Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Star Wars Weekends 2010 / 2011 - Art, Vinylmation, Pins, Merchandise & Celebrity Guests

 ºoº Star Wars Weekends 2011 will be held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 20-June 12. ºoº
UPDATE: May 18, 2011 8:30 PM

Star Wars Miniatures by Oiszewski Studios
Thanks to Inside the Magic

Olszewski Disney Star Wars Darth Vader PokitPal Olszewski Disney Star Wars Darth Vader PokitPal
Front or Top view of PokitPal
Back or Bottom view of PokitPal
 Olszewski Disney PokitPal Collection Darth Vader

Olszewski Heirloom Boxes Disney Star Wars R2D2 Paper Clip Box
 Olszewski Heirloom Box Collection
Disney Star Wars R2D2 Paper Clip Box

Olszewski Disney Darth Vader Paper Clip Heirloom Box

 Olszewski Heirloom Box® Collection

Disney Star Wars Darth Vader Paper Clip Box

Olszewski Disney Star Wars Donald in Carbonite PokitPal Olszewski Disney Star Wars Donald in Carbonite PokitPal
Front or Top View
Back or Bottom View
 Olszewski Disney PokitPals Collection
Star Wars Donald Hans Solo in Carbonite PokitPal

Year after year, I have watched the fan excitement unfold at Star Wars Weekends. Much like the Force, it’s everywhere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – from meeting celebrities from the Star Wars galaxy to being the first guests in line to face Darth Vader at Jedi Training Academy. I like visiting Jabba’s Hutt, a specially designed merchandise location created just for Star Wars Weekends (by the way, it’s located near Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster this year). The excitement in the “Hutt” is overwhelming as guests from all over the world descend upon this location for “must-have” Star Wars Weekends merchandise. This year promises to be bigger and more exciting than ever.

Star Wars Weekends 2011 Apparel

How do I know that this year will be bigger and more exciting for event merchandise? Well, I could tell you that the Force is strong with me (like my fellow author Steven Miller pictured below). In reality, I got a sneak peek of the merchandise from our product developers. For more than a year, they have worked closely with the creative minds at Lucasfilm Ltd. to create a selection of highly collectible and fun merchandise for this event. I caught up with Art and Collectibles Product Developer Deanne Hill to learn more.

Original Star Wars Weekends Artwork

“Working with the Disney artists on Star Wars Weekends merchandise is so exciting,” exclaimed Deanne. “There is so much passion around the [Star Wars] films and the artists love the characters and stories. You can see their passion as they infuse some of Disney’s most popular characters into their favorite Star Wars scenes for these original works of art.”

Medium-Sized Star Wars Weekends Figurines

Besides the original works of art, Deanne is most excited for a new line of commemorative figurines that were developed to capture the essence of Star Wars Weekends, especially for guests who may not be able to “feel the Force” at Walt Disney World Resort this year.

“We’re over the moon of Endor about our new collection of medium-sized figurines featuring Disney characters dressed as Star Wars characters,” continued Deanne. “They are a nice complement to the big figurines we’ve developed in previous years.”

There are five figures in this new collection – Mickey Mouse as Luke Skywalker, Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia, Donald Duck as a stormtrooper, Goofy as Darth Vader and Donald Duck (again) as Darth Maul. Each figure has an edition size of 1977 (note the significance to this special number) and comes complete with a pin.

Steven Miller with Goofy as Darth Vader Figurine

Now for some more really exciting news! To celebrate fans of Disney and Star Wars everywhere, we are making these limited-edition figurines available for pre-order via! No matter where you are, you can order the figurines today and bring the Star Wars and Disney Parks fun home!

With so much information to share, we’ve put together a complete Star Wars Weekends Merchandise site at I invite you to stop by and see all of the original Star Wars Weekends artwork created by Disney Design Group artists. You can also get a glimpse at the commemorative items created for Star Wars Weekends 2011. 

May the Force Be With You!

Star Tours – These Are The Souvenirs I’m Looking For

posted on April 22nd, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Starspeeder 1000 Spaceliner Collection

If I had a nickel for the hours I spent as a child playing with my Star Wars toys, I would be living on a beach in Maui right now. Luckily, my parents saved those toys (thanks Mom and Dad), and my son now spends hours pretending he is in a galaxy far, far away. Soon, he will have a few more toys (among several awesome things) to add to his Star Wars collection, especially with the launch of “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” on May 20. But wait! I get to photograph and write about merchandise created for Star Tours? Sign me up! After reviewing the more than 40 items we’ve created, I have selected a few of my favorites to share with you.

First up is the incredibly detailed Starspeeder 1000 Spaceliner Collection. This boxed set features die-cast metal vehicles representing six spaceliners that are involved with the new Star Tours story. I spoke with Brad Schoeneberg, Product Developer for Toys and Games, to learn more about the toys.

