When the blog post about the long-rumored Walt Disney World Build-a-Droid promotion came out on Thursday, May 10, 2012, announcing the start of the program, I knew the completist in me needed to take action as soon as possible.
And by soon, I mean immediately...
So by Saturday, May 12th, I was on a plane to Orlando, checking into the Disney Swan, and taking the Disney Water Taxi to the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park.
I arrived mid-day and while the park was bustling there really weren't too many people inside Tatooine Traders, so I was quickly able to find the droid building station.
The building station was set up with two spots for guests to build droids. Each position featured 3 trays of each droid part (dome, trunk, left leg, right leg, middle leg, and hat). Above the trays were "sample" droids that had been built by the staff to give "ideas" for any potential droid builders who may be looking for some inspiration.
To get to the building stations, there was a small rope line to control the flow of traffic. In addition, there were two attendants there offering to help anyone who was looking to build a droid and to maintain the flow of people through the experience.
Since I was looking to build as many unique droids as I could all while making sure I ended up with at least one of each unique droid part, I was upfront with the team member who greeted me. She politely told me that she was going to get a manager to speak with me.
When the manager came over she was very polite and was very willing to have her staff accommodate me. While I was definitely upset at the fact that it became quickly obvious that none of the R6, R8 or R9 domes were in stock, keeping a polite and cordial demeanor with the staff was important to me.
So that my multi-hour droid building session didn't tie up the flow of others building droids, they ask me to set up shop off to the right of the table. I could easily access the part bins at the right-side station, and wonderfully, every few minutes or so when traffic would let up from the regular influx of Star Tours riders, the team member from the other side of the table would ask me if I needed any parts and find them for me.
In addition to the lack of new EU droid domes, the R3 dome with red markings had not yet arrived, and they had sold out of right black w/silver highlights right legs.
It seems that the parts come to the store in a single box per shipment, and that box contains bags sorted by part type (i.e. a bag of domes, a bag of right legs, etc...).
Unfortunately they told me they received double the number of left legs than they did right ones. And thus while there were plenty of black w/silver left legs to be had, there were no right ones.
So I got to building my droids and the droids fellow collectors had asked me to try to make for them.
The whole process took me about 2hours to assemble 47 droids. Once you assemble your droids, you grab either a single droid or a double droid clamshell to package your own figures.
They have a sticker sheet that you get with each pruchase that will allow you to "name" your creations and put that name in the packaging. To save time, I just asked them to give me as many sheets as sets I purchased.
Once I had all of my sets built I packed them up as 2-packs to save a few bucks (single packs are $12 and two packs are $19). The packaging is a simple clamshell that allows you to remove your droid anytime you want.
It was a pretty fun experience, but in order to help it move as efficiently as possible, I highly recommend you review the list posted by Dan Curto back when this rumor first broke, and already have an idea what droids you want to build.
The blog post about the promotion said there were to be 71 parts total, but that right now the Yoda Hat, Goofy Hat, Fedora and Pirate Hats were not yet available (which is indeed the case as they only have the mouse ears in black, blue, green & red right now). They are also missing 10 domes from that list (I mentioned those above) so that means there are a total of 58 parts right now. (As long as they don't sell out of any pieces)
For anyone flying into Orlando and coming to the Disney Studios with the intent of doing this, I highly recommend you stay at the Swan or Dolphin Disney Resort hotels. By the free water-taxi service, those hotels are only 8minutes from the Disney Studios theme park. That made it extremely convenient to bring my built droids back to my hotel and quickly return to the park to enjoy the other attractions.
Lastly, since they get the new shipments of parts in the morning, I highly recommend making a bee-line for Tatooine Traders when the park opens.
As of the time of me writing this, I am returning to the park first thing in the morning, with hopes that they at least get more right legs in, and that the black w/silver highlights right leg is among the parts received. That will allow me to build a few more droids from my list. And of course, since the missing domes are definitely not going to be there, I'm already thinking about how I can get back here sometime mid-fall with the hopes that those domes are finally available.
** JediDefender would like to thank Pete for the great review!