Just a reminder that the first Star Wars Weekend is coming up this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On top of that, we have the official opening of Star Tours The Adventures Continue on Friday. Many famous people are expected to attend the Friday unveiling, including George Lucas himself. Friday is expected to be the busiest day at the Hollywood Studios ever, with a high chance that it will close to capacity before 10am. Yes. I’ll be there covering the event “live” via my telephone, as will pretty much every other Disney World blogger. You can “follow me” on Twitter (I’ve only been Twittering for three days) – twitter.com/easywdw. I have in mind to enter the Park and stand in place in front of the main stage throughout the day.
Star Tours has been operational as part of a “soft opening” since Saturday afternoon. In fact, it’s open as I type this. Reviews of the attraction have been almost unanimously positive. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every ride. I’m also ecstatic that I won’t have to wait in line on Friday to ride if I don’t want to. Waits have been in the 20-45 minute range so far, with FASTPASS return windows that are 60 to 90 minutes out. The attraction becomes inundated after Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular ends, so be aware of those crowds. The ride is currently operating close to full capacity, with at least five simulators running.
On Friday, Star Tours will not begin operating until 12pm, to give everyone a chance to see the unveiling. The ceremony will take place on the main stage at the base of Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. The ceremony is expected to begin at 10:15am and conclude around 10:45am. The Hyperspace Hoopla show (scheduled at 8:45pm this year) will take place on the same stage, rather than the Jedi Training Academy stage next to Star Tours. The Park will be open from 8am – 12am. Also note that The Force Motorcade Parade will not be scheduled on Friday.
If you do want to ride Star Tours on Friday, your best chance would be at the very end of the night, after 11pm. They should be offering FASTPASSes as well. Unlike most days, Star Tours will be your FASTPASS priority. Get them as soon as possible. Crowds should die down after Hyperspace Hoopla around 9:15. Disney is purportedly preparing for a line that will hold six hours worth of people for Star Tours.
This weekend, signups for Jedi Training Academy will take place outside of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. For all other weekends, signups will be held outside Sounds Dangerous. Both of these locations are on the way to Star Tours from the main entrance. Be on the look out in both locations as you walk toward the Jedi Training Academy stage. I have seen them signing up kids at Sounds Dangerous over this past week. The number of shows per day will be doubled, but you will absolutely want to go straight to the signup after rope drop with the child that will be participating in the show. Ideally, you would send another person with everyone’s tickets to collect FASTPASSes at Toy Story Mania or Star Tours. More information about Jedi Training Academy signups is located in the Hollywood Studios Touring Overview.
The Jedi Training Academy shows are as follows:
Friday – 12:00pm, 12:30pm, 1:00pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm, 5:15pm, 5:45pm, 6:15pm, 6:45pm, 7:15pm, 7:45pm, 8:15pm
Saturday and Sunday – 9:15am, 9:45am, 10:15am, 10:45am, 11:15am, 11:45am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm, 5:15pm, 5:45pm, 6:15pm
There will also be a special store set up behind Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, full of special edition 2011 Star Wars Weekend merchandise.
Overall, this is going to be an incredibly busy weekend at Hollywood Studios. I wouldn’t recommend visiting unless you’re willing to put up with huge crowds, long waits, and relatively hot temperatures. It’s supposed to get back up into the low 90s on Friday.
You can also watch the grand opening ceremony live at 10am on Friday here: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2011/05/star-tours-grand-opening-webcast-from-disneys-hollywood-studios/