Last week I shared my love of Old Key West and shared some tips that I hope would improve your time at my favorite resort to rest my head. While Old Key West is my favorite resort on Walt Disney World property, my home resort is Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village. As with any other place you may call home, I have a fondness for this resort that cannot be compared. While there are a similar amount of rooms and size of rooms, the setup of Kidani Village is quite different. All rooms are in the same crescent shaped building with self parking underneath. About half of the rooms face the large savanna while the other half of the rooms face the front of the resort. I like to call the animals in the savanna my “pets” as with my Disney Vacation Club annual dues I pay for their food and care.
Every time I have visited Kidani Village, I have had a fantastic experience. The rooms are beautiful, regardless of what your balcony view may be. The detail in all decor is delightful, with the bathrooms being a highlight for me. Across the tiles in the bathtub in most rooms is a view of the savanna from the Lion King with most of the characters from the movie. It’s a nice touch to remind you that despite feeling like you’re on another continent, Disney is with you. I really encourage staying at this resort with younger children. Despite its distance from the parks, there’s so much for them to enjoy and do from sunrise to sunset.
If I may suggest a few things while staying here:
Have a meal at Sanaa! I was a bit wary of trying this place as it’s out of my comfort zone, but I absolutely loved it. I tend to go a little nuts on the bread service and I highly encourage you to do the same.
Check out the pool at this resort! It is probably the shadiest pool I have been to at Walt Disney World. The majority of the chairs around the pool are underneath trees, which makes those summer days a little easier to enjoy. Their splash area for younger ones is also my favorite on property; it’s fun for all ages.
Take your time and enjoy the lobby and all it has to offer. I had an amazing day at Kidani last week with no need for park time. I enjoyed the pool for the majority of the day and spent my evening using night vision goggles that were provided at the savanna outlook to see the animals during the evening. It was a perfect relaxing day.
A while back, Betsy visited Kidani Village and spent an afternoon enjoying the resort. You can read about her day here. Have you been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village? What are some of your favorite things about this resort?
Star Wars Weekends 2014 is full of some new and returning special offerings that make this event one of my favorites of the entire year!
Here are just a few of the things that make me even more excited about Star Wars Weekends 2014!
This is the first year that you will be able to use FastPass+ to book Star Wars Weekends 2014 shows at the Premiere Theater such as Behind the Force – Star Wars: Rebels, Stars of the Saga and Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor.
There was a tweet from Gary Buchanan that popped up in my timeline about Augmented Reality coming to Star Wars Weekends 2014!
Needless to say I am now following @Aurasma and have downloaded the app!
Specialty Popcorn Buckets and Mugs
I will openly admit this…I am an absolute sucker for themed popcorn buckets and mugs, and these will be mine!!!
Star Wars Weekends Gift Cards
I have a pile of used Disney Gift Cards that I just can’t bear to get rid of, and these Star Wars Weekends 2014 giftcards will hopefully be in my pile soon!
Star Wars Weekends Cupcakes
Why choose one Star Wars Weekends 2014 cupcake when you can have two? The Darth Vader and Yoda cupcakes look adorable and delicious, and can be found at Sunset Ranch Market, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, Pizza Planet Arcade and Darth’s Mall.
Symphony in the Stars
While Hyperspace Hoopla’s absence has caused me to shed a tear or two, I am excited to see Symphony in the Stars! If you haven’t seen fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you HAVE to catch them during Star Wars Weekends 2014! This isn’t really an option!
We had the chance to experience the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine-In and it was amazing! I absolutely cannot recommend this experience enough, and the bonus is that you can experience this any time during the week and not just during Star Wars Weekends 2014!
Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade
I love a good parade…so if you add Star Wars characters, celebrities, and lots of Stormtroopers I am ALL in!!! I love watching this parade!!!
What are you most looking forward to during Star Wars Weekends 2014?
The first Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios begins tomorrow, and with so many great things happening during this special event I thought I would summarize what you will find going on!
Admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required for Star Wars Weekends, and availability is limited for some events so get to your destination early! Also listen for updates throughout the day as events may be cancelled at any time!
Star Wars Weekends: May 16 – 18, 2014
Scheduled Celebrity Appearances
A highlight of Star Wars Weekends is having the chance to get an autograph from an actual Star Wars Celebrity around Echo Lake! Be warned though, this is not something everyone will be able to do so make sure you choose your celebrity wisely and get there extremely early!
Disney FASTPASS Ticket Required
An extremely limited number of FASTPASS tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first served basis at the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to the right of the turnstiles. Based on demand, distribution may begin prior to Park opening. Please note: You must have a FASTPASS ticket to receive an autograph.
To receive a FASTPASS ticket:
Join the line of the celebrity you would most like to meet. You may not save a place in line for other party members.
While in line, you will receive a wristband. Your wristband along with your theme park ticket or pass will entitle you to receive one autograph FASTPASS ticket. Only one autograph FASTPASS ticket will be distributed per Guest. Each Guest must be present to receive a FASTPASS ticket. You may not get FASTPASS tickets for other members of your party.
After receiving your FASTPASS ticket, continue to wear your wristband. You will need to be wearing your wristband to get an autograph.
