Every year at Walt Disney World, hundreds of thousands of those obsessed with the Force gather for Star Wars Weekends. On four to five weekends each year, celebrities from the films, animated films, and history of the Star Wars franchise head to Disney's Hollywood Studios for fun, pictures, merchandise, and more. Unfortunately, that shall be no more, as Disney officially cancelled Star Wars Weekends on Monday morning.
Back in August, it was announced at the D23 Expo that Disney's Hollywood Studios would be experiencing a major overhaul. Included in that overhaul are new areas known tentatively as Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land.
With construction and new areas going up, that means things need to change. A few attractions have been closed here and there to make way for the new arrivals (estimated around 2018), but Star Wars Weekends being discontinued is the largest change by far.
On Monday morning, the Disney Parks Blog reported that new Star Wars experiences would be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios in December. After going through it all and explaining everything, there is a paragraph at the bottom detailing the departure.
"And work begins next year on the 14-acre Star Wars-themed land at Disney's Hollywood Studios. With construction underway, unfortunately, we won't be able to offer Star Wars Weekends. While Star Wars Weekends has been a great way to enjoy the saga for a few days every year, now the Force will be with Disney's Hollywood Studios every day."
Star Wars Weekends has been a staple at Disney's Hollywood Studios since 2003. Before that, it had taken place in 1997, 2000, and 2001. Disney started realizing just how popular it had become and started holding the event every single year.
In the past few years, it was actually even extended from four weekends to five since its popularity was growing. Celebrities made numerous appearances and the Disney characters dressed up as the icons of the Star Wars franchise to make things really fun.
Special merchandise was made available, and there were shows dedicated to the fun and history of the Star Wars movies and culture.
With work beginning on Star Wars Land (tentative title) at Disney's Hollywood Studios next year, many of the places used for Star Wars Weekends will be under construction. While fans looking forward to the early summer event are disappointed, Disney is trying to make up for it, as the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Beginning December 1, new Star Wars experiences will be opening at Disney's Hollywood Studios and one is the debut of the Star Wars Launch Bay. It will take guests behind the scenes of the movies with special exhibits, unique merchandise, and even opportunities to have a meet-and-greet with Darth Vader or Chewbacca.
Word going around Disney World has it that a "soft opening" preview of this attraction may begin on November 27, but that is not yet confirmed.
The attraction Star Tours - The Adventures Continue, which is already in place, will have a new adventure included in it. The ride already allows guests to go through the countless worlds and scenes from the franchise, but the Starspeeder 1,000 is getting a new quest, which was given a preview.
Below are other new Star Wars happenings coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios beginning in December.
- Star Wars: Path of the Jedi - Features scenes from the entire saga and will allow those not familiar with it to get a bit caught up.
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple - Disney's popular Jedi Training Academy is currently closed and getting a bit of an upgrade for young Jedis. When it reopens, kids will be able to train and learn, before fighting Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister.
[Image via Disney]