Do you ever kick yourself for not trying something sooner than you did. Well, I am totally kicking myself for not signing my boys up for the Jedi Training Academy during any of our previous trips to Hollywood Studios at Disney. Honest to god, I think it was the highlight of our trip this year.
Wondering what the Jedi Training Academy is? Junior Jedi knights learn to use the Force in a 20-minute training academy “show” as they prepare to meet the Dark Side.
Here’s the description from the Disney website:
“Kids between the ages of 4 and 12, don a brown robe and pledge the Jedi Oath under the tutelage of a Jedi Master. The brilliant Star Wars fanfare stirs your spirit as you learn how to use The Force—and your wit—to wield your light saber. Behold how the Jedi Master hones your battle skills, for you never know when you will have to defend yourself against the Dark Side!”
The Jedi Training Academy offers 15 shows daily with 15 children participants per show. As a result, if your child wants to participate in the show, signing them up for the Jedi Training Academy should be the first thing you do when you get to Hollywood Studios in the morning. I am dead serious – the day we were there, the spots were full in less than an hour (or at least that is what the cast member told me).
Sign-ups take place at the ABC Sound Studio (where Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey used to be). You NEED to have your child with you to sign up! When it was our turn to sign up, the cast member asked each of the boys a few questions such as their age and if they can follow directions. After they answered, the cast member handed us a little piece of paper for each of the boys with their names and the return time for their show. We had to be back at the ABC Sound Studio 30 minutes prior to the show to get their robes, etc, so if your kids are in the show – plan on an hour total.
Here they are after they got their robes:
When it was time for the show to start, a cast member led all the children to an area next to the stage (about 10 minutes beforehand). A PhotoPass photographer takes pictures during the show and you can have the photos of your child specifically added onto your PhotoPass at the photo shop after the show.
FYI – the viewing area at the stage is first come/first serve and does fill up. If possible, have one parent go with the child to the check-in area and the other adult go to the stage area to secure a viewing spot. That’s what we did (I went with the boys and Chris went to save us a spot) and we had a perfect center stage spot to view the show.
Once it was time for the show to start, the kids were all directed onto the stage where a Jedi Master handed each child a light saber and then taught them some moves.
After a few minutes, Darth Vader made a grand entrance onto the stage.
And then, the coolest part of the show. Each child got a chance to use the specific light saber moves on the Sith Lord himself. It was totally awesome.
Once the show was over, all the kids went out to center stage for a group photo.
Then each child was given a diploma certifying that they had indeed learned the ways of the force.
And last, but not least – here they are one more time after the show was over:
Didn’t make it in time to sign up for the show? There is a little hope. Once all guaranteed spots have been filled for the day, cast members will begin to sign up alternates for the show. It does NOT guarantee that your child will make it into the show, but it does give them the possibility of getting in if a child with a guaranteed spot does not show up. Alternates are numbered in the order in which they sign up and will be asked to return 20 minutes prior to any of the shows to see if there is a spot. Three alternates made it into the show that my boys were in.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars, have extra time or are just looking for something really cool to do while you are at Hollywood Studios – DO THIS. Seriously, it was awesome and the boys are already talking about doing it again next year.