Or, if you aren’t a bear and thus don’t speak Ewokese; hiya, friends! As you might have been able to tell, I’m kind of a Star Wars fan. Mostly because my girl, Brookie knows SO many different things about it! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (last night in Disneyland to be exact), I was surprised last-minute with the opportunity to travel to a specially ticketed Star Wars event, and needless to say, I was more excited than a Jawa at a Swap Meet! This is the second “Disneyland After Dark” event that the resort has hosted in recent years, and while the last one had a throwback theme, this one was all about gearing up for May The Fourth, Star Wars Day!
The night kicked off at 9pm sharp, although after dodging a few tie fighters, I managed to land around 10, accidentally missing the special fireworks. Although I got there late, it felt amazing to walk down a nearly empty Main Street at lightspeed (projections) to pop and techno music mashed together with John Williams classics blaring from every speaker imaginable. All of this was being mixed live by DJ Elliot on the Tomorrowland Stage. Asteroids hurdled past the castle (also projection) and struck the sides of the Matterhorn. There was a decent amount of guests there, as tickets for the event sold out in record time, and since this was a costumed event, people came dressed as creatures from all across the galaxy (I’m looking at you, guy in the bad Han Solo toupee). It was similar to Mickey’s Halloween Party, with special food, merchandise, photo opportunities, and characters. There was so much to do!
In fact, there was so much to do and so little time, I had no clue where my little legs should walk to first! Merchandise sold out almost immediately with lines to get into every store, while lightsaber churros were by far the popular snack of choice. Even a bunch of rides, both themed (Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, New Hyperspace Mountain) and un-themed (Dumbo, Splash Mountain) were left open. I stayed away from all of it to go straight to the rare characters. Even though there were so many characters all over the park, each of them had at least a 30 minute wait, not counting the more popular characters like Rey, who had at least a 1 hour wait for her Disneyland debut. It quickly became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to do everything, and that was okay. Firstly, I headed over to the Big Thunder Trail “of Jakku” to meet the one and only Jedi Ashoka Tano. She left before I could talk to her, but swapped out with the sprightly Ezra Bridger. I walked past BB-8 and as far as Critter Country “Endor”, to see people pose on 74-Z Speeder Bikes and meet Chopper and Sabine Wren.
Tomorrowland was of course a Star Wars hotspot, swarming with Jawas who provided one of the best experiences of the night! They roamed around freely, searching for guests to trade items with… and even tried to trade ME away! Their chaos ensued with putting other guests in silly battles both with lightsabers and dance moves as onlookers watched and laughed along, truly showcasing how Disney entertainment is done right. Also gaining top honors were the intimidating yet impressive March Of The First Order, led by Captain Phasma, herself. Even having red Praetorian guards pacing the upper perimeter of Launch Bay was fantastic and frightening all at once. Although I never went inside the building, The Dark Side welcomed Kylo Ren/Darth Vader, and Darth Maul/Seventh Sister who switched out with each other throughout the night. Rey and Chewbacca shared the Light Side, and Boba took over the Cantina. I was sad I missed out on the various astromech droids rolling around Town Square, upset I missed out on the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Panel in the Fantasyland Theater and especially Brookie, an aspiring Padowan, was especially devastated to miss Jedi Training Academy for grown-ups, taught by none other than the creator of the show! However, I did get to see a large cavalcade of local cosplayers from the 501st Leigon. It was all truly worth it when after 3 tries in line, I got to meet and talk to R2D2 AND C3PO, and to top it all of, Threepio called me by NAME! I was flipping out to say the least. And just like that, a little after 1am, and with a free Solo poster, the night said “Let’s blow this thing and go home!”.
Now after a few hours of sleep, I have to say it was a blast. The sheer fact that they had so much to offer was great. I’m glad I got to experience a lot of it, too. But I do wish Disney had done a few things differently. Firstly, publicizing a specific event guide a few days prior, so guests could organize their night in advance to do the things they would have liked to prioritize with the time constraints. I understand that they can’t make it last all night, but a bear can dream, right? I also wish more “Inspired” PhotoPass photographers were staffed throughout the night to simply roam around. The character locations had enough, and I really appreciated the complimentary digital downloads, but some of the coolest shots were all throughout Tomorrowland and other random, yet oddly Star Wars-themed that would match people’s costumes and spontaneous moments. Unlike stormtroopers, they should get every shot. And the DJ dance party playing throughout the park was such a cool idea, I wanted to see it being more incorporated into the night. If @DJWendyWalker were to join DJ Elliot and duel as light and dark side DJs with even MORE John Williams mash-ups it would have been especially out of this world! Anything to entertain guests while they’re standing in so many long lines and really delve them further into the experience. As lucky as I was to be given a ticket I am still unsure whether or not I would have paid the $99 to go. Overall, I hope the park finds a way to better organize everything, and that may just take time. Due to popular demand, a SECOND Star Wars night has been added on May 9th and tickets are still available right here! As a fan of any Disney-related event, I am so beary excited to see what the next Disneyland after Dark event holds, too! And who knows, perhaps they can still sneak in an Ewok or two.
What do you think the next theme night will be? Leave a comment below. Don’t forget to thumbs up if you love Star Wars! Shout-out to @right_ear_97!