On Friday we went to Star Wars Weekends as it kicked off for 2015, and booked the Feel the Force Premium Package (the new Premium Deluxe Package sold out very quickly on the first day and we missed booking it). Last year, we wrote an article recommending the Feel the Force Premium Package. This year I hesitate a little bit in recommending it, and I’m not sure if we will book it next year – but we might. Here is a look at our day at Star Wars Weekends, including a review of each component of the Feel the Force Premium Package. We paid $69 plus tax each for it, and received Legends of the Force Motorcade viewing with snacks & drinks; special seating for one show; and a dessert party with drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol) and fireworks viewing.
Star Wars Weekends lasts for 5 weekends this year, ending June 14th. We have been covering Star Wars Weekends for 7 or 8 years, though we’ve both been attending longer. I am a casual fan, not a Star Wars fangirl, but always enjoy the event.
Guests can pick up their Star Wars Weekends map here at the front of Disney’s Hollywood Studios upon entering.
Check-in for the Star Wars Feel The Force Package is near Min and Bill’s. We arrived at 9:30 a.m., and should have arrived earlier for a better spot along the motorcade route (on the right hand side). I recommend getting there for 9:00 a.m. and waiting in line.
We received a special lanyard, and chose Stars of the Saga as our show. We didn’t wait long, and were let in around 10:00 a.m. for the 11:00 a.m. motorcade. We were also given photos of the actors, but no Photopass card (as was given last year).
There were about 40 guests in front of us, and most went to the Hollywood Boulevard side. That area was full when we entered, so this was our view. This isn’t an optimum spot for parade viewing, as some of the characters – including Darth Vader – never walked past us.
Star Wars Weekends artwork is new this year.
I missed this, Jeff saw this setup with hula hoops.
This year, Coke products, ice cream and popcorn are available for package guests waiting for the motorcade. I recommend securing these early, as they won’t be available after the motorcade.
Our group of 3 picked up sodas, water, popcorn and Mickey bars. While we were in this location, we spoke with other guests who were there based on our recommendation last year, I hope they enjoyed it!
The hosts for the motorcade took to the stage. Our view was good for the stage, as it was last year.
Jedi Mickey turned the corner. The one negative about this location – well, besides that we missed some major characters – is that characters often look the other way at the official photographers. Mickey did a great job looking both ways, but not all did.
Chip & Dale with Princess Leia Minnie.
Minnie looks like she is floating here.
Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy went by quickly. Darth Goofy no longer wears his Mickey boxers.
Stormtroopers passing by.
The 501st is a group of volunteer Star Wars costume enthusiasts that march in the parade every year. We always enjoy seeing them!
Last year, Chewbacca was a character we didn’t get to see. This year, he did pass by.
Ashley Eckstein has been hosting shows for a number of years now. She also heads up “Her Universe”, Star Wars fashion for girls & women.
None of the new Star Wars Rebels characters passed us, but we could see them from our spot – at least we did Sabine Wren and Chopper.
Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabina Wren, did pass us.
Kit Fisto did come out.
Emperor Palpatine himself, Ian McDiarmid.
Bounty hunters take the stage.
James Arnold Taylor, who is always a fantastic host, was the last to pass by in the celebrity motorcade.
Here is our video of the Legends of the Force Motorcade from our location.
I forgot to move quickly from our spot when the rope dropped for the celebrity welcome, and ended up pretty far back. Jeff did give me a few screen caps to show what happened on stage (plus we have a video below).
There is one other actor on stage, Amy Allen, who portrayed Jedi Aayla Secura. I never caught her looking in our direction for a good photo during the motorcade.
James Arnold Taylor always has boundless energy, from morning until night!
McDiarmid and Allen pose with Star Wars characters.
Fireworks shoot off over the stage.
Here is our video of the celebrity welcome!
A much shorter version of the motorcade always heads back down Hollywood Boulevard, toward the front of the park. It includes Jedi Mickey, and the celebrities. It used to not be very well known that this happened, but the entire route was busy except for where the Deluxe Premium Package area was.
Jedi Mickey heads backstage.
A Stormtrooper with Tower of Terror in the background.
Another Stormtrooper with Crossroads of the World in the background.
We chose Stars of the Saga as our show on the package. There were several different entrances. One entrance was for packages, one for Fastpass, and somewhere there was a standby line. We arrived about an hour before the show. Unfortunately all of the lines were outside in direct sun, unlike when these shows were in the Premiere Theater.
Guests wait in a line outside of the theater.
The entire middle section below the sound booth was reserved. We walked into the theater with the other package guests, but chose to sit outside of this section.
Stars of the Saga is a talk show with two of the celebrities, hosted by James Arnold Taylor.
Guests should arrive early to see the famous Stormtrooper skit. This year, Darth Vader makes an appearance.
As always, one of the Stormtroopers doesn’t make it.
We have a video of the Stormtrooper skit!
James Arnold Taylor is a man of 1000 voices, and he always shows them off before the show. He is extremely talented, and has his own show as well.
Ian McDiarmid takes to the stage, with his alter ego behind him.
James Arnold Taylor with Jedi Mickey, Amy Allen, and Ian McDiarmid.
We had a few hours until the dessert party, so we went looking for characters and to check out the merchandise.
We didn’t book the Rebel Hangar for this year, but so far the reviews for this dining experience have been good.
Chewbacca takes a look at our camera.
