Location: Darth’s Mall between the Backlot Studio Tour and Toy Story Mania
Specialty: Star Wars merchandise
Craig’s Favorite: Drastically reduced wait / advanced RSP / Autograph opportunities with Ashley Eckstein
Rebel Rendezvous was a premiere event kicking off Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2014. A merchandise party with items for Star Wars fans from floor to ceiling, this event allowed guests to come a day early and shop at Darth’s Mall to their hearts content. Opportunities for limited edition pins, limited edition pieces of artwork, unique snacks and treats, and a photo op with everyone’s favorite characters dressed as Star Wars legends.
But that wasn’t all. There were many more perks to being a part of Rebel Rendezvous, such as an autograph session with Ashley Eckstein who played Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and with some of the designers and artists of many of the pieces on display. Those in attendance also had early access to D-Tech Me where you could get your face scanned and an action figure would be made of YOU as Princess Leia, Luke in Rebel gear, a Stormtrooper, or Han frozen in carbonite. Personalized Star Wars iPhone cases were also available in eight different styles as well as two limited edition cases of only 300 each (unable to be personalized). A great addition to the festivities was Ackbar’s Snack Bar with Darth Vader popcorn carrying case, Stormtrooper stein with drink included (both non-alcoholic and mixed drinks), a Darth Vader peanut butter and chocolate cupcake and a new Yoda Nutella cupcake.
Having never attended a Star Wars Weekend event before, I hadn’t realized until the next day and saw the extensive line to enter Darth’s Mall how fortunate I was to be able to enter with early access. Interviewing other attendees who had come to these events before all said that most of the limited edition merchandise would be gone by early the next morning. Indeed, people lined up in the wee hours of the morning just for the opportunity to purchase what Rebel Rendezvous attendees left behind. Even on our preview day, certain items quickly started to disappear from shelves. The limited release reveal / conceal pins were gobbled up as were many of the Vinylmation EachEZ. By the end of the day, there were less than three shelves left of the Vinylmation product.
On top of having early access to popular merchandise without waiting overnight in line, there were other perks as well. Special name tags with “Rebel Rendezvous” printed on them (along with your name in Aurebesh) were available to be pre-ordered for pick-up on the day of the event. A special gift card with carrying case could also be purchased only in advance for inclusion in your merchandise order. And each attendee received a “Rebel Recruitment Pack” which included several Star Wars Rebels pieces of merchandise including a messenger bag, a tumbler, a hat, a lanyard, and a medal / pin set with the Star Wars Rebels logo.
Personally, the best part was meeting Ashley who was simply the most gracious person you could hope to meet. She was patient, kind, and willing to pose for pictures as well as autograph items for each person waiting in line. It was such a pleasure to meet her and again without having to wait in line early in the morning for a Fastpass to get her autograph during the Star Wars Weekend events. A picture opportunity with Mickey and the gang was also well worth it as nowhere else were you able to get a picture with all four characters at once and there was no wait at all! It was also great to meet so many fellow Star Wars / Disney fans. They were nice, fun to talk to (especially while waiting in line to check out) and full of great information. The price was a little steep for what was included, especially when you consider you’re paying $250 to buy more stuff. But it was still very worthwhile. Considering the time savings from not having to wait in line to get in to Darth’s Mall (besides the very short wait prior to entry) or sacrifice your good night’s sleep to be in line outside the park, and to have access to both merchandise and food exclusively available to you a day before the general public, and then to have access and autographs from Ashley Eckstein and people from Disney who designed so much of what we saw, it was a terrific time.