opening) head to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular to sign up your younglings for the Jedi Training. You’ll need to have everyone that wants to participate with you. Kids ages 4–12 are eligible. There is a bit of a wait here, but it’s worth it. Later in the day, your children don a robe and learn how to wield a light saber during training with a Jedi Master and Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars. Then, they’ll battle either Darth Vader or Ventress. Upon completion, they are promoted to Padawans, given a certificate and a Star Wars toy (the program is sponsored by Hasbro). Once these spots are gone, they’re gone, so make sure you go here first thing if your child wants to participate.

4. Star Wars Parade. Throughout the park are various Star Wars characters. You can wait in long lines to have your picture taken with them (similar to waiting to see Mickey Mouse) or you can get a good spot on the parade route and take them all in at once during the Star Wars parade. The parade starts at the front of the park coming out near Sid’s Curious Shop and goes down Hollywood Blvd. to the big Sorcerer Mickey Hat. The characters then go on stage for a great photo opportunity. Position yourself anywhere along Hollywood Blvd. We scoped our spot about 12:15 for the 12:40 parade and had a good spot, soon after that, it was harder to get a place. We missed the photo on stage, but I think everyone had ample interaction with the characters. At one time you could sign your children up to be in the parade. Now they pick children randomly. I couldn’t tell how, when or where they “pick the kids randomly”. If you find out, please let me know.

5. Star Wars Characters. As I mentioned, there are lots of places to wait in lines to have your picture taken with various Star Wars characters. We didn’t wait in any of these lines, but we did watch the characters as they interacted with people and took pictures of them in between guests posing. Seeing them live and up close seemed to be enough for my boys, which was great because it left us more time to experience the park. Right in front of Star Tours is a speeder bike, where Chewbacca and the Ewoks come out. When they aren’t appearing, you can take a picture on the bikes, which we did, several times.

These are only half of Sue’s tips for experiencing Star Wars Weekends! Read more at Field Trips with Sue!

For more general Disney information, touring strategies, and tips, check out my other Disney Done Right articles!

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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