There’s one day each year when family and friends gather to exchange gifts, share songs, and celebrate around a ceremonial tree. We’re talking, of course, about Life Day—the Star Wars-inspired holiday celebrated on November 17—which served as an unofficial kickoff to the 2020 holiday season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We might be celebrating the winter holidays right now at Walt Disney World, but on November 17 it sure felt more like fall, with blue skies and mild temperatures.
At the park entrance, paper maps with a new cover photo are available, along with a handy guide to all the seasonal treats available around the Studios.
Life Day in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In case you’ve been living under a Bantha-size boulder, Life Day was spawned by the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which debuted on November 17, 1978. The bizarre musical-comedy variety show featured Chewbacca’s family observing the Wookie equivalent of Christmas on their home planet Kashyyk. Earthy celebrations of Life Day (not to be confused with May The Fourth, the other Star Wars holiday) have expanded as the special’s cult status grew.
This year Disney’s Hollywood Studios observed November 17 with exclusive merchandise at Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which had guests lining up around the corner.
At midday, it took almost 30 minutes to enter the market area, which has restricted capacity due to social distancing. While we waited, a friendly inhabitant informed us about some of the local Life Day traditions.
Virtually all of the crowd was waiting for the Toydarian Toymaker’s Stall, where an exclusive Boba Fett doll was available for one day only, with a limit of one per customer.
A similar soft Boba doll was already available, but this Life Day exclusive release featured special colors matching the bounty hunter’s very first appearance in a cartoon segment of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
With no equivalent Mandalorian doll currently available to collect, this new Boba is the next best thing for keeping your Baby Yoda—oops, The Child—company.
Although not exclusive for Life Day, these pin and patch sets are also a recent addition to Black Spire’s inventory.
Like human holidays, Life Day isn’t only about buying things…it’s also about eating things! According to the recent Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, engine-roasted Tip Yip is the traditional Life Day entrée, but I opted for a rack of barbecued Kadu (pork) ribs atop pasta and kale.
As far as the attractions at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge go, the Force was definitely not with me this Life Day.
Boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance were all claimed within a second at both 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., shutting me out each time. (At least I could go back to sleep after the early attempt.)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attracted a 70-minute posted wait in early afternoon, with the queue stretching out into the walkway to Toy Story Land.
2020 Christmas Cavalcade with Santa Claus at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Once you’ve returned to our galaxy, be sure to get a glimpse of Saint Nick in one of his frequent Christmas Cavalcade appearances along Hollywood Boulevard.
This year, Santa Claus is cruising in style aboard a customized convertible sports car (red, of course) accompanied by a phalanx of dancing elves.
Check out Hollywood Studios’ 2020 Christmas Cavalcade from three different angles in this video:
2020 Holiday Decor at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
There aren’t any big additions to the seasonal trimmings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but this park still sports one of our favorite collections of midcentury-style Christmas decor.
No Christmas at DHS is complete without a lap around Echo Lake, where Gertie the Dinosaur still stands sentinel with her Santa cap and ornament snack.
2020 Holiday Meals and Merchandise at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood & Vine at DHS is one of the few theme park restaurants currently hosting holiday character dinners.
Minnie Mouse and friends are appearing here in festive attire for a family-style meal.
Here’s the current menu and pricing for Hollywood & Vine’s Holiday Dine.
Finally, if you want to get some holiday shopping done while visiting the Studios, here’s a sampling of Walt Disney World’s Christmas offerings available in the Mickey’s of Hollywood gift shop near the main entrance.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.