If you saw lightsabers aplenty throughout Anaheim at the end of May you weren’t imagining it: Star Wars Celebration was back, bringing fans of the stories from a galaxy far, far away back together again. Because the celebration took place at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland Resort, the presence of cast members throughout the weekend was just as strong as the Force itself.
“I just feel so much love and positive energy here, being both a Star Wars fan and a cast member,” said Joe Palmer, a main gate receptionist at the Disneyland Resort, who was dressed as Finn from the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
I myself am a huge fan of Star Wars, and was excited for the opportunity to meet fellow cast members who use their skills creating magic for guests to showcase a personal passion for Star Wars. David Annetta, an electrician at the resort, even built a full-functioning astromech droid!
The Disneyland Resort has a unique connection to Star Wars, as a young George Lucas visited the park during opening week in 1955. It was here that guests first stepped into a Star Wars experience in 1987 with the debut of Star Tours, where I was first introduced to the films as a child!
“I was born and raised on Star Wars,” said Christopher Sean McCormick, an attractions host at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. He chose to work at the Disneyland Resort to immerse guests in their own Star Wars experiences. “To see guests come to the park and experience things the way I did growing up and be a part of that story… it’s really awesome.”
One of the most popular exhibits of the weekend was The Mandalorian Experience, which displayed costumes, props and set pieces used in the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.” The exhibit was staffed by cast known for their love of Star Wars and experience working in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
“Disney has this reputation of great service and we were able to deliver that at the exhibit,” said Dennis Gayoso, an attractions host in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. He noticed guests’ excitement when they saw their Disneyland Resort nametags. “It was incredible – just to hear that praise from them was an honor.”
The connection that many cast members have with Star Wars is a powerful one, and although Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 ended, the Force is with fans. Always!