Star Wars Celebration to Bring The Force to Orlando April 13-16, 2017 #SWCO

Star Wars Celebration to Bring The Force to Orlando April 13-16, 2017

Star Wars Celebration touches on everything connected with that galaxy far, far away, and in 2017, it returns to Orlando the weekend of April 13-16.

This official Lucasfilm event offers the largest Star Wars parties, and features appearances by cast and crew celebrities, fans, costumes, music, live entertainment, autographs, collectibles, and panels.

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MegaCon Orlando Returns May 26-29, 2016

MegaCon Orlando Returns May 26-29, 2016

MegaCon returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Memorial Weekend, May 26-29, 2016.

This four-day fest features celebrities from the worlds of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comics. Fans can meet their favorites, get autographs and photos, view Q&A panels, and more.

Among the guests scheduled to appear are:

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New Star Wars Experiences to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in December 2015

A Star Wars-themed land at Walt Disney World is still a few years away, but there are a few new Star Wars experiences that will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in December.

Star Wars Experiences to Open at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Launch Bay will take guests into the Star Wars saga and the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, special merchandise and opportunities to encounter Chewbacca and Darth Vader.

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Star Wars Land Announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at #D23 EXPO 2015

Yesterday (August 15) at the D23 EXPO 2015, The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced that a Star Wars-themed land will be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars Land Announced for Disney's Hollywood Studios

The expansion will cover 14 acres, and will add two signature attractions. One of those will put guests behind the controls of the Millenium Falcon itself. Oh yeah, I can’t wait for that one.

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Walt Disney World To Debut Two Limited Time Star Wars Themed Dining Experiences on May 4, 2014

Just in time for this year’s Star Wars Weekends, Walt Disney World will be debuting two limited-time Star Wars themed dining experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney characters as Star Wars charactersBeginning May 4 – or as known in the Star War universe, Star Wars Day – guests will be able to partake in both breakfast and dinner with Disney characters dressed up in their best Star Wars garb.

Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast” will be held at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. The screen, which normally shows classic drive-in trailers and ads, will show clips from the Star Wars saga as guests dine on breakfast. There will be characters present during the meal.

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May the 4th Be With You at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 4, 2013

dhs-maythe4th

May 4th is an unofficial Star Wars day, in which fans salute you with the greeting, “May the 4th Be With You.” It’s a play on “May the Force Be With You.”

Well, this May 4th, Walt Disney World will be having a Limited Time Magic event that will be celebrating all things Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

You can meet Star Wars characters and have pictures taken with them, train to be a Jedi with your kids (ages 4-12, sign-ups required on first-come basis), dance to galactic beats at the Star Wars dance party, and enjoy a DJ-ed dance party with a special Star Wars fireworks at night from Hollywood Blvd.

There will also be special edition pins and tees, with messages like “May the Fourth Be with You” and “Revenge of the Fifth,” for purchase.

This will be a nice warm-up for Star Wars Weekends, which start just a few weeks later on May 17th.

All “May the 4th Be With You” events are included in regular park admission.

Orlando Science Center Brings in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Actress Ashley Eckstein on March 23

03-22-2013-ashley-in-star-wars-exhibit-miniStar Wars fans can meet actress Ashley Eckstein at the Orlando Science Center on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

An alumna of Orlando Repertory Theater, Eckstein is known as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

She will be appearing at the OSC from 10am to 5pm, as part of the final days of the popular exhibit Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, which ends April 7. Eckstein will participate in question-and-answer panels, autograph sessions and photo ops throughout the day.

Admission to Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination is $27 for adults and $20 for youth (ages 3-11), and includes all regular exhibits and films at the OSC.

For more information on the event, please call 407-514-2000 or visit osc.org.

Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination Coming to Orlando Science Center in October 2012

This is a good year for Star Wars fans in Central Florida. So far, we’ve had Star Wars Weekends at Disney, the huge Star Wars Celebration VI convention, and even the annual Galactic Encounter Day at the Orlando History Center.

