KennythePirate’s Star Wars Weekends Feel the Force Premium Package parade review

 

Viewing the Star Wars Motorcade Parade is always a big deal to Star Wars Weekends fans.  Some line up two hours early to secure a nice shady spot to view the parade.  I like the parade, but to me the highlight is the 501st with the variety of character costumes that don’t appear throughout the day.  I wrote a post last year on How to View the Star Wars Parade without losing your mind.  I even ran into a nice lady using my tactics in front of Min and Bill’s when I was trying to check in for this “Premium” experience.

The My Disney Experience app told me to check-in at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner at 11:00am.  Other information I had received previously told me to check in at 10:30am.  I thought I’d see what the experience would be like if I followed that app’s advice.  At 11:00am the even more limited parade viewing areas were pretty full.  My buddy Matt from Attractions Magazine got this nice spot about 10:30am.  He’s behind the guy int he red shirt.
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Here’s the view looking down the street at 11:00am.  People are scrambling for viewing spots.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (12)

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So that app told me to check in at Min and Bill’s.  I was in line and met some great friends of this blog.  We waited in what looked like a regular food service line.  When we arrived at the front the lady had no idea what we were talking about.  The manager directed us that we needed to check in ACROSS from Min and Bill’s where there tiny table and the 3 Cast Members in Blue Uniforms were standing.

I checked in and was given a silver armband.  I was given NO directions.  I just stood there.  One person waived like they wanted me to proceed on in.  I asked what I was supposed to do and the person said, “There’s some ice cream and soda way over there,” and pointed in the general direction.  I stepped forward and was given a little bag with something in it and told to “Have fun.”  I wasn’t given any information on when I should return for the fireworks viewing in the same area.

I entered to find that all the places along the rope in the area had been taken and it was becoming 2-3 people deep.  I ended up standing a little more to the left, which was a mistake.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (14)

 

I was to the left of this tree.  If you’re spending your money on this package, here’s two tips:

1.  Arrive at 10:20am  – yes 1 hour and 10 minutes before the parade.  That tip was provided by Jeff from Mousesteps in a conversation with him.  His spot on the rope was farther left than mine.

2.  Stay as far to the RIGHT as possible.  You’ll totally miss a bunch of characters if you go to the left where all the ice cream is at.  The left hand side also has no shade.  UMBRELLAS?  It is Premium, right?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (15)

 

 

 

Here’s the only ice cream cart that was available for the parade viewing.  The only snacks were Mickey Premium Bar, Strawberry Ice Cream bar thing, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and water.  I had hoped for some pocorn or a pretzel, but nope, that’s it.  I grabbed an MPB and Coke.   As I stood and chatted with some friends of the blog, I had several people push their way in front of me while I was standing fairly near the rope.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (18)

 

 

 

From this vantage point, you have a pretty good view of the things happening on the stage.
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The one guy from the stage comes down and interacts with the guests.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (24)

 

The best view of the parade was actually on the jumbo tron at the stage.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (25)

 

Jedi Mickey starts the parade riding in his custom X-wing fighter.
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Usually, quality bloggerdom requires heavy editing of photos.  I would usually crop this down to a cute photo of Dale smiling and waving, but I wanted you to see the perspective that I had on the parade.  Ears, armbands, cell phones, video recorders, ipads etc…Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (29)

 

Hey Minnie and guy’s ear and other guy’s armband.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (30)

 

Goofy parades by ear and armband.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (31)

 

Photo of the guy’s other ear and his iPhone.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (32)

 

At this point a bunch of little “Padawan” kids march up and take their position to watch the parade with the best viewing possible!  Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (33)

 

The kids are excited because the characters would be sure to wave at them.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (34)

 

After the characters pass you, you can see them again on the stage.  See the cool image on the jumbo tron?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (35)

 

Yes, Donald, we know you feel you’re number 1.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (36)

 

You have to respect a man who can wear his boxers in public, in full view.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (37)

 

More jumbo tron.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (38)

 

The photos I took last year from the American Idol steps I mentioned in the above link were much better than these.  Arrive more than 1 hour early and eat about 10 Mickey Premium Bars each to get your money’s worth from this experience.  Oh, and sit in the shade on the far side rope too.
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I just had to zoom in as far as my 55mm lens would allow me.  I had seen enough ears and armbands.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (40)

 

The person always reminds me of Space Balls!
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Biker Trooper guys.  I think they ride Harley’s in Episode 6?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (42)

 

Other paraders you could see for free on the American Idol steps.  At this point I’d be down about 7 bucks for an MPB and Coke.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (43)

 

I’ve never noticed this bounty hunter chic before.  Is she new?  Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (44)

 

The Tuskens arrive to steal everything in sight.  Hold on tightly to that Ice Cream Bar!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (45)

