As many of you know, my husband and I took our daughter to Walt Disney World® for her birthday last summer. Since she’s an only child, my husband and I are guilty of spoiling her every now and again, whether we actually want to or not, best intentions and all that. So, one afternoon, we’re walking by Star Tours®, and the Jedi Training Academy show is going on and we about died laughing because of the jokes in the script for the Jedi Master. While we were standing there, we asked our daughter if she wanted to give it a try the next day since we were coming back to Hollywood Studios® the next morning and, of course, she said yes.
So, the next morning, as soon as the rope dropped, Annabelle and I took off for the sign up area. To sign up for Jedi Training, you need to go to the left toward the American Idol stage. There is a small outdoor gift shop after you pass the American Idol exit, and there will be a sign advertising the sign ups. There is a door next to the small shop that looks like you probably shouldn’t be allowed in, but this is where you need to go if you want the kid in your life to be a part of the show, as long as they are between the ages of 4 and 12.
When you go inside, they will ask your child questions – name, age, etc., and then they’ll ask the child if they can follow directions. Surprisingly, they let me daughter participate in the show even though she said no. Even though we went straight there from rope drop, she made it into the 11:50 a.m. show because the earlier shows were full.
They ask that you and your child arrive back at the sign up thirty minutes before show time to check in, get their Jedi robes, and make sure they’re ready to go up on stage. About ten minutes before show time, you will walk over to the stage. The kids will go line up on one side of the stage, and the family members get to stand down in front of the stage. There is a gold line on the ground that marks where the Photopass photographer will be rolling around on a wheelie chair to take photos throughout the show. The families get to stand right behind the line to get the best view of the show.
When the show starts, the Jedi Master will come out and talk about the training and then the kids will come out. The kids are supposed to stand on the yellow circles on the stage. This is when the comedy begins because it is actually amazing how hard it is for the kids to all find their own yellow circle and stand on it. From there, they pass out the lightsabers. I’m sure you can imagine the hilarity that ensues from there.
The show itself runs for about thirty minutes and the training portion is to teach the kids the moves they’ll use to fight Darth Vader in the end. My husband actually memorized the choreography the day before, so he and my daughter practiced with umbrellas the night before. So, when it came time to fight Darth Vader, my daughter was ready, and she had a great time even though she had some trouble activating the lightsaber. They have a little catch and you have to press a button to get the “blade” to come out. A safety feature, I’m sure, but not friendly to little fingers. In fact, many of the kids do have trouble with it when it comes time to fight, so the Master will tell them to use his “lucky” lightsaber, and give them the one he has so the show will roll on.
Once all of the kids have had a chance to fight, there’s a little thing at the end where they use the force to send Darth Vader away for good. After that, they all get their certificate declaring them Jedi and they give back their lightsabers and robes. Once they’ve given back their Jedi gear, they are free to go find their families and the show ends. The Photopass photographer will give everyone a photopass card, and that’s actually the only part I didn’t really like, but only because I had to go home and sort through all of those photos and find the ones that were of my child. The whole experience was worth that minor inconvenience because six months later my daughter will still tell anyone who will listen that she beat Darth Vader in a fight.