Overall rating: AWESOME!!! We would do it again next year if they offered it. They could make some changes for parade viewing.
Feel the Force Package was something new Disney offered this year for Star Wars weekends only. Basically it allowed guests to have a “premium viewing area” for the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade parade and the Symphony in the Stars fireworks. Not only was it just a premium viewing area, but it came with an extra perk. During the Parade they had nonalcoholic beverages and a selection of ice creams. The Fireworks show was a dessert party that included fancy little desserts, nonalcoholic and Alcoholic beverages. We were shocked that they had Alcoholic beverages, but it was a good shocked. You could have as much as you could eat or drink for both viewing events. Cost was $54 Adult and $32 Child for the premium package.
They also offered a new VIP Star Wars experience for $500 a person. The VIPs watched the parade and fireworks in the same area as we did. Of course the VIP experience came with a lot of extra all day activities, but honestly I’d be a bit disappointed if I paid $500 and didn’t have a reserved area for myself. I say this because the viewing areas are standing room only and its first come first serve as to where you would like to plant yourself.
TIP 1: Arrive at least 1 hour before the events start.
The parade event had an arrival time of 11:00am but they started letting everyone in at 10:30am. Apparently people started lining up near the check in point around 10:00, so by the time we arrived at 10:45 it was about 3-4 people deep from the rope that lines the parade route. Problem with not being close to the rope is you won’t be able to see much unless you’re pretty tall. If you end up that far back and want pictures, the only way thats going to happen is by taking pictures with your arms stretched over your head. Now the area is large and it wasn’t cramped by no means but you want to be next to the rope to get a good view of the parade. They do have a small taped off area just for the little ones to sit along the rope. I’d say about 10-12 kids could fit depending on age/size. The best viewing area is along the right side of the ropes. This allows you to watch the parade come down the street and get a good view of the stage. I would not recommend the left side unless you want to watch as the parade comes around the curve and they walk on stage.
Tip 2: When you check into the event walk straight in and find your spot along the rope towards the right side (close to the kids taped off area). Have a seat and your friend/family member get the drinks and Mickey ice creams.
***SPOILER ALERT** don’t look at the pictures if you don’t want to see the parade pictures ahead of time…scroll past them
We were lucky and met a nice family from California that had gotten there earlier and set up a seating area for their kids. We were able to join them along the rope. So you can see in the pictures how I didn’t have any obstacles for picture taking…you know, someones big iPad or a bunch of hands reached out in front of you.
Start of parade is a little stage presentation then the motorcade starts
The little Jedi’s, above picture, lead the start of the parade then they stay at the very front bottom of the stage. It was so cute watching the parents walk with their kids down the parade route. They were proud mommies and daddies. Once at the main stage, the cast members have the parents wait in an area to the side of the stage.
Once you see the 2 Storm Troopers in the tower, that is the end of the parade. There will be Cast members walking behind them and as soon as they pass you, you can head to the front of the stage before the crowd moves in. All the characters from the parade head on stage and do a little introduction type of show…nothing spectacular.
Tip 3: When you see the Storm Troopers in the tower, pictured above, get ready for cast member to walk by and RUN for the stage…hahaha..no running, I’m just kidding. Make sure you are prepared to get to the stage so you can get a good view and take great pictures.
The fact that we didn’t have to wait hours to find a prime spot to watch the parade was well worth the cost of the package. It was nice to have cold drinks and Mickey ears ice creams in the enclosed VIP area.
DESSERT PARTY FIREWORKS SHOW
Tip 4: Show up 1 hour or more before check in time. Get a table that is to the left of the stage
The Dessert party is in the same area as the parade viewing area. Again, show up an hour before show time so that you can get a table. They have a DJ playing the whole time, so waiting is still fun as everyone is dancing around. It is standing room only but its nice to have a table to put your dessert and drinks on. For the fireworks I would get a table that is more to the left side of the stage. Being in front of the stage or to the right is NOT a good spot. When the fireworks go off you won’t be able to see much because the stage and Sorcerer Hat will block your view. When you are more to the left you can see the fireworks better. Really the best view for the fireworks is towards the entrance down the middle of the main street…or outside the park too. I’ve been told that the only issue is you can’t really hear the music for the fireworks when you are that far back. The problem with the premium viewing area is you are seeing the left side of the fireworks and not the whole thing. We didn’t mind at all. It was fun listening to the DJ and drinking our cocktails.
Tip 5: DO NOT eat a buffet 3 hours before the dessert party…oops..haha
There is a pre show on stage before the fireworks kick off. Just about any spot in the viewing area is a great spot to watch the stage show
Go DJ!! The music starts early, well before the fireworks
In conclusion, we would spend the money on the premium package for a few reasons:
1. We don’t have to wait hours to find a good spot
2. We don’t have to deal with the crowd
3. It made it feel much more relaxing
4. It was really nice to have all the snacks and beverages. Especially the alcohol, that in itself was a treat for us. They have 2 bars at the Dessert party so no long lines for cocktails 🙂
We definitely got our moneys worth with all the snacks and drinks. The dessert party was an amazing way to end the whole day. It was fun to get there early and mingle with everyone. The cast members don’t kick you out of the area right after the fireworks, this allows the rush from the big crowd to go by. I can say that we left with a big smile and so did all the other guests. Great job Disney!!!