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Star Wars Celebration Anaheim Preview (Live Stream, Parking, Panels, Fan Meetups, Exclusives, Exhibits)

In a few hours, Star Wars Celebration will be open for four days of fun! Fans have already started queuing for tomorrow’s big The Force Awakens kickoff panel, and the Celebration store is open this evening for a sort of preview night sale:

This is the first Celebration in the US since 2012 (CVI, in Orlando); the last Celebration at all was Celebration Europe II in 2013. While this is technically Celebration VII, in accordance with the regular numbering system, it’s only being officially referred to as Celebration Anaheim (official hashtag #SWCA).

Tickets went on sale almost two years ago, but 4-day adult badges just sold out this week. Prices that are slightly steeper than many other cons (even other ReedPOP cons) may have slowed sales, particularly for families. For comparison, a 4-day adult ticket to Celebration is $140; a 3-day adult ticket to next weekend’s C2E2, also a ReedPOP event, is a mere $60. While 4-day adult tickets are gone, 4-day child badges and single-day adult & child badges are still available.

Let’s take a look at what’s ahead this weekend!

Live Stream

In a bold move, Star Wars Celebration is partnering with Verizon Wireless to live stream 30 hours of programming from Anaheim this weekend! They have confirmed that the stream will be free, available to anyone in a country where YouTube is available, and – even cooler- that the streams will include the exclusive footage shown in the panels. Even in Thursday’s The Force Awakens panel!

The link will be shared Thursday morning on StarWars.com. While we know we’ll  be seeing The Force Awakens on the live stream, Slashfilm has speculated on what the remaining hours of streaming will cover.

Lest you fear this will cheapen your experience attending in person, well, Lucasfilm doesn’t think that will be a problem:

Traffic & Parking

Refer to our traffic map for WonderCon Anaheim, since both shows are being hosted by the Anaheim Convention Center.

Planning to camp out overnight for the Thursday morning kickoff panel featuring J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the rumored release of the new trailer for The Force Awakens? 24-hour parking will be available for $24 at the Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim Marriott, and Anaheim Gardenwalk.

Parking at the convention center is $15. When event parking prices are in place at Anaheim GardenWalk, the cost will be $15 paid upon entrance.

Cheaper parking can be found at Angels Stadium for $10 (cash only); a free shuttle will operate until 1am Thursday night, midnight Friday and Saturday nights, and 6pm Sunday night. Parking in the lots opens at 6am and will close at 1am.

More details on parking and the free stadium shuttle can be found here.

Panels

Of course, the biggest panel of the weekend is expected to be the first one: “Writer/Director/Producer J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy” discussing The Force Awakens on the Celebration Stage (the Arena) and simulcast in five additional rooms (plus the StarWars.com/YouTube livestream). At this hour, fans have already arrived to camp overnight for a seat in the Arena.

Meanwhile, there are several different programming rooms each offering a different type of programming. Star Wars University offers how-tos and advice panels for aspiring creatives; the Collector’s Stage is for, well, discussions on collectibles of all kinds; the Behind-the Scenes Stage covers everything from costumes to props to Star Wars in the Disney Parks; the Fan Stage is home to panels on cosplay and the culture of Star Wars in the real world; the Digital Stage houses bigger events like a discussion with The Clone Wars crew; Room 205A will host Portfolio Reviews all weekend for the aspiring artists in attendance. And of course, the biggest panels of the weekend will be on the Celebration Stage, in the Arena.

All weekend, the Family Room hosts some wonderful panels for all-ages (having visited the Family Room at another ReedPOP show, New York Comic Con, we’ll confirm that while it is mostly parents and young kids, there are a fair number of young-at-heart adults for these events, too): origami lessons, Ewok decorating, lightsaber training, costume parades – it’s a packed weekend for family events!

Remember that panel rooms will be cleared between programs, as is the case at most ReedPOP shows.

A peek at the Celebration Stage, via James Arnold Taylor (@JATActor)

A peek at the Celebration Stage, via James Arnold Taylor (@JATActor)

Some of our top picks for the weekend:

Exhibits

One of the coolest features of Star Wars Celebration are the exhibits – great props, sets, and other fun memorabilia on display.