 

These guys love to trade, but won’t trade for Ice Cream or soda bottles.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (46)
“You will tell everyone that you thoroughly enjoyed the Premium viewing package.”
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Look, it’s the Detroit Lions football team!  Go Megatron!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (48)

 

Referees?
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Owner and head coach.  He has the big head after improving the record to a whopping 7-9.
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Some guy looking for his plane.  Flight delays and cancellations happen frequently in Orlando.  Hope he had travel insurance.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (51)

 

Dude, that’s one large gun!  Must be the quarterback.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (52)

 

This lady doesn’t seem impressed with my humor.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (53)

 

Chewbacca’s brother.  I think his name was Tobacca or something like that.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (54)

 

Best view of Chewie in the parade for me.  I’m glad I used that pirate guy’s Character Locator app and met him with an Ewok after the parade.  Wait of about 40 minutes.  You don’t get Ewoks at rope drop either.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (55)

 

Chewie, we paid a lot of money to have you wave at us!  Chewie, don’t leave!  Come back!  Wave at us!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (56)

 

Never mind, you’re going to greet all those little kids whose parents arrived at 6:30am or earlier to sign you up and hope to get this opportunity.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (57)

 

Oh, sure, wave at those guys!  Hater.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (58)

 

More premium parade views.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (59)

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Look at the noggin on that fella.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (61)

 

Ahsoka did pass us to the left side.  I met her later after waiting about 10-15 minutes.  She’s always really sweet.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (62)

 

Speaking of being really sweet, Ashley Eckstein waved at me.  Chewie wouldn’t, but she’s a lot nicer than a Wookee.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (63)

 

Stop having an attitude about this parade dude, or I’ll freeze you in Carbonite.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (64)

 

Great photo except I’ll have that guy’s hand in it and that lady CM appeared out of nowhere and showed up in a lot of my pictures.  Why? I have no idea.  No one moved forward or anything.  I guess it gave her a Premium view of the parade?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (65)

 

Thanks for sticking your cell phone up right as I snapped!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (66)

 

Three new characters were totally wasted during 2014 Star Wars Weekends.  This is Ezra and Sabine marching past.  The DO NOT offer meet and greets.  They pop in for the parade, the Behind the Force show and the closing pre-fireworks show.   How do I get that type of full-time job?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (67)

 

The people who paid to watch the parade are over here.  Look left.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (68)

 

Thanks, that’s a little better.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (69)

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He kinda reminds me of Flynn Rider.  What do you think?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (71)

 

Here’s the third character that was wasted.  His name is Chopper.  He’s the new Droid.  I had hoped when they nixed R2-MK from this year’s line-up that he might appear with the other droids, but nope.  Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (74)

 

This is Ahmed Best.  I met him later in the day.  I arrived at 5:00am to get a wristband and paper fp return time for 5:00pm.  He’s a super nice guy and he actually does do the voice and acting for Jar Jar Binks.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (75)

 

Good thing I met Darth Maul by lining up at 8:30am!  Oh, there’s that CM with the Premium view again.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (76)

 

They are happy because they can see everything.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (77)

 

More Tuskens appear to restore order.  Do not complain about being two or three people deep in the Premium viewing area and only having two ice cream bar choices after arriving 30 minutes early!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (78)

 

Peter Mayhew portrayed the role of the real Chewbacca in the Star Wars films.  He’ll return for his role in Epsisode 29, ummm 7.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (79)

 

There’s that Premium view CM helping us out with photos again.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (80)

 

And again.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (81)

 

And another joins the fun. These Fett people are late sleepers.  The Disney app said they would appear about 4 times from 8:00 to 10:00am, but didn’t show up until 10:00am when it was Jango Fett.  Daddy comes first.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (82)

 

Don’t complain about people jumping into your photo in the Premium viewing area!Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (83)

 

The man in charge must have cleared all the people jumping into my photos.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (84)

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the world famous back-side of Vader!  I went straight to his meet and only waited a few minutes.  Would have been shorter, but he was running late.  Had a planet to blow up or something.  Other people waited an hour or more.  Whatever you believe, you should know that this pirate guy knows nothing about touring the parks and meeting characters 🙂Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (85)

 

Hey, smart alec website guy, knock it off with the smarmy commments and enjoy your Mickey Premium Bar.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (86)

 

Hey, the gang’s all here!  Let the festivities begin.  That means that all the roaming characters will finally show up and Ewoks will rotate with Chewbacca.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (87)

 

As soon as they allowed us to rush the stage, I made my way to Chopper.  I tried to get a selfie, but my stupid old phone wouldn’t cooperate.  No worries.  We’ll only have quality selfies from now on with my all new Galaxy S5!  Sounds very Star Wars too, huh?
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Beepity beep beeper.  The Lucasfilm fella on my left was really concerned that Chopper would be harmed in the melee, but he wasn’t even grazed.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (2)