Your FASTPASS ticket will have a designated autograph return time. Until that time, you may enjoy other Star Wars Weekends activities. At your designated time, proceed to the Celebrity Autograph Location at Echo Lake to show your wristband and present your FASTPASS ticket.
Once FASTPASS tickets for visiting celebrities are distributed, we may distribute a limited number of “stand-by” tickets with a return time. “Stand-by” tickets do not guarantee you an autograph.
Please note: Receiving a FASTPASS ticket for an autograph at Star Wars Weekend will not restrict you from reserving access with FastPass+ for additional attractions, entertainment and more at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The Star Wars Weekends celebrities for May 16 – 18, 2014 are:
Ahmed Best – Jar Jar Binks – Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Peter Mayhew – Chewbacca – Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Vanessa Marshall – Hera Syndulla – Star Wars Rebels
Character Meet and Greets
In addition to an awesome variety of Star Wars Characters that you can find walking throughout the Star Wars Weekends crowds, you can find special meet and greets at the following locations:
Meet Disney Pals as Star Wars Stars in Darth’s Mall
Meet the Heroes of the Clone Wars Near the Premiere Theater
Meet the Dark Side near Darth’s Mall
Meet Members of the Jedi Council near Premiere Theater
Meet Members of the Rebel Alliance Near Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue
Throughout Star Wars Weekends there are some AMAZING opportunities to interact with characters, participate in great shows, and see fireworks that will blow your mind!
Stormtroopers at the Gate – Hollywood and Vine Intersection: Watch out for this duo, as their mission is to keep the ‘Rebel Scum’ in line.
Boba Fett Patrol: Boba Fett patrols the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage, and this is your chance to get up close and talk to the universe’s most relentless bounty hunter.
Stormtrooper Patrol: In addition to Boba Fett, you can find Stormtroopers patrolling and guarding the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage. They might ask you a few questions, so be cool!
Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade: The Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade is filled with Star Wars celebrities, characters, and lots & lots of Stormtroopers! The motorcade begins at the front of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and makes its way to the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage with an awesome welcome and photo opportunity.
Symphony in the Stars: If you haven’t seen fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you are missing out! This year Hyperspace Hoopla (I am crying as I type this) has been replaced with this spectacular fireworks show, and if you have ‘Glow with the Show’ ears you are going to want to bring them along!
Padawan Mind Challenge: Younglings ages 4-11 will enjoy the Padawan Mind Challenge where your intergalactic hosts ask some fun and interactive Star Wars trivia challenges with a few surprises.
Jedi Training Academy: Kids under 12 can hone their lightsaber skills at the Jedi Training Academy with extra opportunities than normal during Star Wars Weekends.
During Star Wars Weekends, the Premiere Theater plays home to some exceptional experiences that include the celebrities visiting the celebration for the weekend.
Make sure that you check to see if there are any FastPass+ available for the following shows!
Some of the scheduled presentations include:
Behind the Force – Star Wars: Rebels
Ashley Eckstein, who is the voice behind Ahsoka Tano, and special guests give a behind-the-scenes “sneak peek” of the upcoming TV show Star Wars: Rebels.
Stars of the Saga
James Arnold Taylor, the Star Wars Weekends 2014 host, and special guests share 30 minutes look into the fascinating lives and movie-making adventures with some of the stars from the Star Wars saga. It’s a talk-show format that is full of fun and surprises!
Make sure you head to the Premiere Theater15 minutes prior to Stars of the Saga for a unique and immersive pre-show featuring several Imperial Stormtroopers on a special assignment. I always make sure to get to the Theater early to catch this!!!
Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor
James Arnold Taylor, from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, gives us a glimpse into the world of voice acting. James performs over 200 popular and iconic characters, and Zoe LOVES this show!
Special Food and Beverage Options
What would a special event at Walt Disney World be without special food and beverage offerings???
Star Wars Weekends have some pretty awesome ones this year that are only available during event weekends!
Darth Vader Cupcake: Available at Sunset Ranch Market, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, Pizza Planet Arcade and Darth’s Mall
Yoda Cupcake: Available at Backlot Express, Starring Rolls and Darth’s Mall
Darth Vader Souvenir Popcorn Bucket with Caramel or Regular Popcorn: Available at Popcorn Carts and Darth’s Mall
Stormtrooper Souvenir Mug with Fountain Beverage: Available at Sunset Ranch Market, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, Pizza Planet Arcade
Admiral Ackbar’s Snackbar in Darth’s Mall featuring a variety of snacks and refreshments.
Throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios you will find additional food, beverage, and alcoholic beverage locations have been added.
Star Wars Weekends event merchandise can be found in Darth’s Mall sponsored by HP which will be located between Toy Story Mania and the Studios Backlot Tour this year.
Again, be prepared for some crazy lines!!! But the treasures inside are worth the wait!
Once inside you will find limited edition pins, specialty gift cards, artwork, collectibles, and commemorative apparel for the entire family!
In addition to Star Wars Weekends logo’ed items, you will also find the Her Universe line of apparel by Ashley Eckstein.
I know that we are all stoked about Star Wars Weekends, and can’t wait to share all of the fun! So make sure you are following our adventures on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!