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Wookiee Welcome Party | Star Wars Half Marathon

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Back in 2011 when I started this whole runDisney obsession I had one thought in mind:  wouldn’t it be cool if they held a Star Wars Half Marathon weekend?

Sure, the Princess is fun, and I love Tinker Bell.  And holding a Wine and Dine event just for those party animals who like to run at night is all well and good.

But.  STAR. WARS.

People… this was the race I was looking for!

Thank the Maker, runDisney finally agreed!

January 2015 hosted the first Star Wars themed half marathon and 10K at the Disneyland Resort (a 5K event had been held years before) and I took in EVERY single moment like a true fangirl!

The first event of the weekend was the Wookiee Welcome Party on Thursday night.  This was a new event and hard ticket party. Since it was not sold out in December I thought I’d go ahead and grab a ticket to see how it went.  I’m glad I did!

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The runDisney blog described the event as follows:

The party with feature entertainment for guests and a dessert reception. Party-goers can also meet and greet various Star Wars characters as well as classic Disney characters decked out in their own Star Wars garb.

Guests will be able to enjoy select attractions including Space Mountain® Attraction, Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue, Astro Orbitor and the Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster® Attraction.

Dessert? Entertainment? Private party?  Disney Characters in Star Wars garb?  SPACE MOUNTAIN?  Heck yeah… sounded like it would be worth the price.  And the price was hefty: $99 per ticket.

My biggest concern was the timing.  This party only lasted for 2 hours.  And it started AFTER Disneyland closed it’s gates.

Hmmmm… this was going to be a late night followed by a REALLY early morning with the 5K and it’s 4am wake up call!

A few friends and I decided to meet up for Fantasmic and dinner before the party.  After the show we headed out the gates just to turn around and get back in line for the party.

It seemed a little silly to do it this way but Disneyland Cast Members assured us it was the only way to keep the party exclusive to ticket holders.

Once inside the park we headed down to Tomorrowland where the party was being held.

As we headed in we saw a line forming for R2D2 and C3PO.  A rather long line. We kept walking.

Next line we saw was for Chewbacca.  Kept walking.

Another long line for Darth Vader.  Kept walking.

Finally we found what we were looking for:  Mickey and Minnie.

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This turned out to be the only character meet and greet opportunity for the Fab 5 in their Star Wars costumes.

They were at the finish line of the half, but you can’t really stop and chat with them as you finish.  Minnie and I had a lovely conversation about her buns and dress.  She is a sweetheart!

While we were in line a photographer from runDisney stopped and chatted with our group.  Then the TV crew showed up.  Next thing we knew we were getting interviewed after our pictures.

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Apparently it paid off to show up to the party in costume!

After we met Minnie and Mickey we danced a bit with the Chip-Woks.

The DJ had jams going all night long and at one point even Chewbacca got his groove on!

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The best part of the night for me was hanging out with my fellow Star Wars loving friends.  Most of us showed up in costume or Disney-bounded like a character and this made the experience even more fun.

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While a couple of us got in line for Chewbacca, I took this opportunity to check out the ride situation.

First stop: Space Mountain.

This was a glorious sight.

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I rode Space Mountain- my favorite thrill ride at Disneyland- 3 times in a row before I decided to check in with my friends again.

Honestly, Chewie was pretty chatty for a Wookiee so I could have taken a few more trips into space!

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We rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Star Tours without a single line.  Most people were trying to catch the characters while they could!

We also grabbed pictures with Luke and Leia (the real deal, y’all!) and Storm Trooper Donald at the end of the night.

I was having so much fun chatting and running from character to character that I almost forgot about the food!

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This was probably the biggest disappointment for me.

I hope this party steps it up in the food department next year.  The Wookiee Cookies were delish, but a few more offerings would have been nice considering the price.

I’ve seen a lot of people say the Wookiee Welcome wasn’t worth it.

Personally, I LOVED it.  It was worth it for me because I was in it for the pictures and I knew the lines would be stupid long on the course.  And they were.

This was the best opportunity for me to get those character interactions that I enjoy without risking the sweepers.   The rides without lines was icing on the cake for me!  The crowds were pretty thick all weekend long so I was thrilled to get my quota of Tomorrowland rides filled.

Negatives:  There were reaaallllyyyy long lines for the characters.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one there just for the pictures!  You needed patience and a good line partner to enjoy the experience.  I was fortunate to have both.   I know there were quite a few kids who wanted to ride while their parents wanted to stay in line.  That made things a little tough to balance.

I was also pleased to see alcohol offered at the party (yes, it’s legal for a private party to have alcohol in Disneyland!), but was disappointed that it was not included in the price of the ticket.

$99 for 2 hours- I think we could have gotten a free drink or two for the price.  Ahem.  Chances are the runners wouldn’t have tied one on or gotten too crazy anyway.  I only saw one person actually buying from the bar.  Poor bartender CMs were mighty bored!

They had the standard cash bar set up but wouldn’t it have been awesome to have the Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars Weekend in Walt Disney World?

mind trick

Yes- yes it would!

I wanted to get this recap up first not only for chronological purposes but to give some thoughts for those considering the 10th Anniversary Party at the Disneyland Half Weekend.  That event went on sale yesterday and is also priced at $99.

There seems to be a few differences.  I think this party will be even better or at least will give more bang for the buck!

1- No food is mentioned as being offered at this event.  #whompwhomp  But considering I didn’t hardly eat anything, I guess I am not too upset about that!

2- It lasts longer.  You can enter the park at 4pm with the party starting at 9pm.  The party will end at midnight.

3-  A different section of the park will be open for party guests only: The entire west side of Disneyland.  Adventureland, Frontierland, Critter Country and New Orleans Square will have rides open exclusively for the party goers.

4- The 60th Anniversary “Paint the Night” parade will make a special appearance.

I’m excited about this one!

 What do you think about the Wookiee Welcome and the 10th Anniversary Party?  Are you interested in attending these events?

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