The last time we went over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends it was the 30th anniversary of “The Empire Strikes Back.” How appropriate, then, that we were back among the Star Wars faithful this Saturday (also Geek Pride Day and Towel Day) celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Return of the Jedi” (which was released on May 25, 1983).
The park was packed, which we expected, but it’s always fun to see all the Star Wars t-shirts and costumes people wear for the festival weekends. With the acquisition of LucasFilm by Disney last year (and the planned new movies), I expected a lot more “Disneyfication” of the franchise and thus wasn’t surprised at the sheer amount of merchandise and Disney/Star Wars swag available at Darth’s Mall and around the entire park.
The parade/motorcade was pretty much exactly the same: a long phalanx of characters from all of the movies with a health sprinkling of their Disney counterparts (Jedi Mickey, Darth Goofy, Chip & Dale as “chipwoks,” etc.). The special guests were Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok), Ray Park (Darth Maul), James Arnold Taylor (the voice of Obi Wan in Clone Wars), Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Clone Wars), and Jim Cummings (voice of Hondo Ohnaka in Clone Wars). We didn’t see nearly as many wandering characters as last time but my daughter did get to give a Wookie a high-five after the motorcade.
Of course we rode the new Star Tours, which had a relatively short standby line (we got through in 15 minutes!). We missed out on a photo opportunity with R2D2 and C3PO again (they were hidden in Darth’s Mall and by the time we got there we had little time before we had to leave and the line was very long) but did wait in line for a photo opp with a clone trooper and Darth Goofy with storm trooper Donald. In Darth’s Mall they had a LEGO-by-numbers exhibit where you could put together a tiny square of colored LEGOs and then add it to the larger mosaic creating the different “Return of the Jedi” movie posters … pretty cool.