Wow. Star Wars Weekends ended over a month ago, and I never got around to posting my pictures from the event. Chalk it up to pure absentmindedness, not a reflection of the month-long celebration of all things “Star Wars.”
I wrote up the Weekends last year, which was my first visit to the popular event, held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was told at the time that the Weekends tend to shamelessly recycle themselves year after year, and I could finally see the repetition in 2009, where Disney brought out a horde of familiar events to thrill and chill the fans and admirers of George Lucas’s crazy intergalactic franchise.
This year was decidedly more “Clone Wars” slanted. The Weekends left no promotional stone unturned with the Cartoon Network show, flying in cast and crew for interviews and ratcheting up the merchandise offerings, from the everyday stuff to the ridiculous collectibles (which sold out in minutes, of course). The effort appeared a success to me, with a wide assortment of boys dressed as Clone Troopers, and the occasional brave girl dolled up as Ahsoka Tano. I didn’t spot a single Stinky. While the little I’ve seen of “Clone Wars” has pleased me, I’m thankful most of the nerd energy was devoted to classic “Star Wars” tributes and pageantry. I’m certain the thrill of seeing parents dressed up in outfits alongside their costumed kids will never get old, reinforcing my deep-seated desire to see “Star Wars” remain in pop culture awareness for as long as possible, passed down to future generations.
I covered pretty much the whole shebang last year, but for 2009, I put forth the effort to snap some personal pics at the character meet-and-greets. It’s the highlight of the Weekends, a chance for a mere mortal like myself to rub elbows with Chewbacca, or trade goods with a Jawa -- or watch little kids not fully understand the concept of bartering with a little actor trapped inside a Jawa costume on a stifling 100-degree June afternoon. The trouble with these lines to glad hand an icon comes with their length. Forced to hang around for 30-45 minutes for some of the more popular characters, it hardly seems worth the delay just to grab 10-15 seconds of an Ewok’s time. And I place a special curse on the house of the event planner who decided it was a superb idea to drag a few of these queues out into unshaded areas. Clearly this is not a person who lives in Florida.
Star Wars Weekends is a unique occasion for geeks and families to mingle, and it was a treat to return to the park for four straight weeks and take in the sights and sounds (and smells -- yikes) once again, only this time armed with some much needed hindsight. While a few of said sights and sounds were reheated leftovers from previous incarnations of the event, the showcase still tickles me.
A few of the pictures might look awfully familiar, but I swear on the life of Master Yoda these are all 2009 snaps.