 

 

If you want a decent photo of Ezra and Sabine on stage, stay the RIGHT of the stage.  You could also sit up front at the Behind the Force show.  Maybe you won’t have someone’s hand in your photo too.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (3)

 

Peter Mayhew had both knees replaced and is doing amazingly well.  My buddy Christopher had the opportunity to drive him the other day, how cool is that?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (4)

 

Bust a move Star Wars peeps.Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (6)

 

We’ll end with a final shot of Ezra and Sabine.  Ezra looks a little Captain EOish in this pose, huh?Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Motorcade Feel the Force Premium Package (5)

My summary of the parade is that you’ll need to waste over an hour of your day and arrive at 10:20am to get a decent view and hopefully those CMs won’t keep popping up in your photos too.  I felt like this event was very oversold as I’d like a “Premium” experience.  As a Premium experience there should have been enough rope space for your family to enjoy the full parade experience.  Too many characters bailed off to the other side, so viewing from middle to left is terrible and you’d do better with my other strategy and meeting the characters in the park.

I’ll do some witty writing about my Fireworks experience tomorrow. Any questions I can answer for you?

 

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51 thoughts on “KennythePirate’s Star Wars Weekends Feel the Force Premium Package parade review”

  1. The kids have a special section now taped off on the side of the parade route for viewing the parade. It’s toward Hollywood and Vine – inside the roped section. Really was nice.

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  2. I’m interested in the kids section you were talking about. Is it the kids section with the “padawans” from the jedi training, or is there a special place for FtF kids?
    Thanks

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    1. In the parade viewing area – Disney taped off a special section for kids. It was at the rope line – along the front. Kids were required to sit down – so even though they were three or four deep, all kids could see. As an adult, I stood directly adjacent to the kids’ area, and could see a wide area of the parade. It was perfect for kids – and pretty great for me.

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  3. My opinion of the parade viewing and fireworks show is different. We attended on Sunday night. When we spoke with a man from the UK, and he said that when he booked, the Sunday night was the only available slot. Of course, we ended up getting in a location in a great spot – mostly by luck. I’d suggest moving to the rope line between the stage and the front entrance. Then standing as close to the taped in ‘kids’ area as possible. All of the kids were required by cast members to sit throughout the parade, so I had a WIDE view of the parade – even though we weren’t next to the rope. A great couple from the 501 in London was directly in front of us – and we ended up talking with them at the fireworks party – more on that later. Cast members told us about the last section of the parade – the stormtroopers from the opening show. We picked up Mickey bars – one at a time. Then, we grabbed water. Was that section a ‘rip off?’ Probably. But for kids – it was particularly good. All children had an assigned area – and were able to interact with many of the people who were in the parade. Put yourself RIGHT next to the kids’ area – and when the CM’s go by at the end of the parade – get RIGHT behind them. I ended up AT THE FRONT of the viewing area (behind the selected kids) and was maybe ten feet from the stage.

    The evening party made it worth it. Select your table carefully. Consider getting in an area near where you watched the parade. Consider the trees covering up the fireworks. And don’t be afraid to talk with people in front of you. We ended up having our desserts with Ian and Liz again. They joined us. But take full advantage of the bar. They offered alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of the drinks. Here, adults can make the difference – and it was quite pleasant. We really laughed for two hours together. To the point that after the fireworks, Disney employees were very politely telling us to go home – well after the fireworks. The seven of us – a strange group – even posed for photopass photographs at the end of the evening. It was strange. The seven of us were VERY mixed on our responses to the breakfast and dinner. Some of us liked Sci-Fi and others liked the Hollywood and Vine. Because we ended up taking the right advantage of the right sections – it REALLY worked out for us.

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    1. I’ll just say that the desserts were nice, but there are trees blocking many views and it felt too close for my liking. I have videos on my youtube page where you can see the view point. Search KennythePirate on Youtube for that.

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      1. Ok sorry but I’m a little confused so during Star Wars Weekend there is both still a Fantasmic Show and a Symphony in the Stars Show at HS? Where is the the recommended place to view the Symphony fireworks if you have decided not to to the Premium package?

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  4. So if I’m hoping to Jedi training for my son on Sunday June 8 since it is during the Star Wars Weekend timeframe regardless of the park not opening till 8 am and I was already planning on getting there an hour before is it true/recommended I get there more like 6:30 am? Also does my son have to be in line with me at 6:30 am? Also what is the flashlight app someone mentioned above using?

