Disney Hollywood Studios Theme Park begins their Star Wars Weekends in May, which is a fantastic way to celebrate Star Wars Day.
Star Tours Ride
Central to the celebration is the famous Star Tours theme park ride where guests board a “runaway” speeder. (This is a flight simulator ride that runs all year round.)
Teresa’s Tip: No need to sit this one out even if there are some who don’t want to ride! There is a rider swap available for this ride if there are some kids in your group who are under the 40″ height requirement or who are afraid of a motion simulator as our son was when he was little. One parent can go with with the children who ride while the rest sit it out, and then the second parent can ride while everyone else shops in the store at the exit. (If you go during a “slow time”, they’ll let the little riders go a second time with the other parent!)
Star Wars Weekend Parade
They have very cool Star Wars parades during their Star Wars Weekends.
Star Wars Jedi Academy Show for Little Padawans
Also all year round, they offer padawans aged 4 – 12 the opportunity to learn how to use lightsabers (and end up in a battle with Darth Vader himself) in the Jedi Training Academy show. Only a few children are picked out of the audience to participate; it is not a ride. We’ve noticed in our many visits there that children who are dressed in Star Wars garb of some sort are chosen first. All children are given a brown jedi robe to wear for the show which makes for great photos. Get there early to make sure your kids are right at the front of the stage for better chances to be chosen.
Teresa’s Tip: The stage for the show at Disney World is right beside the Backlot Express cafeteria where they serve hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, turkey burgers and even a vegetarian grilled vegetable sandwich. There is seating outside the cafeteria right beside the stage on an elevated platform that makes it a wonderful place to watch the show if you don’t mind the slight angle. If there is a large crowd, kids can stand on the rung of the rail around the cafeteria and see the show over all the heads! It is first come, first serve, so scramble the family together to get the best seat in the house.
Star Wars Dance Off Show
The Star Wars Dance Off show where characters from the Star Wars galaxy dance to well known pop songs is fun and absolutely hilarious!
During the Star Wars Weekends there are celebrity autograph signings and photo opportunities with your favorite Star Wars characters. All year round there is a speeder with an Endor background for a *free* photo op! (Just across from the Star Tours ride.)
Teresa’s Tip: Instead of the usual autograph book, do what we did one year. My sons wore Disney t-shirts and brought a Sharpie for the characters to sign their shirt on the back. It was fun for everyone, even the characters! They wore those t-shirts with pride and now they are part of their collection in their “keepsake box” that I have for each of my kids. Use a wide, thick marker because it is easier for the characters with gloves to use.
Make sure the kids save up their money because of course there is an amazing store at the exit of the Star Tours ride. There are toys and collectibles there that you didn’t even know existed! There is a “Make Your Own Lightsaber” display where you can choose from several different selections to create a unique lightsaber that’s all your own. If you have a Star Wars fan in your family I guarantee that you won’t be able to leave the building without making a purchase. It’s just impossible!
Teresa’s Tip: If you’d like your kids to earn their souvenir money for their trip, give them chores to do for Disney Dollars. This works wonders for you two ways: one, they have to save the money for their trip because it can only be spent at a Disney park locations and two, it limits how much they can spend on souvenirs – once the Disney Dollars are gone, no more shopping! To purchase Disney Dollars phone the Walt Disney World Ticketing tell them if you want $1, $5, or $10 denominations. Disney Dollars are equal to US dollars and never expire.
Please note that I am not associated with Disney or Disney Dollars; this is only a “mom’s idea”.