The 2000 Star Wars Weekends are scheduled for four consecutive weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday):
May 5 - 7 Hugh Quarshie (Captain Panaka) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2)
May 12 - 14 Iain McCaig (Concept Designer) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
May 19 - 21 Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker) and Dave Prowse (Darth Vader)
May 26 - 28 Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia, Saturday and Sunday) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)
The far away galaxy of Star Wars returns to Walt
Disney World Resort beginning May 4, 2001 with the second annual Star Wars
Weekends. Lucasfilm Ltd.and Disney-MGM Studios are teaming up for four
consecutive weekends of Star Wars fun.
Inspired by the four Star Wars films -- Star Wars,
The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace -- Star
Wars Weekends bring guests face-to-face with their favorite characters,
from the cuddly Ewoks to the evil Darth Maul.
Here's what's in store:
Here's what's in store:
Visitors to the Disney - MGM Studios theme park in
Orlando, Florida this weekend were greeted not only by a famous mouse, but
also two stormtroopers and a famous bounty hunter monitoring their
movements. This extra "security" was put in place for the first
of four Star Wars Weekends taking place at the park each Friday, Saturday
and Sunday in May.
Each day includes a rich mix of Star Wars
experiences, including a high-profile celebrity motorcade featuring
personalities from the Star Wars universe. On Saturday, May 6, the parade
began near the opening gate led by an Imperial Officer, Chewbacca, two
Jawas and followed by a strong contingent of young Padawans - local
children who are students of martial arts - dressed in Jedi-inspired robes
and displaying new skills with lightsabers. The crowd was thrilled to
catch sight of cars carrying two actors from The Phantom Menace - Kenny
Baker (R2-D2) and Hugh Quarshie (Captain Panaka). Darth Vader, Boba Fett
and a squad of stormtroopers kept enthusiastic visitors at bay as the
motorcade made its final destination under the park's full-sized AT-AT.
Quarshie and Baker then took some time to talk with a
Disney representative and answer questions from the crowd. Fans young and
old were entertained with stories reminiscing about the creation of the
films and descriptions of life in the severe heat of Tunisia where the
Tatooine scenes were shot. After the questions, the actors participated in
the park tradition of placing their hands in cement as a permanent
commemoration of their visit.
fully enter the Star Wars experience, many guests chose to transform
themselves into Darth Maul, Queen Amidala or even Jar Jar Binks with the
help of the talented face painters on hand.
A favorite destination of park guests is the Star
Tours ride where what should be a smooth shuttle to the moon of Endor
suddenly turns in to a body shaking adventure. Having survived the trip,
visitors make their way into the newly renovated Tatooine Trader gift shop
where the usual line of Star Wars memorabilia of all kinds was joined with
special items exclusive to the Star Wars Weekends. The limited edition
posters, shirts and pins (two new styles each weekend) were hits with the
fans and many found their way into the autograph lines.
Throughout the day, beloved Star Wars characters
including Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker,
Princess Leia, and Queen Amidala delighted the crowds by signing
autographs and posing for pictures. It was often difficult to tell if the
smiles of the children were any bigger than the smiles of the parents
taking a photo. Naturally, older fans couldn't pass up the chance to meet
their favorites as well.
Training to become a Jedi, however, remains the
domain of the young. Five times each day, visiting children had the chance
to participate in a Jedi Training Camp. After taking an oath to use the
Force for knowledge and defense and never for attack, the young trainees
learned the beginning moves of a Jedi using their practice lightsabers.
Unfortunately, the evil Darth Vader interrupted the lesson looking for new
dark side apprentices. Using their new skills, however, the young trainees
were able to drive him a way and remain on the path of true Jedi.
With other activites including a behind-the-scenes presentation about the making of The Phantom Menace, a video starcade with Classic Star Wars arcade games, a Cantina Street Party, trivia contests and more, the first Star Wars Weekend brought a dose of Star Wars magic to visitors of every age and every level of fandom. With three more weekends and guests including Jake Lloyd and Carrie Fisher, there's still time to get in on the excitement.