Star Wars Weekends, Take Two!

Tadd and I went back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios yesterday for round 2 of Star Wars Weekends.  We took our new video camera, and stitched together this compliation of all the things we did and saw.

Now that we have a dedicated video camera, I am going to try to post much more frequent videos.  So if you haven’t already, go over to my YouTube Channel and subscribe!  Thanks and enjoy!

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Star Wars Weekends 2013

Wednesday was my birthday, but we celebrated last weekend, as we have for several years now (see 2011 and 2012), at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends.

This year we got to stay at the Yacht Club Resort, which is within walking distance of the park.  I have decided I absolutely adore this resort and would stay there again in a heartbeat (but only if I can get a fantastic rate again…because even with the comparatively low rate, it was still a splurge).

Aside from loving the decor (the theme is “coastal New England”) we could walk to two theme parks (Epcot and Studios), and they have one of our favorite hidden gems in all of WDW, a cozy little rowing/boathouse themed bar called Crew’s Cup.  It’s never crowded, they have 3 types of Sam Adams beer on tap, and their menu includes truffle fries (my weakness).  Love that place!

Anyways, the close proximity to Disney’s Hollywood Studios made getting there at 6:45am on Saturday a smidgen easier.  The walk was very pleasant, as the weather wasn’t too hot, and we got some pretty scenery along the way.

By the time we got there, the line to get a pass to be able to meet Jeremy Bulloch (who played Boba Fett in the original trilogy) was already this long:

The assigned times to meet him were long gone, but we managed to get waitlist armbands so we could try to meet him if he had extra time.

The day was spent pretty much solely doing Star Wars-related events.  We visited “Darth’s Mall”, which was the merchandise area, where Tadd got his yearly Star Wars Weekends commemorative baseball cap, and we got this neat limited edition pivot pin with Han Solo and Boba Fett.  Then we met up with some friends and got a spot for the parade, which is one of my favorite events every year.

After the parade, we rode Star Tours, then got our picture taken with Boba Fett.

We had a nice late lunch at Mama Melrose during the hottest part of the day, and eventually Tadd finally got to meet his buddy, the real Boba Fett, Jeremy Bulloch!  He signed the baseball cap he had purchased earlier in the day and got a few photos.  Jeremy was very sweet and even commented about how much he loved Tadd’s Boba Fett watch and hat.  Turns out the real Boba Fett is also a collector of Boba Fett merchanside.  Tadd really enjoyed getting to meet Mr. Bulloch.

From there, we saw a couple of the special shows.  One was a martial arts demonstration with the very handsome Ray Park (who was Darth Maul in the Star Wars series, but has also been in Heroes, GI Joe, and X-Men).  The other was a show about voice acting by James Arnold Taylor (he is most notably the voice of Obi Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars series).  During that show, James does dozens and dozens of voice impressions in rapid succession, which is extremely entertaining and amazing.

 

We ended our day with the hilarious Hyperspace Hoopla show, which is a dance-off between the rebel and Empire characters.  Here’s a video of my favorite part…Chewbacca dancing to Hey Ya.  We were dying laughing!

Thanks for tolerating me being a bit self-indulgent in these past few posts.  I recognize that I have seem to have hit somewhat of a creative lull in my life.  I hope to get back to sharing new recipes, crafts, and sewing projects soon!  We have just been SO busy lately, which has left little time to do anything else.  It looks like so far the month of June might be a bit slower for us, and I have been in the mood to get crafty!

2012 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World

Finally getting around to sharing some of the holiday events we attended this year at Walt Disney World.  We did a lot of these events much earlier in the season this year (as in, before Thanksgiving) because crowd levels closer to Christmas can be ridiculous, and it just happened to fit our schedule better.  Being in Florida at Christmastime can tend to not feel very Christmasy, but I love that we make up for it with easy access to these spectacular events and displays.  If you visit Disney at Christmastime, regardless of the weather, there is NO way you don’t come away firmly entrenched in the holiday spirit.  It’s the most festive place I know of this time of year.

Magic Kingdom: Main Street and Castle Dreamlights

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Epcot: Candlelight Processional with Guest Narrator Whoopi Goldberg

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: Victorian decorations and giant gingerbread house

Linking up to a very worthy cause!:

Busy, Busy, Busy

So sorry for my extended absence.  The past week has been insane for me since Election Day.  Wednesday we went to an Orlando Solar Bears hockey game, Thursday we went to Magic Kingdom for the first night of Castle Dreamlights (and we got to see the New Fantasyland again!), Friday I attended a Dove Chocolate Party at my friend’s house, Saturday afternoon our out-of-town guests that we thought were arriving on Sunday night arrived a day early, and Saturday night we saw the band Weezer perform their blue album at Hard Rock Live.  Sunday we went with said houseguests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and got to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  Whew!  Last night after work, I was ready to just relax with a glass of wine, which is exactly what I did.

Some Instagram pics from our crazy week:

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

 

Stay tuned for more pics (and maybe even video!) from our Disney holiday adventures so far this year!

 

 

 

Star Wars Weekends 2012

Tadd and I had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  But man was it busy!  Friday night we went to Oblivion Taproom for their Star Wars party.  Saturday we went to Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Sunday was a housewarming party.  Monday was a belated birthday dinner with my parents and brother, followed by a trip to another friends’ new house to cook dinner and hang out.

