Sometimes I find myself in a rut during the early Spring….there are no more holidays to celebrate, and our annual end-of-summer family vacation seems so far away. It’s too early to start really planning for our August trip, but I need something to keep me going. Since the kids are still in school, often we will try to plan a Spring weekend family trip to someplace close, like a local amusement park. But last year, I started to think about taking a solo trip to Disney World. No kids, no husband, no one to think about but myself.
I have always been a big fan of Star Wars, and had heard about Star Wars Weekends (SWW) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But I knew that my two girls who were under 8 years old would not want to spend their Disney Vacation waiting on lines to meet Star Wars characters and seeing Star Wars celebrity shows. Plus, it took place when school is in session. So in 2015, I started to consider if I could possibly justify a solo trip just to go to Star Wars Weekend.
Luckily, I had airline miles to offset the cost of the flight from NJ to FL, I had a few DVC points to spare, and I had some unused vacation days burning a hole in pocket. I was able to find a room through DVC at Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL), which is not terribly close to Hollywood Studios. But this was a fairly last minute trip for me, so I thought “beggars can’t be choosers” (and AKL is pretty cool anyway). However, I was a bit concerned about making sure that I maximized my short stay and saw everything I wanted to at SWW, knowing that this might be my one and only time to experience it (spoiler alert – it was).
So, I turned to the DISboards, and did a search for “Star Wars Weekends.” I found this thread (now inactive): Official Star Wars Weekends Thread Tips and Tricks 2015 by yulilin3. And wow, did I find what I was looking for. This forum was amazing, told me everything I needed to know about SWW and kept me up-to-date on what was happening. I even asked a few questions through this thread (something I don’t often do) and got lots of helpful, positive responses. In fact, this thread was extremely positive, with folks posting their experiences and advice and no judgments or snide comments.
As a result of this thread I was able to do 99% of what I dreamed of doing during my SWW experience.
- I was able to find a coveted breakfast reservation for the Galactic Breakfast at the Sci Fi Diner where I met Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and got to watch the original Star Wars trailers on the big screen (as well as storm trooper recruiting ads).
- I learned about the Fireworks Dessert Party – what it was, when and how it could be booked. Not only did I enjoy fantastic viewing of the parade, and fireworks, I also had access to all the Mickey Ice Cream bars I could eat, as well as a Fastpass for “A Conversation with Frank Oz”.
A Conversation With Frank Oz
- I learned how to most efficiently meet Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and Ewok Chip and Dale (by booking a meal at Hollywood and Vine). And then found out that C3PO and R2D2 were “randomly” appearing in the line to meet Luke and Leia. By following the advice on the thread I got to see them walk/roll right by me, take a picture of them, and came soooo close to meeting them.
- And finally, the DISboards helped me obtain my two most prized souvenirs ever. I was able to score a picture with Chewie and his Ewok friend by taking a cab to Hollywood Studios so I could arrive at 8am and make the “Chewie Run” through the park to his meet and greet area. And, I was able to make a reservation in advance to be immortalized as a Star Wars Action Figure, something I had dreamed about since learning about it years earlier.
While I was certainly sad to hear that the 2015 SWW was to be the last one (for the near future at least), I’m so thankful that I got to experience it that one time, and I’ve already started to enjoy the other Star Wars attractions at DHS (hint – there is a current thread for that too!).
So, how have you used the DISboards to plan your vacation?