Week 1: May 10, 11, 12 2013
Story & Photos: by Dave Cross
Photos: Nabil Carrillo - Nabil 6901


Once again it's time for Disney Star Wars weekends. This is the first event since Disney has purchased the franchise. You can tell the house of mouse is beginning to wrap its arms around their newest acquisition, especially in the merchandise department. This weekend we had returning hosts James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein. The special guests for this first weekend were Ray Park, Dee Bradley Baker, and Jeremy Bulloch. If you ever attend, I would suggest getting to the park to line up for the fast pass no later than 5 am. Yes I know that is early, but if you want to be guaranteed an autograph this is what you will need to do. You can always try a walk-up but you are never guaranteed. I've managed to have a lot of luck over the years with walk-ups but you never know. I've attended several Star Wars Weekends and I have to say I enjoy them just as much as a Celebration event, but even better because they go for four weekends instead of four days. One other great thing about these events, it's a great place to meet up with old friends as well as a chance to make new ones. It also give you a chance to spend a little one on one time with the celebrities and take in some air conditioned shows.

Day 1: Logan and Nabil were able to make the whole day. There were lots of fans lines up early in the morning. The lines were long for Ray and Jeremy so they decided to wait for Dee Bradley. Once again Ashley hosted the Behind the Force show. This is where you get the chance to see how the clone wars or any other similar voice over shows are done. This year they changed it up a bit and picked three lucky fans to read along with the cast. They also added some visual additions to the show. There was also another surprise as they showed another Clone Wars Season 6 story arc featuring Yoda. I was lucky enough to make it late in the day and was able to get a walk-up session with Dee Bradley. Dee was great as usual, happy friendly signing autographs and having fun with fans. We also got a chance to see James Arnold's show. He's updated it since last year, so if you've seen it before I would suggest catching it again. Once again James Arnold shows how great a talent at voice over work he can do.

Day 2: It was a short day for us. We waited for James Arnold. Once again Ray Park and Jeremy Bulloch had the long lines. This was the first time I took one of my daughters with me and we had a great time. The early morning is a great  time to catch up on rides. As most fans are heading to the store to buy merchandise, the rides are empty. We managed to get on our favorite rides several times before our autograph time. James was he usual self, not sure if I've ever seen him have a bad day.

Day 3: Another early morning start. Since Ray's lines had been so long we figured we would get an early start to make sure we had a chance at an autograph. Good thing to since we were once of the last few to get a fast pass. Seems Ray likes to spend time with the fans, they have reduced his sessions to one session per day, giving a limited number of fast passes. Since we had an afternoon autograph session, we took the time to get some rides in as well as the motorcade parade. Once again to get the prime viewing area it is best to stake out a spot as early as you can. The parade goes down Hollywood Boulevard and concludes with the grand celebrity welcome. Our next stop was the Behind the Force: Star Wars Voices. This was the same show that I mentioned on day one, except this time yours truly was lucky enough to be picked to voice a Gamorrean Guard for today's episode. I had a lot of fun doing this and got some great tips from Dee Bradley.

Everyone had lots of laughs and a great time. For my part I was given a Hasbro 2007 Vintage Coin Set that was signed by our celebrity hosts. To me this was great, since I didn't get the chance to get this set in the past, plus it was autographed. It seemed the weather didn't want to be in our favor and the skies decided to open up as we were waiting for Ray Park's autograph. Luckily we've been through this scenario before, make a mental note if you attend Star Wars weekend, and bring rain gear, especially ponchos. You want to make sure your collectibles stay dry. The rains at least brought some relieve from the heat and also dispersed the crowds. You'd be surprise what a little water does to tourists. This helped us get a few more autographs for our collections. We were able to do some walk-ups, managed to get a few from Dee Bradley as well as Jeremy Bulloch.

Overall it was a great start to this year's Star Wars Weekends. We managed to get all of the stuff signed that we had hoped for and then some. In addition to that we were able to catch the shows we wanted and managed to get some rides in. So now it's time to catch up on some sleep, get some rest and get ready for weekend two. And as always Troopers, United We Find.

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