I thought I would share my Instagram snaps from Star Wars Weekends.  It was hot and very crowded, and we didn’t get to ride any rides, but we still had an awesome time.  The parade is always my favorite part every year.  We also bought souvenir nametags with our names engraved in Aurebesh.  We got to pick what planet we wanted to be from.  I, of course, picked Endor…home of the Ewoks!

Linking up with:

More Holiday Fun at Walt Disney World: Osborne Lights!

For me, one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways of getting into the Christmas spirit can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  It’s my favorite Central Florida holiday tradition although the nightly holiday festivities at Magic Kingdom aren’t far behind.  And last night we got to experience it for the first time this year!

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a large-scale holiday lights display that Disney puts up every year in the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios.  Every inch of New York and San Francisco Streets is covered in Christmas lights.  The lights then “dance” to various upbeat Christmas songs, and “snow” machines pump artificial snow into the air.  This year is the first year that all of the lights had been switched 100% to LED, and because of that, they were able to do some pretty neat new special effects that really impressed us.  Also, the colors just seemed so much more vibrant and festive.

Here’s a brief blurb on the history of the display from the Wikipedia article:

Jennings Osborne (1944-2011[1][2][3]), along with his wife Mitzi, founded the “Arkansas Research Medical Testing Center”[4] in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1968[5]. The business’ success allowed him and his wife to eventually purchase a large estate in the middle of town in 1976. In 1980 the Osbornes had a daughter, Allison Brianne Osborne (nicknamed “Little Breezy”).

In 1986, Breezy made a very simple request of her parents for Christmas … to decorate their home in lights. Jennings gladly complied, stringing 1000 lights around their home. “Each year after that, it got bigger and bigger,” Osborne would later recall.[6] So big, in fact, that Osborne purchased the two properties adjacent to his own and expanded the display into them.

By 1993, the display had over three million lights. Some of the more prominent features included:

  • an illuminated globe, with Little Rock and Bethlehem marked, mounted in the back yard;
  • two rotating carousels of lights, placed on each end of the estate’s circular driveway;
  • a 70-foot (21 m)-tall Christmas tree of lights with 80,000 lights in three colored layers, mounted atop the home’s kitchen; and
  • a canopy of 30,000 red lights over a section of the driveway.[7]

The lights were a wildly popular attraction, both in Arkansas and around the world, as news crews often visited to film the display.

After awhile, some neighbors got together and filed a lawsuit, citing the display as a public nuisance.  Osborne appealed and it went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.  They were eventually forced to shut down the display, and that’s when Disney stepped in and took over, and have featured the display at DHS every year since.  And while they have augmented the size and scope of the original display a bit, and programmed it to music, it’s still completely put together with regular residential Christmas lights, rope lights, etc.  As far as I know, all of the larger pieces (the peace globe, the large light trees, the spinning carousels of angels, etc) were all part of Osborne’s original home display.  It’s an exercise in doing something truly amazing with items that are ordinary and accessible to all of us.

Jennings Osborne passed away earlier this year, so as a tribute, one of the angels surrounding the globe was all white instead of blue in his honor.  I thought that was a nice tribute.  The display also contains over 40 “hidden Mickeys” and a purple cat, which is hidden in a different spot every year.  For some people, it’s a yearly tradition to hunt through the display to find the purple cat (it was a Halloween decoration that the Osborne family inadvertently left out during the Christmas display one year…they turned the mistake into a new tradition).  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to find it this year.

Below is a video that we took last night.  Enjoy!

Instagram Link Party: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time again for another Instagram Link Party over at a {little} dash of ash!

Saturday night, Tadd and I and a couple of friends braved the ominous-looking weather forecast to hang out for a few hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM).  I had noticed on Friday that the crowd calendar over at touringplans.com (which rates the crowd levels at Walt Disney World on a scale of 1 to 10 each day) was showing a 1.  One out of TEN!  I have been using that site for years to get an idea of what crowds would be like at the Disney theme parks on any given day and I had never in my life seen a 1.  Late September, aside from the weather, is the BEST time to go to the parks.  Extremely low crowds, plus you get Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and sometimes you can still catch the first couple of days of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.  You just have to be able to deal with the heat, humidity, and thunderstorms.

Anyways, we entered the park under blue skies…

These gold swirls are inside the giant Sorcerer Mickey hat at the end of Hollywood Blvd.

Saturday turned out to be a 3 on the crowd calendar, but it was still definitely a great day as far as lines and crowds.  In the span of a couple hours, we made it onto Toy Story Midway Mania, the newly revamped Star Tours, and The Great Movie Ride before going over to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater to get our seats for Fantasmic (which is the nighttime show at DHS).  At that point, the weather had held up nicely, although it was still pretty warm.  As we were sitting there, giant dark clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.  Pretty soon there was lightning everywhere, but still no rain.  We decided not to chance it waiting for the show to start on metal benches, so we left the amphitheater and rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster instead, which was only about a 10 min wait, if that.  Just as we left RRC (still no rain), we heard the announcement that Fantasmic had been canceled.  At that point it was 9pm and the park was closed and we headed over to World of Beer in the Dr. Phillips area for some drinks.  It was only after we had gotten our beers and sat down that it started to rain.  It rained lightly for about 20 min, and that was it.

Oh well…We will have to go back another time for Fantasmic, as some of our friends who are WDW passholders still haven’t seen it.