Han Solo and Chewbacca costumes

Now the Orlando Science Center brings the innovative exhibition “Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination” to town for a limited engagement, beginning on October 13, 2012.

Developed by the Museum of Science Boston, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., and presented by Bose Corporation©, the 10,000 square-foot exhibit explores the fantasy technologies depicted in the Star Wars films. It also shows the real science behind them, and the current research that may someday lead to real-life versions of the technologies seen in the film series.

This exhibition is the first to display costumes and props from all six Star Wars films with real-world technologies. The exhibit includes extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers, and hands-on components, including two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test their own speeders and robots.

Admission to Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination is $27 for adults and $20 for youth (ages 3-11). Tickets include access to “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” and all four floors of exhibits, giant screen films and live presentations. Science Center members see “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” for $12 for adults and $9 for youth.

Actor Daniel Logan, who portrayed the young Boba Fett in the Star Wars prequels, will be on hand to kick off opening weekend. He will be appearing both October 13 and 14, participating in autograph and photo sessions, as well as a Q&A panel, each day.

“Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination” will be at the OSC until April 7, 2013.

Star Wars Droids

[Photos © 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.]

Galactic Encounter Day Brings the Force to the Orlando History Center September 15

If you didn’t get enough Star Wars at the convention here in Orlando, last month, then the Force will be with you this month at the Orlando History Center.

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“Galactic Encounter Day” takes place on Saturday, September 15, 2012, from 10:30am to 3pm.

As with years past, the 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist will march through Heritage Square downtown, beginning at 11am. The parade is free to watch, but I suggest lining up early, as a lot of people show up for this.

After, the History Center will continue the fun with opportunities to build your own light saber; enjoy “Blue Milk,” “Wookie Cookies,” and “Yoda Juice”; and work alongside a LEGO® Master Builder to construct a foot-tall R2-D2 model.

There will also be photo opportunities with Star Wars characters.

Galactic Encounter Day activities are included with general admission to the History Center. Adults are $9, seniors and military are $7, and ages 5-12 are $6.

For more information, visit thehistorycenter.org.

The Orlando History Center is located downtown at 65 E. Central Blvd. Phone is 407-836-8500.

[Image courtesy of the Orlando History Center]

Legoland Florida Confirms Star Wars Addition

Yesterday, we reported on a teaser video sent out by Legoland Florida regarding an upcoming expansion.

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We speculated it would be an addition of a Star Wars area to the Miniland section of the park.

This morning, Legoland Florida confirmed this, as they announced they were expanding the park to include a Star Wars Miniland.

During the morning announcement, Legoland Florida GM Adrian Jones revealed a massive Millennium Falcon replica, as well a a life-sized Darth Maul.

The Star Wars Miniland will be crafted from 1.5 million Lego bricks and it will become the eighth interactive area in the park’s Miniland USA attraction. This area features Lego recreations of famous American cities, like New York and San Francisco.

Legoland Florida says it expects to open the expansion in November 2012.

[Photo courtesy of Legoland Florida]

Legoland Florida Hints at New Star Wars Attraction

Legoland Florida plans to announce another expansion of the theme park this week, and judging by the teaser video sent out to media outlets yesterday, it’s going to have a Star Wars theme.

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The video shows a scrolling yellow type over a star-and-galaxy background, reminiscent of the scroll featured at the beginning of every Star Wars movie.

“In two days’ time in a galaxy 45 minutes away … the esteemed council of Legoland Florida will reveal a top-secret expansion taking place within the park in the year 2012,” the announcement states.

Legoland’s California theme park, by San Diego, already has a Star Wars display in its Miniland section, and it’s impressive. It includes scenes from the six-live action films and the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” movie/TV series.

So my guess is that the Central Florida park will be getting its own Star Wars Miniland area.

Legoland Florida said it will announce the details of the expansion tomorrow (9/6) at 10:30am.

May the Force be With Us!

