2015 Feel the Force Details
- Dates – During Star Wars Weekends (Friday – Sunday, May 15 to June 14, 2015)
- Premium Package cost – $69, adults, $39; children 3-9
- Deluxe Premium Package cost – $99, adults; $64, children 3-9
- More Details – http://blog.touringplans.com/2015/04/08/feel-the-force-premium-packages-return-for-star-wars-weekends/
When the Feel the Force Premium Package Star Wars parade and dessert party was announced last year, I went through a range of emotions on the first day. I started at “That is way too expensive for all of that…” moved quickly to “Maybe I can move a few things around…” Eventually, I ended up at “I must book that thing NOW…” While most reviews were tentative compliments through downright trashing, prepared visitors can make the most out of the experience to turn it into a worthwhile expense. Just be prepared to move to certain areas – and enjoy all that can be offered for the weekend. Read on for a review of last year’s experience.
First, know that it is quite an expense – and you might not feel like you got your money’s worth. Unless you get your money’s worth. I am not talking about throwing down tons of water, ice cream, or drinks at the evening party – but I do mean that spending a few extra bucks can mean a great difference in the day.
First, you have to decide on the Premium Package, or the DELUXE premium package. The difference is thirty bucks – but does upgrade the package. It includes seating for all of the celebrity talk shows (versus just one), a lanyard and credentials, and priority access to Darth’s Mall. Most of these changes really reminded me of the Universal Studios model of doing business (SURE, we’ve got that… BUT… it’s gonna COST YA!). Last year, we weren’t especially interested in attending any of the shows – but if this is for you – it may be worthwhile. The priority access to the mall might be beneficial. However, planning could probably avoid most of these problems. When we attended Darth’s Mall early in the morning, we got right in. Trying to access it in the afternoon, however, required a 45 minute wait. Depending on your schedule, this may be worthwhile to upgrade, as well. However, let’s face it. If you’re reading this article, you probably already have tickets to one or the other, so let’s MOVE ON!
Your first stop will be for the parade. While it may seem wise to show up just a little before the parade since you have the reserved viewing area, don’t wait. Get there as soon as you can. I would probably even advise getting in a little before the 10 am arrival time. In the past, the viewing area has been adjacent to the stage – a large swath of space set directly adjacent to the stage. However, all of the area may not be the best section to see the parade going by. Go with your group, and stake out a space adjacent to the parade route (from the front of the park to the ‘stage’ area. Directly adjacent to the parade route is the kids’ viewing area. If you are travelling with young people, put them here. Cast members should seat the kids in rows to view the parade. In addition, many parade members will take a moment to reach out and talk with kids seated here. If your child is here, position yourself adjacent to your child. If you are not with a child, put yourself in the front of the ‘adult’ area directly next to the roped off kids’ section. I will get to the reasoning shortly. Even if a person or two stands in front of you, it is easy to look off to the right and see over the seated shorter people to get great photos.
At this point, send another member of your party off to get multiple bottle water or ice cream treats. Ice cream at 10:10 in the morning? Great. If you can, try to get some shade – but here is an excellent opportunity to sunscreen before the parade starts. Ask questions from cast members now. Where can I stand? How long is the parade? WHAT IS THE LAST PART OF THE PARADE? If it is similar to what it has been in the past, the stormtroopers from the morning will be the last parts of the parade. Double check and start to hold your ground now. As people in the area start to realize that they will be looking over your head, they may try to move into position. We began to chat with the people around us. We met a family with a great Tusken Raider costume – and also met a couple from England. Make your group bigger – so fishing inside and ahead of you becomes somewhere between difficult and impossible. Hold that line for some great pictures. Keep an eye open for the end of the parade. When the stormtroopers go by, slip immediately in behind them. Kids in the group will be escorted to the front of the viewing area – so don’t worry about blocking them out. They do, however, make a great lull in the throngs of people moving in toward the center stage. Move to the center behind them – and you have a perfect spot for getting the best possible pictures in front of the stage.
When attending the shows in the midst of the day – use the same tactics. Get there early to secure the best possible spots. But really, only go to the shows you want to. We skipped most of them in the day – there is so much to see during the weekend, you can’t really get to everything.
For the fireworks, you need a plan, again. The line started forming earlier here. It seemed strange – because more areas seemed to have decent seating. With the hat placement, most areas seemed okay – but all were somewhat blocked by the stage area and the hat, too. The hat is out of the way, but since the stage will probably be there again, it may still block some of the area. Unless you really want to see DJ Lobot – and if he is there again, you may, he was pretty fun – find a table that isn’t blocked too much from the trees. Look back behind the theater – toward Pixar Place. The fireworks will erupt from there, and it is a fun sight.
This can be the time you really make up your cost if you are looking to break even. The desserts are pretty good, but are basically a replica of the desserts over at Hollywood & Vine. Really, if you are planning the meal at Hollywood & Vine that night, the fireworks party may be somewhat repetitive. If you can, adjust one or the other to a different night. But after the reviews last year, cast members may be more than eager to help out. Even though we attended on only the third night, reviews from many places had already eviscerated the party. It seemed obvious that cast members were working hard to make up the difference. Make certain to note the pretty cool Han Solo in carbonite underneath the desserts. Take a look over the stage – the Millennium Falcon hangs there. If you are feeling so moved – or unmoved – by the desserts, try asking a cast member to run over to Hollywood & Vine to retrieve a little bit of the blue milk ice cream. Did we overstay our welcome? Probably. Keep asking for the desserts and beverages. It almost got to the point where we needed to be asked to leave. But never fear. At that time of year, someone probably has evening extra magic hours. And if not, you might decide to pose for a memorable picture with new friends. A couple from Baltimore, two English folks from the 501st, and an off-duty cast member. Nothing like making memories.