Star Wars Inaugural Half Marathon kicked off with the Wookie Welcome Party, a two hour Tomorrowland after hours ticket. Guests were escorted in at 9:30 where Tomorrowland became a night club of sorts, complete with food and drink, and plenty of dancing.
The food served were Star Wars themed desserts. Among them were Wookie Cookies, which were Chewbacca shaped treats and were the first to go among all the desserts. Cupcakes with chocolate Darth Vader helmets were around too. I must say I found it satisfying to eat a candy Vader helmet. Another delectable treat was the Wookie Rumballs, which had a cake like center. When the Wookie Cookies were depleted they brought out some cheesecakes with a blue frosting atop. Drinks were included as well, which were the usual coffees and teas, and lemonade and ice tea. There was a bar available, which may have been the first time I’ve seen that in the open at Disneyland.
Not all of the attractions were open in Tomorrowland, but some of the more popular ones were. Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, Astro Orbitor, and, of course, Star Tours were all open. The lines kept to about 5 minutes during the whole party. Space Mountain was literally a walk on for me when I ventured on.
All around the Land were character photo opportunities. C3PO and R2D2 greeted guests near the entrance to Star Tours, and also alternated with Luke and Leia throughout the night. I was impressed with Threepio conversing with guests. Chewbacca was the most popular, having a line that was from near the entrance to Innoventions, wrapping around towards Space Mountain’s entrance and to Star Traders. Over towards Autopia were Jedi Mickey and Princess Minnie who also alternated with Stormtrooper Donald Duck and Darth Goofy. Over on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage were Ewok Chip and Dale dancing and stopping for pictures.
It was great seeing all the characters having a blast at the party, which made it fun for all the guests. I loved seeing Ewok Chip and Dale dancing. I’ve wanted my picture with Jedi Mickey and Princess Minnie for quite some time, and that was certainly a delight.
The real surprises for me were over on the stage. First, the not surprising part was having a great DJ spinning out tunes to dance to for the whole night. I found myself bouncing along to the music while in line for various things. One of the “show stoppers” were having two Star Wars Rebels characters have their premier at the event. Ezra and Sabine, from the great cartoon series, put on a short show twice in the night. It was great to see that the show is getting some exposure in the park, and it made a great story addition to the whole event.
The other surprise around the stage were Jawas! Entering in as a conga line, these little creatures kept trying to trade up with guests. One eventually got his (or her?) hands on a lightsaber, which the others started trying to grab. Once they saw my camera they tried to trade some graham crackers for the gadget. I kindly refused. All of them were lively and it felt like we were really in the world of Star Wars with creatures like them running around.
For me, this party was the closest we have gotten to Star Wars Weekends so far. Being a Star Wars fan, it was very fun to see all the characters out and enjoy the atmosphere of the galaxy epic. Is it worth doing? It’s hard to say. There were the great surprises, but it is a limited time and space for everything. This was some of the easiest times to get on attractions, but there was really not many going. The food was terrific, as I ate several plates. Will they do it again? Only time will tell!