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    1. Park actually opens at 7:30am even though Disney doesn’t tell you that and yes, you should arrive at the gates by 6:30 to be able to do this quickly. On my phone it’s called “Brightest Flashlight” If you read my post about the Star Wars Weeeknds Breakfast meal, it shows how it used it.

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  5. I thought the Padawan and the Jedi Training Academy were invited to join the parade. Kristen- did you choose not to have your child participate in the parade or were you not asked?

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    1. I wasn’t asked. I would have loved for her to walk in the parade. I didn’t sign my daughter up for the Jedi Training, since she had done that previously and we wanted to focus on the “new” offerings on Star Wars Weekend. So it is possible that some of the kids in the Training were asked or perhaps a particular class time. I would imagine the number of children walking in the parade would be limited to the number of Jedi Robes they had available to loan out. The children were all in Disney Robes.

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  6. Hi! We met in line – Thank you for the tip of where to go directly after the 501st passed us – we were able to see all the “stars” after the parade passed by heading to the Sorcerer Hat just as you suggested. You have an Awesome blog and my husband was a little star struck that I had actually met the guy that has all these insider tips and that I had even More tips when I got back from buying a pretzel dog! We used your tip of the flashlight app for our Star Wars breakfast and got some great shots as well! 🙂 You Rock!!

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      1. Sorry, just to make sure you still recommend standing past the hat to see all the Star Wars characters if you don’t want to bake for an hour waiting before the parade?

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  7. We did FtF on Saturday and got in line at 10, they told us to come back at 10:45 but I had read a Friday review saying get in line early for front row viewing so we came back at 10:20 and were maybe 10th in line for our green wristband. We were on the ropes and to the left of the stage. Left side viewing kind of stunk, but what was worse was standing there on the ropes and having to help the CMs tell people they couldn’t enter our area. People were livid to be turned away from crawling under the ropes, it was so uncomfortable. To top it off, one guy went under the rope unnoticed by a CM so a FtF attendee told a CM after the guy stuck around for five minutes obviously not leaving and then the guy made a huge scene at the CM and surrounding onlookers. It was so bad an attendee had to get between him and the CM and then the angry guy shoved the man who was defending the CM. Luckily the fight was squashed before it began when the attendee told the man he had just shoved a trained Marine and by then a couple other CMs we’re scrambling for security and the guy finally left. It really killed the mood in our little viewing area with tension being so high.
    They didn’t explain anything to us that morning about what to do for the dessert party so we showed back up to the area at 8 to be safe. The desserts, drinks, and tables definitely made up for the underwhelming parade experience but I made the mistake of hanging out at a table in the back and had to watch the fireworks under trees. Sigh.

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  8. Have this booked for June 7th and it’s mark Hamilton weekend. Hoping I am making the right decision guess we will see.

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  9. Hi Kenny, I was there enjoying the premium package with u. You actually got a nice shot of my backside (with stroller) – we met while on line for fireworks. I too was disappointed with the day parade. We checked in at 10am and were told the earliest entry would be at 11am. Big surprise that when we returned at 10:55am the place was already 2-3 deep. I complained to the main CM running the check in and was told that since it was the first day of event they allowed entry at 10:30 but my concerns would be noted. We were on the right side (5 people to our right) and would have had a perfect spot had we been by the rope. I was lucky enough to have a really tall gentleman move an inch or two so that I could sit on the ground with my toddler to allow her to see a couple of characters! As for snacks – we were hoping for some popcorn or chips too.

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  10. Kenny,
    Great post! Thanks so much for the Ewok tip, I was going to run there at rope drop but now I know! I bought the premium package too and although I love Disney, I’m kind of peeved about this. I’m going to take your advice and show up early, thanks again!

    Stacy

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  11. What about the evening fireworks location? I understand the food and beverage offerings are a little more generous for that event, but I’m wondering if you are too close to appreciate (and photograph) the fireworks.

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    1. Same location. I’ll have a review tomorrow. Yes many more little desserts and ice creams and open bar for those into that kind of thing. I posted fireworks view on my youtube yesterday and will add it tomorrow’s post too

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  12. Thanks for your review and pictures! We purchased this Premium package for Weekend V and now might redirect those $$$. Do you recommend getting in line at 6:30 am to try for the Jedi Training?

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      1. My daughter did the Padawan mind challenge on May 16th (opening day). She wasn’t in the parade. But she did love the Padawan mind challenge and all the kids received a Star Wars action figure as a “prize” for participating. 🙂

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      1. Do you still recommend standing by American idol steps? Just won’t see Mickey Donald and goofy in beginning? Looks like all of the other characters after the 501 squadron walked right past you last year.

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      2. Tom,
        I saw the Disney characters by following the details in the other post that is linked at the top. All the Disney characters stop at the hat. Read that post for all the details.

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