Star Wars Weekends has been perhaps the most popular annual event in the history of Walt Disney World since it was introduced in 1997, so much so that it became an annual event in the early 2000’s at the then Disney-MGM Studios. Well, after 16 fantastic events, it seems Star Wars Weekends is being shelved in 2016.
With Star Wars Launch Bay opening soon and the Season of the Force launching at both Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars will more permanently be permeating the Disney Parks stateside now through the opening of Star Wars land later this decade (construction starts in January on both coasts). With there being permanent Star Wars offerings in the parks outside of Star Tours and Jedi Training Academy, it seems Walt Disney World may elect to shelve Star Wars Weekends, at least for now. It is expected that some seasonal Star Wars offerings will still return around May the 4th annually, but any celebrity shows and involvement are not expected to return anytime soon.
Also rumored, it seems highly likely that Disney characters dressed as Star Wars characters are being retired in merchandise, logos, and meet and greet appearances. The decision was made along the same lines of the retirement of Hyperspace Hoopla a few years back as Disney and Lucasfilm are “re-positioning the brand” leading into the new films. Basically, it’s an image perception concern with Lucasfilm and Disney looking for a more serious tone with the brand.
Season of the Force is expected to debut on both coasts in January 2016. The event will host Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland Park and a special Star Wars fireworks show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Other offerings, such as the new destination on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue and Star Wars Launch Bay will debut in early December 2015, just ahead of the theatrical release of Episode VII. Again, no celebrity involvement is expected on either coast during Season of the Force.
While we still have confirmation from Disney on the cancellation, it is being strongly rumored at this time. Stay tuned for more information on this story as it develops.