I can distill my Celebration V experience down to one day - Saturday. This will go down in history as one of the best (and luckiest) days of my life.
I woke up early with a single goal in mind - obtain the Gentle Giant 12" Boba Fett! Having seen it in the hands of Kyle Newman I knew I had to get one, but I had been denied when GG had turned away anyone with an exhibitor's badge - today I was going to try again. I arrived at the OCCC around 8 and made my way back to Official Pix booth to say hi. There I ran into someone (who shall remain nameless) and told them why I was there so early and my plan of attack. They understood my predicament with the exhibitor badge, and handed me something that would make my goal a lot easier - a Lando Calrissian VIP badge! Armed with this holy grail of credentials, I returned to the Gentle Giant booth to wait until 9:30 when the Jedi Knight and Jedi Master VIPs were allowed in and vendors were allowed to start selling. A lot of other people (exhibitors) were already waiting and at 9:30 a huge line formed immediately - not a good sign. I was quite far back despite my early arrival, and it didn't look promising. Then the Gentle Giant employees made the announcement - no sales to exhibitors today! VIPs were ushered to the front past the crowd of exhibitors, and I was suddenly first in line. One swift credit card transaction later, and I had achieved my goal for the day - Boba Fett was mine!
I returned to the Rebelscum/TheForce.net/ForceCast booth thinking that the rest of the day would be spent dealing with the technical issues of very sketchy WiFi coverage and attend a few panels. I really didn't have any set plans except for seeing the Robot Chicken panel. That was about to change...
Saturday was the day of The Main Event - George Lucas and Jon Stewart. I was lucky enough to have seen George on Friday morning when he made a brief tour of the convention before it opened. I knew the Main Event was the biggest thing happening at Celebration V, and I knew people had been in line since Friday to get in. Only 2600 people would see the event live and I wasn't even going to try.
The next hour or so is a hazy memory for me. I remember talking to Eric Geller and remember following him out to the concourse. The next thing I remember is having a yellow Celebration V wristband in my hand, and running to get in line for the Main Event! We were way at the back of the line for the Chapin Theater - the LIVE event but it didn't matter. Somehow, we were going to get to see this event and it didn't matter where we sat.
While in line Eric was texting with Mandy from TheForce.net. She had also obtained a wristband for the Main Event but by a stroke of luck (you see the recurring theme here?) she had somehow been allowed access to the theater early by following the Clone Wars cast/crew in! She was saving us seats near the front, far better than we would have based on our position in line. The problem was getting to them. Security for this event was very tight - everyone had to have a wristband of the right color and people were being herded very efficiently to the open spots. We were escorted up the stairs to the balcony, with no way to access the lower level where Mandy was waiting. I was resigned to our upper-deck fate, but Eric was not giving up yet. He found an event usher and told them we had seats reserved in the bottom level. The usher couldn't do anything, but found another usher, who found a security guard and we were briskly escorted down to the lower level where we found Mandy sprawled across 3 seats, protecting them as if her life depended on it. It took me a minute to get my bearings - We were at the Main Event, we were 7 rows from the front, and I was in the aisle seat so had one of the best views in the house. What a day this was turning out to be - but it's not over yet.
Others have already covered the actual event so I won't except to say that it was amazing. Jon Stewart, George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher - and of course the missing scene from Return of the Jedi. Who could forget that?
Back at the booth after the event, things were crazy. The ForceCast was doing their live show of the event with some excellent special guests (Steve Sansweet, Dave Filoni) and as usual the show was a big success. Hats off to Jason and Jimmy, they really do put on a great show week after week and the live shows are even better.
I killed some time around the booth trying to get a solid enough WiFi signal to get some content up about the day's events so far, then headed off to the Robot Chicken panel with Eric and Mike Barrick. After the panel I was planning on going back to the hotel to rest up for the Disney Last Tour to Endor that evening, but was talked into going to another panel with The Clone Wars voice actors cast with Eric and Jason from the ForceCast. Again we were fairly close to the front and I ended up sitting next to Kyle Newman (a good friend of RS/TFN/FC) whose wife Jaime King was on stage for the event.
After the Clone Wars panel we hung around with Kyle and Jaime while she talked with fans, another cool experience. Then we went back to the hotel to change and I caught the bus to Disney with Jimmy, Jason, and forum regular Cramer.
We arrived at Disney late - the event started at 8 and we arrived around 9 and decided we wanted to see the Indiana Jones/Star Wars mashup stunt show. I've seen the Indy show many times but Jason and Jimmy hadn't seen it before. The line was huge but again luck was on our side - someone in the line was a ForceCast fan and recognized Jason and Jimmy, so we slid into line with him. I don't even know his name, but thanks dude! The show arena was packed to the rafters but we got seats just in time to see Anthony Daniels being escorted to his assigned seat in the reserved seating area. Thinking it was cool that one of the stars was attending; suddenly the crowd erupted as none other than George Lucas walked in and took his seat! This show was playing 4 times that evening...and yet here was George attending the same showing as us!
The mashup itself was great, with Seth Green, Anthony Daniels and Jaime King all being called upon as "volunteers" to be in the show.
After the show we went straight for our last ride on Star Tours - with most people either watching the Indy show or waiting for the fireworks, the line was non-existent and we had no wait at all. The ride was as good as always; even Jason enjoyed himself despite hating flying and simulators of any kind.
Disney always put on a good fireworks show and tonight was no exception - an excellent display with a Star Wars soundtrack accompanying.
The perfect end to one of the luckiest days of my life.