So everyone right now is on a countdown to Celebration Anaheim and the excitement as the dates draw closer is electric. You can't touch social media without Celebration being mention or discussed in some way shape or form. I can only imagine what it will be like with The Force Awakens right around the corner. Unfortunately, attending Celebration isn't in the cards for me this year.
It's all good though, it gives me the chance to focus on the upcoming Star Wars Weekends 2015. That's right, not long after the close of Celebration Anaheim, fan focus turns to Orlando, Florida for the annual event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Now we do have a couple of months to prepare, and trust me I am. I'll fill you in when I can and when plans are finalized, but for now, let's reminisce of some of the best Celebrity encounters I have had at Star Wars Weekends. These are the most memorable ones for me.
#5 – David Eckstein
That's right, the 2006 Major League Baseball World Series MVP was in the house at last year and I was blessed to meet him. Now I know, he wasn't in Star Wars, but seriously, WHO CARES??? He's a 2 time World Series Champ (2002 Anaheim Angels and 2006 St. Louis Cardinals), Babe Ruth Award winner (2006), and a 2-time MLB All-Star, not to mention the fact he is the husband to the talented Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe and voice of Ahsoka Tano. I met David inside of Darth's Mall where he was helping oversee the Her Universe shop inside. Very nice guy. Next time, I'll have his rookie card with me.
#4 – Steve Sansweet
In 2013, the great Steve Sansweet joined in all the fun down here in Orlando. The founder of Rancho Obi-Wan held a book signing for his book entitled Star Wars The Ultimate Action Figure Collection, plus he marched with the 501st Legion in the parade as well. I did meet him and did get a signed copy of the book, but for some reason, I failed to get a picture of us together. My biggest SWW regret. Hopefully he will come back and I can rectify that mistake.
#3 – Peter Mayhew
The mighty Chewbacca I met in 2013. He was a very humble, very quiet man. He is the living definition of “walk quietly and carry a big stick”. I felt like an ewok next to him. A gentle and kind giant of a man he is. Hopefully we will see him again in the future here in Orlando.
#2 – Vanessa Marshall
The voice of Hera brought her fangirl flail to Orlando last year and what an incredible impact she made on fans during the two weeks she was here. Just before Star Wars Weekends, she had recorded a Rebels Reaction episode with Dan and Cory who had given her the heads up I was going to be in Orlando covering SWW for them. So when she saw my Coffee With Kenobi t-shirt she knew who I was before a word could be said. She came out from behind the podium, gave me a great big hug and we chatted like we had known each other forever. The first of the Rebels' cast I had met, Vanessa exuded her fandom with each word spoken. Her excitement for Rebels is contagious! Truly a joy to meet and I can't wait until our paths cross again. You can hear the interview Dan and Cory did with Vanessa here.
#1 – James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein
My #1 has to be these two who co-hosted Star Wars Weekends in 2012, the first year I went. It was because of my encounters with these two I was able to reawaken my fandom to new levels. In that first meeting, I didn't know who they were but they took time to not only let me know who they were but fill me in on The Clone Wars, since up to that point, I had never seen an episode. I met them both again in 2013 and was able to share in our brief meeting how they helped awaken my fandom again. I did meet James again in 2014 in a chance encounter outside the Premiere Theater. This random, unscheduled meeting was a complete shock and all thanks to my Coffee With Kenobi t-shirt. He recognized the shirt when he walked by and stopped and chatted for a bit. He then snapped some pictures and had to run. An incredible visit for me.
So here are the plans my friends. Next month I'm writing about the Top 5 things to do during Star Wars Weekends so you can begin to make your plans accordingly. Then in April, which will be my last blog before Star Wars Weekends begins, I'll let you in on my plans for the best 5 weekends of the year in Orlando. If you need help making your plans, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter. Also, if you have some favorite celebrity encounters from Star Wars Weekends or any other convention, post them in the comments below. I would love to hear about your experiences as well.
So until next month…may the Force be with you, and remember…
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