LaughingPlace.com contributors across the country attended Force Friday events in New York, Orlando, Anaheim, and San Francisco. He is a wrap up of all the festivities.
New York City: Toys R Us Times Square
The festivities began early at the Times Square Toys”R”Us was the home of “Destination: Star Wars – The Experience” exhibit, curated by Rancho Obi-Wan, a non-profit museum that houses the Guinness World Record-certified largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia. This exhibition consisted of nearly 30 glass vitrines placed throughout the store showcasing the near 40-year history of Star Wars merchandise, including some of the best-known collectibles – from the famous “empty box” sold during Christmas 1977 to the rare 2003 LEGO® Star Wars Cloud City building set.
There was also fun activities including a Wookie Cookie Party, toy builds and giveaways. To check out what Toys”R”Us has to offer, visit the Star Wars section of their website. Marty Allen was on hand to share some snapshots of the festivities in New York City.
Orlando: Once Upon a Toy
Originally Disneyland and Walt Disney World was charging $50 for participation in their Force Friday events. Disney had a change of heart but still allowed those that had registered to enter the venues first. Our own Jeremiah Good was lucky enough to receive the “number 1” wristband that gave him first access to the merchandise. Before the store opened, there was a Star Wars ring-toss game that featured Star Wars Weekends autograph cards and Star Wars Weekends Annual Passholder posters as prizes. While the anticipation built the cast of Goofy’s Candy Co. brought small cups of Goofy Glaciers and conducted Star Wars trivia for small themed cupcakes. Once 12:01am hit, the guests were walked inside to find many small displays of The Force Awakens merchandise before making it to the middle section of Once Upon A Toy to see even more items. By all accounts, the event was well organized and handled well.
Anaheim: World of Disney
Preregistered guests at the Disneyland Resort gathered at the Grand Californian for some refreshment and photo opportunities. As the release got closer, guest control cast members weilding lightsabers guided those assembeled through Downtown Disney and to the World of Disney store. There was a wide selection of merchandise that mirrored what was available at Walt Disney World, but the larger store offered a little more breathing room. There were pins, vinylmation, plush, toys, and even artwork available for purchase. By all accounts, the crowd was excited to get their hands on a variety of proudcts.
San Francisco: Disney Store
As Lucasfilm is based in San Francisco, it wasnt surprising to find that there was quite a crowd assembled at the Stockton Street Disney Store.In fact, there were several Lucasfilm employees in attendence hoping to get their hands on some new toys. With over 100 people lined up three hours prior to the store’s opening, a sense of comradorie emerged as anticipation built. There were lightsaber battles and trivia competitions to help kill the time. There were senior Disney Store leaders answering questions and enjoying the excitment of those waiting to get inside. Vouchers were handed out for the special free with purchase pin as well as tickets that offered the opportunity to purchase Sphero’s BB-8 (which was the must purchase item of the night). Instead of the usual opening ceremony that features a young guest opening the store with a giant key, a slightly older guest was told to open the store using “the force”
Inside guests were asked to pick the “light side” or the “dark side” and given a sticker depending on their selection. The trees thorughout the store showed Star Wars imagery while music from the saga was played continously. Another giveaway was a copy of the Force Awakens poster that was given out at the D23 Expo. They also did a raffle for several of the Sphero BB-8 toys giving guests that didn’t arrive early enough to purchase one the chance to still take one home.