Jeff stands in front of Darth Maul (advertising Darth’s Mall). There are three sections of the mall this year, and we first stopped at the Prop Shop. It contains mostly basic merchandise including t-shirts and hats, plus Star Wars LEGO kits.
Guests can enjoy a free LEGO build.
LEGO C3P0 is nearby.
Each step of the process is shown on a card. We waited about 10 minutes to do this. It was a lot of fun!
This is the Star Wars Weekends 2015 cap.
The official Star Wars 2015 t-shirt.
In the afternoon, we went looking for characters. Jedi Mickey and Princess Leia Minnie were out greeting guests.
Minnie hid behind Mickey because she was scared of Darth Vader. 🙂
Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy.
Doesn’t the Chinese Theater look beautiful?
Ewoks Chip and Dale were greeting guests.
My favorite place to hang out and take photos is the Dark Side. We didn’t have as much time for photos here as usual, but I definitely recommend it! Zam Wesell passed by us here.
A Stormtrooper stops in front of me.
Darth Vader heads back out after a break.
Passholders can receive a free poster each week. The distribution is near Toy Story Midway Mania.
We headed back to Darth’s Mall.
We have already been to the Prop Shop, now we are heading to Watto’s Grotto and X-Wing Collectibles. The shops are open until 7:30 p.m.
These large Topps cards were a lot of fun to look at. Check out the Topp’s Star Wars Facebook page! Jeff used to collect the orginals as a kid, I mostly collected Topps baseball cards.
The line was being patrolled.
Our first stop was X-Wing Collectibles.
This shop wasn’t too badly packed with guests. Passholder merchandise, collectibles, artwork and more can be found here.
My favorite Disney artist is now Jerrod Maruyama. I love this design, with Star Wars and it’s a small world!
Princess Leia comic books.
C2P0 and R2-D2 above.
This Yoda plush comes out in the fall.
R4-D23 comes out at the D23 Expo.
Download the Aurasma app to see movement in the artwork outside of Watto’s Grotto.
Watto’s Grotto feels very small. Expect to get to know other guests very well while inside.
Inside, a guest showed me all of her Duffy bear artwork. These were awesome!
Tusken Raiders as part of the background.
Jedi Mickey and Darth Duffy.
Star Wars Weekend shirt with the water tower.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens shirt.
Guests can purchase a Darth Vader or Han Solo Popcorn Bucket, or one of the three different types of Star Wars cupcakes.
We have a video of the new Jabba the Hutt cupcake.
Take a look around the shop for interesting displays.
We posed with this T-47 Airspeeder.
Here is a look at both of the shops.
It was time to line up for the dessert party. We arrived a half hour before it opened, and we did fine with our table. There is no seating here. The tables feel much closer than last year, and a lot of kids were on the ground – with it being so dark, it made it a little harder to get around and not step on anyone. I had two older kids at my feet much of the time, even though I moved our table away from the one behind us.
DJ Lobot was playing tunes.
Here is a look at the various desserts. My favorites were the cupcakes, but I also didn’t try everything. The desserts were quite different from last year. Even the small cupcakes – Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt and Yoda – were different, much softer and messier than previously. I gave up trying to photograph the signage for them (when there was signage). The labels weren’t laid out nearly as nicely as last year, but hopefully that will change.
The new Jabba the Hutt cupcake is salted caramel flavor.
Cupcakes side by side, with themed wraps.
There are also frozen bananas.
I didn’t try the Rice Krispie treats.
This small chocolate dessert was wonderful.
Guests could line up at several bars for specialty drinks. plus there were cans of Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke and small bottles of water.
Here is a look at the specialty drinks. My favorite is The Force (the first one).
The Force is on the left, The Jedi Mind Trick is on the right.
The pre-show before Symphony in the Stars fireworks began.
There is a screen overhead, which was the only way I could really see it – and really, it is the way most guests will see it.
This was my view of the stage most of the time.
James Arnold Taylor hosts the finale.
Jeff shared these screen grabs.
These are the new “The Force Awakens” Stormtroopers.
For my purposes, a table further back might have been better for viewing.
Jeff had a better view of the stage and took this video of the show.
Fireworks viewing here was better than it was last year, but isn’t perfect. The large stage is in the way, but the hat no longer is. So while last year, the area in front of us completely cleared out as guests went looking for a better fireworks view, most guests stayed put this year.
This was an okay view, and having drinks with it didn’t hurt.
At the end of the fireworks, it is a hard close. Last year during our dessert party, there were still drinks available for a little while. This time around, guests left much more quickly. We could still take a dessert if we wanted, and bottled water was being handed out – but overall, it was over.
This Han Solo carbonite table had been covered with desserts (as had some other tables with artwork).
I didn’t leave our table often because of the crowd during the event, but there were decorations this year (I don’t know if there had been last year).
I don’t know if I would book the Star Wars Feel the Force Premium Package on the first day of Star Wars Weekends next year, I would prefer to get full photos of the motorcade and fireworks from a different location. But in the situation where a celebrity guest is very popular and we want to see a show, I would definitely book it. We missed out on Frank Oz this year by waiting too long, and I will keep trying. As it was last year, the Feel the Force Premium Package is more about the experience than the viewing. The price went up this year, but it is still a decent value for the morning snacks, the dessert party with drinks, and the show seating. The Feel the Force Deluxe Premium Package is similar, but gives seating for all shows, along with a bit better motorcade viewing location and quick access for the shops. That package costs $99.00 for adults and $64.00 for children. Read more about both package details on the official Walt Disney World website.