I thought it might help some people with their planning to offer some tips from my own experience with SWW. Many blogs are filled with photos of other families, meaning they just walked around the park, shot a few photos and took a guess at the wait times. I wanted to have the experience of the average guest and actually waited in every line. I had to wait in the Fab 4 line four different times to meet all the characters, 3 times at the Blister Pack meet, 3 times at Darth’s Mall, 3 times to meet Boba and Jango Fett and 2 times at the Jedi Council meet. So, I think this should qualify my expeirence to offer hands-on tips.
1. It’s HOT! Make sure you are prepared for the heat. Almost every meet is in the glaring sun. The lines for Vader and Chewie are the longest, but thankfully they are in the shade. I would recommend that you bring an umbrella to keep the sun off your family and bring some little battery powered fans. Some families may choose the squirter fans, but realize you don’t really need the humidity, just the moving air.
2. Don’t do it all. Well, don’t try to do everything in one day at least. SWW is a great event with characters, shows, parade, Hoopla and merchandise. It could be tempting to think you could do it all in one day, but you can’t. I broke my weekend up in 3 parts: Day one – I rode all the headliner attractions, caught some shows and met up with some friends. I met a couple of characters with short waits, watched the SWW motorcade and Hoopla. Day two: I stood in line at every character location and met all but three Star Wars characters and I didn’t even know the schedule at that time. Day three: I watched some of the SWW specific shows and finished up my meet and greets.
3. Buy later. It may be tempting to run to the merchandise tent early in the day, but that will result in an hour or more line outside the tent and the same at the check out. When I arrived in the afternoon each day, there was no wait to enter and a very short line to check-0ut. If you are interested in limited edition merchandise, they still had it all at 3:00 on the first day, had much of it on the second day and most of it was gone on the third day.
4. Prepare for randomness. How can one prepare for randomness? Many of the character locations are on a rotation basis, so that can make it difficult to meet all the characters. You might line up for Mickey, but actually meet Donald. You might line up for Boba, but actually meet Jango 3 times! You might line up for Luke Skywalker and end up with Leia, R2D2 & C3PO. I recommend only standing in line at the Bounty Hunter meet once. The Bounty Hunter meet is very rigidf, but my experience at the other rotations was much more pleasant. It was regularly a 45 minute wait and unless your timing is perfect you might get the same character.
5. Have a plan. Use my schedules to help you meet all the characters. I recommend being in line at the gates no later than 7:30, because the park always opens 30 minutes early. You can get those padawans registered, ride a ride and grab that valuable Toy Story Mania Fastpass. I recommend lining up for Vader at 8:30 am. It was the ideal time to reduce your wait time and the only other characters out at 9:00 am were the Fab 4. I lined up for Chewbacca at 1:00 and was about 6th in line. He returned for meets at 1:50, but there were no other characters to meet, so I just ate lunch will sitting in the shade. Here’s an outline of waits on the first weekend:
Vader: 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Chewbacca: 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Maul: 1 hour
Bounty Hunters: 45 minutes
Fab Four: 30-40 minutes
Luke/Leia: 20-30 minutes
Jedi Council: 10-20 minutes
Blister Pack: 10-20 minutes
Have a great plan and have a great time!