Star Tours Action Figures

“We’ve been working on the Star Tours toys for about two years now,” explained Brad. “During the past two years, we have had a great relationship with Walt Disney Imagineering. They provided us with tons of reference material for the Starspeeders and other new characters. That partnership helped us capture wonderful details including the tiny droids seen on top of each of [the Starspeeders].”

This set will retail for $22.95. Brad also shared with me the packaging for the “Ambush at Star Tours” and the “Star Tours Travel Agency” action figure sets (both will retail for $39.95 each). Favorite figures include the Sky Troopers who were created specifically for the attraction. I also loved how the droid who is “fluent in over six million forms of communication,” C-3PO, turned out.

Star Tours Shirts

But toys aren’t the only thing I loved seeing (or should I say “playing with?”). We are releasing a variety of shirts for launch. I particularly liked the stylized travel posters shirt, as there is no better way to say “I love space travel” than with that one. How I wish I could visit Bespin and hang out with Lando Calrissian!

20 oz. Darth Vader Tumbler Exclusively for Passholders

There are a few items, however, that neither my son nor I can get – we are not Passholders (unlike many of you and I’m bummed). These Passholder Exclusive items will include a commemorative coin, a limited edition pen (not to be confused with a “pin,” which will also be released), a Darth Vader T-shirt and, what I consider the most awesome drinkware in the galaxy, a 20 oz. tumbler featuring Darth Vader.

I don’t think I can make time pass fast enough until the opening! As mentioned, there are many other items we created for the launch, so keep watching for release dates and additional information.

We have an out-of-this-world update today!

Let's begin at the Walt Disney World® Resort, where we are getting closer and closer to Star Wars™ Weekends 2011. This may be the best year yet, due to the opening of the new Star Tours® The Adventures Continue Attraction. Keeping with the theme, the individual limited edition pin collection features the galactic passports of many characters from the Star Wars™ universe. These pins feature a slider element which allow the cover of the passport to be moved to the side and rotated to reveal the photograph of a Star Wars™ character. As an example, here is the Princess Leia pin: 

Star Tours

These pins are also featured in the collectors set with an additional C3PO completer pin, as well as a framed set which includes a Star Tours® completer pin. 

Star Tours

There will also be a boxed set featuring the many destinations of the Star Tours® The Adventures Continue Attraction:

Star Tours

And finally, we have a Passholder exclusive pin featuring Darth Maul, and a Disney Vacation Club member exclusive pin feature C3PO and R2D2. For a complete look at all the pins at this event, please visit the Star Wars™ Weekends 2011 page.

Star Tours
Star Tours

For our pin collectors at Disneyland® Resort, we have posted the auction catalog for Sci-Fi Academy. To view the catalog you can click here, or visit the Sci-Fi Academy page. 

Star Tours

Disney has also opened the online registration for the Star Tours® The Adventures Continue Attraction opening day pin at Disneyland® Resort. Click here to enter for a chance to purchase this limited edition pin.

2 0 1 0   A r t   a n d   M e r c h a n d i s e
What do you get when you cross Star Wars with our Disney Design Group Artists? Great art … great talent … and great fun!

Mickey Mouse on a TaunTaun
I’m really excited to share our new Star Wars inspired art with all of you. These pieces were actually created as a tribute to this year’s Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’ve had an amazing time this year and the “Force” was definitely strong. Three of our very talented Jedi Knights or more commonly known as our Disney Design Group artists, Costa Alavezos, Brian Blackmore and Darren Wilson, have been working hard on a multitude of projects, including the creation of these spectacular galactic pieces … I hope that you’ll enjoy seeing them as much as I do.

Stitch as Master Yoda
Where else can you find Mickey Mouse on a tauntaun, or troublesome Stitch in harmony as Master Yoda or even Donald Duck as the infamous Boba Fett? Nowhere but here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I hope that you can join me as we host our talented array of artists for special signings throughout the day at the Animation Gallery on Saturday June 12th
Donald Duck as the infamous Boba Fett

Friendly disclaimer: Merchandise available while supplies last. We ask that you bring no personal items to be signed. Event merchandise must be purchased on the day of release at the event location. Valid Walt Disney World® Resort receipt may be required. Artist signing is subject to space and time availability and is not guaranteed. Event information subject to change without notice. Separate admission is required to enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios™. © 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. 

P i n s

At bedtime the other night, my four year old son asked, “Dad, you love Star Wars, don’t you?” Was he using a Jedi mind trick to delay his bedtime (I thought a saw a small wave of his hand)? At first, I was tempted to answer but resisted as we prepared for bedtime. Everyone around the office knows I love Star Wars. So naturally one of my favorite yearly events is Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. By default, I’m often roped into the development process for the event pins we create. Here are a few of my favorites coming this year.

Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Member Exclusive Pins

In 2009, we released the first Passholder Exclusive pin for Star Wars Weekends which sold out faster than the time it took the Millennium Falcon to make the Kessel run (12 parsecs for those trivia nuts). This year, Jeanne Lewis, developer for signature event pins, created an incredible new Passholder pin (pictured left) featuring Han Solo in Carbonite. We have doubled the edition size to ensure more Passholders have the opportunity to get this pin (except for me, who is not a Passholder!) Jeanne also created a Disney Vacation Club Member Exclusive pin (pictured right) using artwork once considered for the main Star Wars Weekends 2010 logo (Tauntaun smell not included). This is the first time we will offer such a pin for DVC Members.

Limited Edition Star Wars Weekends Pins
As in previous years, we will offer a collection of individual limited edition pins. This year, there will be a packaged set and a framed set each offering completer pins (see the AT-AT and Yoda pins above). I love these individual pins as they remind me of the packaging for all of Star Wars action figures I had as kid (which I didn’t save!).

Star Wars Weekends Super Jumbo Pin
One of the “most impressive” pins is this super jumbo pin that was inspired by the 30th Anniversary super jumbo pin we created for Star Wars Weekends 2007. This thing is almost like the “size of a small moon” and contains various scenes from Episode V. For non-Passholders like me, here is an opportunity to get Han Solo in Carbonite.
Star Wars Weekends Open Edition Pins
Finally, Julie Young, developer for open edition pins, created several new pins to coincide with the weekend events. You may have heard about R2-MK – Jedi Mickey’s new astromech droid. It will be the droid pin you are looking for this year. We are also releasing a new mystery pin set featuring The Muppets dressed as characters from the Star Wars films. These pins were inspired by the Disney Parks exclusive action figures.

By now you are probably wondering how I answered my son’s question. I told him, “I am your father, and yes, I love Star Wars. Join me at Star Wars Weekends this year and together we can rule the ‘World’ as father and son.” (or something like that). Look for additional release information about these pins on May the Force Be With You.

Disney Star Wars Racers, Action Figures

posted on March 30th, 2010 by Dara Trujillo, Manager, Merchandise Synergy, Events, and Communication

Disney Star Wars Racers
With the excitement of Star Wars Weekends ramping up, we wanted to share with you the newest Disney Star Wars Racers and Disney Star Wars Action Figures that are coming out later this spring at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. We’re excited to release the fourth collection of the popular Disney Star Wars Racers Series. Each die-cast Racer has been inspired by one of the great Star Wars Characters. The fourth series feature Yoda, Clone Trooper, Battle Droid, and Jedi Master Plo Koon.
Each vehicle is pack individually and retails for $5.95. Disney Star Wars Racers will release in June at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland Resorts.

Disney Star Wars Action Figures
Next up (and my personal favorite) is the Disney Star Wars Action Figure Series. This is the fourth series of Disney Characters “dressed as” Star Wars Characters. These action figures are fully articulated and come with detailed accessories that would impress the most gregarious Wookiee. 
The collection includes:
  • Mickey Mouse as Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Mickey comes packaged with a translucent green lightsaber
  • Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia in Boushh disguise. Minnie is equipped with an accessory helmet, staff, and thermal detonator (a must when sneaking into Jabba the Hutt’s Palace)
  • Donald Duck as Han Solo trapped in Carbonite. Donald is also packed with an accessory staff and carbonite block
  • Goofy as C-3PO
  • Bad Pete as Boba Fett. Bad Pete comes with an accessory helmet, jet pack and blaster
Each action figure will be individually packaged and will retail for $8.95. They will be releasing in May at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.

The Force is Strong with Vinylmation

posted on January 12th, 2011 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager

Vinylmation – Star Wars Series #1

Finally! I spoke with Disney Design Group Artist (and member of the local Jedi Council) Mike Sullivan who gave me an inside look at how this new series was created.

Vinylmation – Star Wars Series #1

“I have been a fan of Star Wars for almost all of my life,” says Mike. “When ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’ came to theaters, I vividly remember waiting in line to see it while wearing my Star Wars tee-shirt. Needless to say, being introduced to Star Wars at an early age made me a fan for life.”

This Vinylmation series was developed especially for the Disney Parks. It will not be available for sale via the on-line Disney Theme Park Store or at local Disney Stores. Mike explained that work on the series began in 2009.

“We began with several rough sketches of characters we wanted in the series,” explained Mike. “We selected characters from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary. With so many memorable characters in the film, it was difficult to select just 12 figures. We worked closely with the great team at Lucasfilm to make the final choices for this first series.”

Mike has worked on several other Star Wars-themed merchandise items for Disney Parks. He was particularly excited about this series.

Vinylmation – Star Wars Series #1
“This particular project was exciting and different for me since the characters had to be stylized so much to fit the Vinylmation form,” continued Mike. “I particularly like Boba Fett as he’s one of my favorite characters. I spent extra time making sure every detail on his figure was just right.”