You’ll find the R2 Builders group with their custom droids on display in 213ABCD; on the show floor, check out the Cantina set put up by StarWars.com; and in 209AB, a surprise The Force Awakens exhibit:

Show Floor & Exclusives

Setup began Tuesday on the show floor:

And it’s moving right along!

If you’re in the mood for a permanent souvenir, check out the on-site tattoo artists. There will be temporary tattoos as well for kids and anyone else who doesn’t quite want to commit to the real thing. 

In the realm of exclusives, StarWars.com has been teasing exclusives for several weeks; in addition, Funko announced a number of different exclusives; and a few official exclusive prints will be available as well.

Lego is offering up some cool exclusives that are sure to be popular, including a Tatooine set. Check out their booth schedule:

One exclusive collectible will be giving back to the Star Wars charity arm, Force for Change: pick up the Hot Wheels RT-K2 Car, which features the pink droid made in honor of the late Katie Johnson, a 7-year-old whose love of Star Wars became famous during her battle with brain cancer.

The R2-KT Car debuting at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim; proceeds benefit Force for Change.

The R2-KT Car debuting at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim; proceeds benefit Force for Change.

Or, do something else to give back to the community: donate blood.

If you’re attending Celebration Anaheim, expect to find me loitering at the DK Publishing booth (#1110) for hours on…

Posted by Ryder Windham on Monday, April 13, 2015

 

Fan Meetups

Fans interested in participating in a one-hour Star Wars focus group while at Celebration can apply here.

Giveaways from fan sites include patches from TheForce.net’s Line Force Fan Club and Jedi News’ collector’s track set; plus buttons from JediBusiness.com.

Saturday is Aaron Allston Tribute Day; fans are asked to wear Hawaiian shirts in honor of the late Star Wars author.

Club Cosplay will host an after party Saturday night at the House of Blues Anaheim, next door to the convention center at Downtown Disney.

Star-Wars-Celebration-Tiny-FanCosplay meetups are currently scheduled as follows. All meetups are in the Grand Plaza (at the fountain in front of the convention center) unless otherwise noted. Participation in the photo is often limited to registered group members, but anyone can come and photograph the meetup.

Much of this list is based on the Group Photos master list compiled by the fine folks on TheForce.net Jedi Council Forums. Refer to their master list for more updates.

Thursday

  • 1:00pm: All Costumers Group Photo (yes, literally all Star Wars costumes are welcome!). Open to all.
  • 2:15pm: Rebel Legion Galactic Senate (queens, senators, princesses, senatorial guards of the Rebel Legion). Rebel Legion members only. Meet at the stairs far left of the entrance.

Friday

  • 7:45am: Red Shirt Squadron. Open to all. More on the Facebook event.
  • 8:00am: Rebel Legion. Rebel Legion members only.
  • 8:30am: Rebel Pilots. Rebel Legion members only.
  • 11:30am: Knights of the Jedi Order. Rebel Legion members only.
  • 1:30pm: Rebel Legion Slave Leias. Rebel Legion members only. Meet at the Jabba statue.
  • 2:00pm: Mandalorian Mercs.
  • 3:00pm: Ahsoka Lives (any Ahsoka-related clothing, props, makeup, or face paint welcome). Open to all. More on the Facebook event.

Saturday

  • 10:00am: Han Solo Cosplay Girls. Open to all. Meet beneath the Han Solo banner at the front entrance. More on the Facebook event.
  • 11:00am: FISD (501st Legion Stormtroopers). 501st members only.
  • 12:00pm: Mandalorian Mash-Ups (Mandalorian armor meets… any other character!). Open to all. Meet at Roxy the Rancor on the show floor. More on Facebook.
  • 1:30pm: Twi’leks. Open to all. More on Facebook.
  • 3:15pm: 501st Legion Group Photo (includes stormtroopers and other Sith). 501st members only.
  • 4:00pm: Slave Leia Group Photo.
  • 6:00pm: Steampunk Star Wars Group Photo. Open to all. More on Facebook.

Sunday

TBD

  • Krayt Clan (Tusken Raiders and Jawas).
  • Wretched Hive (all aliens).

 

Will we be seeing you this weekend at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim? What are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!