Legoland California will be the first Legoland theme park to launch a Star Wars Miniland area. The Star Wars Miniland, which will have models of favorite Star Wars scenes constructed entirely of Legos, is set to open March 31.
Eight famous Star Wars scenes will be built in a 1:20 scale. The project will take more than 1.5 million Legos and, we’re guessing, a dash of The Force.
The scenes will encompass the stories told in all six Star Wars movies and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated TV series and be arranged chronologically. The models will be up to 6 feet tall, and some of them will be built to move or perform other actions when theme park visitors press buttons at the exhibit.
Legoland California also promises life-size models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader for family photo ops.
Two more Legoland parks – Legoland Deutschland in Gunzburg, Germany, and Legoland Billund in Billund, Denmark – will introduce Star Wars Minilands later this year.
Here’s a new low in the annals of crime. An American man has been arrested in England for stealing 299 stuffed birds from the Natural History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire, England.
The unnamed 22 year-old has been arrested in connection with a break in at the museum back in June. The birds that were stolen were all rare and would have fetched a fair amount on the black market, showing that the unnamed suspect knew what he was doing. Most of the stuffed birds have now been recovered.
The Natural History Museum at Tring is famous for its collection of more than 750,000 preserved birds, 95% of all the world’s species. If you’re not in the neighborhood, you can still check out their species of the day, a feature running throughout 2010 in celebration of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. Today’s species is the Welwitschia mirabilis, a plant that can live for up to 1,500 years despite living in the harsh Namib Desert.
Guests came face to face with pure evil at LEGOLAND California. Flanked by his 501st Legion of Storm Troopers, Darth Vader descended upon the park for LEGO STAR WARS Days. The two-day event, which ends today, consists of a number of geek-friendly activities (appealing to a guy like me) including a Droid Hunt, video game battles, building, trivia competitions and a costume contest.
One of the most popular LEGO STAR WARS™ Days events is the Droid Hunt. Guests of all ages receive collectible “droid badges” if they are among the first in line at The Beginning of the Park. When guests wearing the collectible droid badges are “caught” within the Park by members of the 501st Legion, they must respond to the question “How long have you had these droids?” to receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win fantastic LEGO STAR WARS™ and LEGOLAND California merchandise.
Showing up in costume comes with the potential to win, with prizes valued at more than $500. Packages include LEGO STAR WARS toys, collectibles and tickets to LEGOLAND California Resort.
This annual festival attracts Star Wars fans of all ages to Walt Disney World. There are meet-and-greets with a number of Star Wars characters, including Darth Vader, C-3PO, Luke, Leia and Jedi Mickey, who will sign autographs and pose for photos. Stars of the movies and TV series in the Star Wars franchise appear each weekend for “star conversations” and autograph sessions. This year’s guests include Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) May 21-23 and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) June 4-6.
There’s also a Hollywood-style motorcade of Star Wars characters and celebrity guests each afternoon, complete with contingents of marching Stormtroopers. And don’t miss the Hyperspace Hoopla, which often degenerates into a Star Wars character dance-off.
Star Wars Weekends are free with regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A one-day ticket will run you $79.
It’s the first Southeast U.S. showing for this traveling exhibit, which uses the futuristic robots and vehicles in the Star Wars movies to teach real-world science and engineering.
Visitors can meet C-3PO and R2-D2 and learn about how humans interact with robots in Star Wars. Then they can design their own robot in the Robot Engineering Lab. Or view a Star Wars landspeeder and actual vehicles and prototypes being designed today for space travel. In total, more than 80 original costumes and props from the six Star Wars movies are part of the exhibition.
More than 100,000 people are expected to visit the exhibit in Huntsville, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center says it will likely be sold out during peak times. Officials there suggest you buy your Star Wars exhibition tickets in advance. Day tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for kids, evening (off-peak) tickets are discounted to $20 for adults and $15 for kids.
And if you have Star Wars fans ages 7 through 12, be sure to check out the Jedi Experience overnight camps being offered at Huntsville’s Space Camp facility.
Star Wars Celebration V
Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida
This Star Wars fan convention is sanctioned by and this year, produced by, Lucasfilm. It includes parties, autograph signings, costume events, collectible sales, panel discussions and all manner of Star Wars geekdom.
Jay Laga’aia (Capt. Typho in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) is the celebrity host for the event. Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) is the headliner.
A four-day ticket to the Star Wars Celebration will run you $128, kids get in for $54.
Disney Parks is overhauling the Star Wars-themed Star Tours rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World later this year, and now Star Wars fans know when they can get that last ride on the original.
Star Tours will close at Disneyland on July 27 and at Walt Disney World on Sept. 8.
The original Star Tours ride puts riders in the passenger seat of a StarSpeeder 3000 spacecraft, under the pilot of a droid named Rex. The ship is supposed to be headed to the Moon of Endor, but a few wrong turns lead it into the middle of a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Death Star.
It’s a motion simulator ride that was on the cutting edge when it launched about 20 years ago. But now, it’s a 20-year-old ride in need of an overhaul — that’s a “re-imagining” in Disney-speak.
The “new” Star Tours will be a 3-D affair, with riders joining in a high-speed pod race on Tatooine. It is expected to re-open at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in May 2011.
Walt Disney World and the fan convention Star Wars Celebration V are holding a “Last Tour to Endor” party on Aug. 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A special event ticket is required; a regular park ticket won’t get you in. The party will include Star Wars shows, a “Death Star Disco” and Star Wars-themed fireworks.