[Photo courtesy of Legoland California]

Star Wars Celebration Convention Returns to Orlando in August 2012

I admit it. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ve seen every movie (including the first) on opening weekend. I own memorabilia ranging from posters to trading cards. Well, you get the idea.

So you can imagine my joy at hearing that the Star Wars Celebration convention would be returning to Orlando this year. The last one was also held here in 2010, and I had a great time covering it. This will be the sixth edition of this convention which attracts Star Wars fans worldwide.

Celebration VI is set to roll into the Orange County Convention Center August 23 through 26, and already has a great guest line-up.

Spotlight guests (which I believe will be holding panels) include:

  • Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia)
  • Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine)
  • Seth Green and Matthew Senreich (Robot Chicken, which does a lot of SW parodies)
  • Dave Filoni ( Star Wars: The Clone Wars director)
  • Joel Aron (SW: The Clone Wars Lighting & FX supervisor)

Other guests, who will be participating in autograph sessions, include:

  • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
  • Kenny Baker (R2-D2)
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)
  • Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
  • Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker)
  • Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett)
  • Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar)

There’s also a huge merchandise room, where you’ll be able to buy just about anything Star Wars.

I have to be honest though. One of my favorite things about the last convention, Celebration V, was seeing the fans who took the time to dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters.

If you want to attend Celebration VI, ticket prices for individual day passes are $55 for Thursday, Friday and Sunday and $65 for Saturday for adults, and $27 for kids 12 and under. Save money by buying four-day passes, which are $135 for adults and $54 for kids.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.starwarscelebration.com

Walt Disney World Throws a Midnight Preview Party for Star Tours Fans

As mentioned previously, the renovated Star Tours attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios officially opened on Friday, May 20.

A few days prior, the Disney Parks blog gave notice there would be a sneak preview event at midnight for a select group of fans that would be determined by an online lottery of sorts. Unfortunately, I missed the cut-off, but my friend Angie made it and was kind enough to invite me along as her guest.

We arrived around 11pm on Thursday (5/19) at Blizzard Beach, got our wristbands and got on one of the shuttle busses that would take us all to DHS.

Since the park itself was closed, our bus caravan wound around backstage and deposited us right next to the Star Tours attraction at midnight. As soon as we got off the bus, Angie and her hubby went off to do the ride. I decided to go slower and photograph as much as I could.

The backstage area had a few Star Wars Imperial signage, as well as light globes that resembled multi-colored planets. Right before the entrance into the guest area of the park, a red carpet led us into a smoke filled tunnel where we exited into the Star Tours area. It was so smoky, I actually ran up upon a member of the Mos Eisley cantina band.

I was then accosted by a Jawa, who tried to trade me a space candy bar for my R2D2 phone. No trade, sorry. I tried to take a self-portrait of myself with the cantina band, but only succeeded in getting my head in at one corner of the shot.

I wandered around taking photos of other characters in attendance: Storm Troopers, Chewie, Ewoks and a Gamorrean Guard. I also watched a bit of a Q&A session with Disney Imagineeers about the newly enhanced Star Tours.

I did this for two reasons – I wanted to document the event for you readers, and I figured most people would race to get on Star Tours but once they got through, there’d be less of a crowd for the ride.

My strategy paid off. Not only was I able to walk straight on to the starspeeder, but I even was practically alone as I walked through the pre-show, taking photos. By the time I took my seat, I was the only person in the back row.

The starspeeder portion of the ride is where the biggest changes took place. The original version was a solid film from start to finish. This new version is now like a slot machine with four windows, allowing different portions of the film to come together in different combinations. I got different outcomes both times I rode.

During the two hour event, WDW served up complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and make-your-own ice cream sundaes. At the end, we danced along with the cantina band (backed by a pro-DJ) toward the exit, where we were given a parting gift of a Star Tours poster. I got Bespin; others reported Hoth, Coruscant and Naboo.

Walking to the bus, we were joined by Chewbacca, who escorted us onboard.

All in all, it was a fun event – especially being both a Star Wars and a Disney fan.

Here are some of the photos I took:

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