Personally, I’m not a big Star Wars buff. But, I figured, how fun would it be to watch my kids train as young Padawans? If stage fright didn’t rear its head, I knew my son, Andy, would love to don the robe and swing the saber. I could just picture his little Jedi instincts kicking in as Darth Vader attempts to coax the kids over to the Dark Side. It was this vision that kept us in a 40-minute line to sign up for the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Our patience paid off with the last slot at one of the last performances of the day. It’s not easy to get a spot – only 16 kids per show were being accepted to fill out 15 separate shows the day we toured. By 10am (one hour after park opening), all slots had been filled. It was a blast to return later that evening to watch Andy and his class learn the combat moves with their Jedi Master – moves that (spoiler!) came in handy when Darth showed up with his offer to complete their training on the Dark Side! Each prospective Padawan got his or her own opportunity to face Vader before he admitted temporary defeat – “Until we meet again.”
Training Academy wrapped with a graduation ceremony, complete with certificates and photo ops. Our newly-minted Padawan immediately picked out a Mickey saber to commemorate the experience and spent the remainder of the trip getting in touch with his Jedi side.
Location: There are Jedi Training Academy opportunities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort, and Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort.
Touring tips: If your child (ages 4-12) is interested in Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, make it a priority to arrive at the ABC Sound Studio immediately after the park opens. The children must be present to sign up and you must be able to commit about an hour to the performance, including arriving half an hour prior to the show. At Disneyland Park, the kids are randomly selected from the audience to participate. Your best bet to get chosen is to attract as much (positive) attention as possible!