Walt Disney World, MGM Studios, Orlando, FL
June 3, 2006
Story and Photos by Chad McDonald (Jedichirp)

Hey Troops!! I just docked the Star Cruiser after our flight back home after a week long trip to Disney World with my family. I happened to be there during Star Wars Weekends 2 and 3 and had a great time the for the 2 days that I attended at MGM Studios.

Immediately after stepping out of the bus from our resort, our ears picked up a very familiar sound---Star Wars theme music was being played as you walked in the gates. We got up to the gates early and were allowed to enter MGM a little early and my daughter and I used this time to stake out our ground for some autographs. I had my sites set on Jake Lloyd and Warwick Davis for Week 2 and for Week 3 getting Jay Laga' aia. We were successful at getting Warwick Davis and Jay Laga' aia but fell short on Lloyd. Anyone wanting a celebrity autograph needs to head IMMEDIATELY to the Indiana Jones Stunt area to receive a Fast Pass ticket to assure you get your autograph. Each celebrity has a set number of tickets and times and the tickets go fast.

After getting our autograph tickets, we headed to the Star Tours ride for a little fun. My son seems to be a speed freak but I was still a bit weary of taking him on this ride. But he absolutely loved it!! We must have ridden that ride a dozen times or more over the course of the day as the lines we surprisingly short. After exiting the Star Tours ride, everyone is led into the Tatooine Traders Store. This store is not very spacious and tends to get crowded very quickly with exiting riders from Star Tours. But we fought through the store well enough to spend a great deal of my cash on plenty of items for my collection. We purchased anything from shirts to Mickey/Yoda figures to posters and artwork. I could have loaded up a complete Star Cruiser with merchandise but found some will power to pass on some of the more expensive items that I liked. If my wife wouldn't have been holding the cash, we might have had our vacation cut short on day one due to my purchases!

Take THAT you worthless Jawa!Later in the day we saw the parade which included an abundance of our favorite characters. Vader, Boba Fett, stormtroopers, sandtroopers, the Emperor and his Royal Guards, a Gamorrean Guard, and my absolute favorite costumed character of the weekend--Aurra Sing. This girl WOULD NOT crack a smile at all, and trust me, I tried. Even though I have been a Star Wars fan for what seems like forever, it still amazes me how many true, die hard fans that are out there. I loved seeing all of those kids, some dressed with their Jedi robes, with wide eyes after seeing their favorite characters walk by and flashbulbs going off from cameras all throughout the parade. My son loved this part, but he was somewhat hesitant of any of the Disney/Star Wars characters getting too close to him so we missed out on some photo opportunities but still had fun waving to the passing parade.

My daughter and I rode the Backlot Tour ride and saw the Skiff the Jimsjedi mentioned was missing from it's normal area. It was parked next to a wonderful line of other vehicle props from various movies including a crashed Snow Speeder. That ride was well worth it not only for the Star Wars vehicles, but for all the props from different movies. I am a movie maniac and loved this.

As for Week 3, I went to get Jay Laga' aia's autograph and also get the artist of the 2006 Star Wars Weekends poster and was successful on both attempts. We also made a few more purchases and headed out the door. The schedule was pretty much the same and I really would have liked to stay for longer, but I got outvoted seeing it was our last full day in Disney.

Overall, the vacation was a great time and the Star Wars Weekends is really something I'd suggest for any true Star Wars fan. It's really something that the kids will enjoy and remember forever and there is plenty of other stops along the way for the adult Star Wars fans as well. If any of you can make it to Week 4, have a wonderful time.

To see the photo gallery containing 12 photos click here.