Celebrity Guests Announced for Star Wars Weekends 2011

posted on April 29th, 2011 by Gary Buchanan, Social Media Managing Editor

Star Wars Weekends 2011
Star Wars Weekends 2011 will be a Tour de “Force” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, celebrating the grand opening of the new Star Tours attraction as the Walt Disney World Resort theme park welcomes Jedi, Sith, Ewoks, Wookiees, galactic bounty hunters and stormtroopers for the park’s annual celebration of all-things-Star Wars.

The fun takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 20-June 12, 2011.

Ashley Eckstein, R2-MK and Jedi Mickey Mouse

Once again, Jedi Mickey and Princess Leia Minnie will be joined by some of the brightest stars from the saga. Celebrity Hosts for the event this year are James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars).

Ashley (seen in the photo above with R2-MK and Jedi Mickey) will host “Clone Wars: Behind the Force,” a closer look inside the popular animated TV series. James will present another event-first: he will star in a one-man show that showcases some of the many voices he has performed throughout his career, including those from The Clone Wars.

Anthony Daniels

Opening weekend will kick off the month-long event in grand fashion, as fan favorite Anthony Daniels (seen in the photo above at a filming session for the new “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” attraction), who brought C-3PO to life and is the only actor to appear in every theatrical chapter of the Star Wars saga, will make a golden return to the event. Dave Filoni, the talented artist and supervising director of The Clone Wars, also will be a special celebrity guest for Weekend I.

Star Wars Weekends II, III and IV will feature celebrities from the live-action feature films and voice artists from The Clone Wars. Here’s the complete event celebrity lineup (*talent subject to change) scheduled to appear:

Scheduled Celebrity Appearances

MAY 20-22
  • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
  • The Clone Wars Special Guest: Dave Filoni (Supervising Director)
MAY 27-29
  • Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)
  • Bruce Spence (Tion Medon)
  • The Clone Wars Voice Talent Guest: Dee Bradley Baker (Captain Rex)
JUNE 3-5
  • Ray Park (Darth Maul)
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett)
  • The Clone Wars Voice Talent Guest: Matt Lanter (Anakin)
JUNE 10-12
  • Ray Park (Darth Maul)
  • Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
  • The Clone Wars Voice Talent Guest: Tom Kane (Yoda)
And while the stars will shine, a galaxy-full of events, live shows, parades and activities also take place throughout the park during the month.

An event highlight for many is meeting the Star Wars characters, and this year is no exception. More than 60 Star Wars characters will be roaming the theme park, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

From the special “welcome” Guests receive at the turnstile areas from the stormtroopers and Star Wars trivia contests to Jedi Training Academy and the spectacular Hyperspace Hoopla, Star Wars Weekends 2011 will have more fun than you can shake a gaffi stick at. And of course, throughout the event Star Wars Weekends Guests will have the chance to take a ride aboard “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” when the attraction launches in 3-D on May 20. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Star Trader at Disneyland Resort

With the official countdown to the re-opening of Star Tours underway, I thought I’d take you to a galaxy not too far away from this fan favorite attraction, The Star Trader. About a month ago, I learned this popular merchandise location would be re-opening on May 4. So for the past couple of weeks I’ve been using every Jedi mind trick I can to find out more about what will be “in store” for you in May and beyond.

Star Tours Opening Day Shirt

How many of you remember the X-Wing Fighter that once hung in the Star Trader location? Well, I’m proud to say, it’s back! Be the first to see it when the shop re-opens, May 4.

Whether you’re preparing to battle the dark side or you’re just practicing your Jedi skills, here a few tips that will better prepare you for your journey to some of the new destinations.

Build Your Own Lightsaber – Padawans must use the Force to guide their hands in making a new Lightsaber. Just select the hilt, emitter, blade color, switch, ring, hilt sleeve and adapter and become the envy of Jedi’s everywhere.

Star Wars - Build Your Own Lightsaber

In late May, you will find a galaxy of new Star Tours and Star Wars inspired-apparel, toys and more that will reach their final destinations on our store shelves. Here’s a quick peek at one of the Disneyland Resort-specific items that will be available, but I promised fellow bloggers, Dara Trujillo and Steven Miller, that I wouldn’t show anything else. I can assure you, that their Disney Parks Blog posts will be worth the wait. Not only will they show you some other great apparel and toy items coming your way, but Dara also has the inside scoop on everything merchandise-related for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Passholders, I assure you the Force is strong! There is an entire collection of Star Tours merchandise being made just for you. Here’s what I consider one of the “must-have” passholder items that will be available in late May. As soon as I get an official release date, I’ll let you know. And wait until you see the rest.
Star Tours Pen

May the Force be with you!
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