Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, A Report

Hello everyone,

A couple of weeks ago, Star Wars Celebration took place in Orlando. Star Wars Celebration (SWC) is the official Star Wars fan convention. While the convention was held over three full days, we only attended on the Friday, due to our other plans (Walt Disney World). We had never attended SWC before and so we were keen to experience it for the first time.

We were up bright and early to drive to the Orange County Convention Center. We parked a short walk away in a garage that was easily accessible and fairly cheap (if memory serves me correctly, it was $5 for the whole day, which really surprised me).

When we arrived at the convention centre we got in with relative ease, after the security checks, and made our way to the line for the show floor. The show floor is where all the vendors were, the food court, various exhibits, and the official convention store. The line was really, really long. We were early anyway, and so we waited for the floor to open. When the time rolled around, chaos ensued. Apparently standing in the line for several hours before official opening was a fruitless exercise because once the officials opened the doors, people piled in from every which way. People who had just showed up were working their way through and got inside before people who waited even longer than we had! There were a lot of people complaining, and it really was chaos.

The empty switch-backs for the show floor line, after everyone had entered.

Once inside the show floor we wanted to buy some of the exclusive merchandise, some of which you needed tickets for. We had previously entered the online lottery to be able to purchase the convention-exclusive LEGO sets, and we had "won" (won being a relative term for the effort it required, and the price tag of the set). We also picked up the convention exclusive Itty Bitties from the Hallmark store (cue another two hour line), and an exclusive Pop Vinyl from the FYE store.

We lined up for the main store part way through the day, and boy, what a wait it was. Thankfully we were able to take it in turns to leave the line and use the bathroom, get food, window shop some of the vendors, and take photos. Over three hours later we were finally inside and honestly, it was disappointing. There was barely anything there, and what they did have was really not great quality at all. We picked up some t-shirts and a few other items, and then stood in the checkout line for another half hour. The odd thing is, the convention is the official Star Wars convention, and of course Star Wars is owned by Disney - the store was even operated by Disney Store cast members - yet the organisation, the effort and the quality was so poor.

Anyway, store aside, we walked around the whole floor while switching out in the insanely long lines, and even managed to catch the Jedi Training Academy show which was at the Disney Parks area of the floor. Disney Parks had a separate presence from the main store, offering Disney Parks products - you could even get annual passholder discount, which was useful. We bought an exclusive Ewok plush, and a couple of other small items. The Disney Parks store, along with some of the other vendors honestly had better convention-exclusive items than the official store did.

Last photo - look at all those rooms we didn't get to go to!...

Over all, for me personally, the convention was a disappointing and extremely frustrating experience. The long lines were beyond miserable, and not something I can tolerate for very long at all. I was glad I could leave the lines as often as I did, because I couldn't have lasted all day otherwise. The lack of organisation by the convention centre/Disney really didn't help anything. We didn't get to see any of the panels or anything else around the rest of the convention centre - our entire day was spent on the show floor. For what I got out of it, if I were to attend again, I would just go to wander around once the floor was freely open, and not worry about the lines for exclusive items. I felt that nearly the entirety of our day was wasted just on t-shirts, Pops and LEGO - and it simply isn't worth it.

Have a great day everyone,