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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jedi Training Academy 2011 at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Jedi Training Academy beckoned during our last visit to Walt Disney World, and specifically, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  We skipped Jedi Training Academy when we were at the World in November 2010. . . well, Star Tours was closed!  So, in July, not only did the boy and the husband ride the new Star Tours multiple times, the boy also took on Darth Vader in the Jedi Training Academy.

Jedi Training Academy is an audience participation opportunity for youngsters (under 12) to don brown robes and a training lightsaber.  The practice, also the show, then includes an opportunity to take on Darth Vader.  Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Jedi Training Academy has certain performance times.  The times when we were there in July were as follows: 

9:15, 10:00, 10:50 & 11:45am, 12:40, 1:30, 2:20, 4:00, 4:45, 5:45, 6:40, 7:35 & 8:30pm

You can find the times for performances in the Times Guide that you pick up with your park map or through various web-sites or mobile apps.  Walt Disney World LiveEntertainment web-site is a good one—click here.

If your youngster wants to be in the performance, head over to the former location of Sounds Dangerous where you will see the sign to register for Jedi Training Academy.  Have your child with you when you do this.  You will be given a ticket for a spot in a show, your child will be asked a few questions like if they are able to follow directions—hence the need to have the child present—and told to return to that location 30 minutes prior to the performance in which they have a ticket/reservation.  For example, if your child has a ticket for the 10:50 am performance, you would need to arrive by 10:20 am to the former Sounds Dangerous location which is no Jedi Training Academy registration and check-in.

After the group arrives, you will go to the Jedi Training Academy performance stage which is located next to the Star Tours attraction entrance.  This is where the children will receive their brown robes.  They will receive their training lightsabers when they go on stage.

The number of children in Jedi Training Academy for each performance is limited, but don’t be afraid to ask to be put on a “wait list” and given a number for the wait list.  We did and it worked like a charm.  Here’s what happened:

We arrived at Hollywood Studios on a Sunday afternoon just before 3:00 pm.  We found a spot to watch the Pixar Countdown to Fun Parade which begins at 3:00.  When it was over, we headed to Jedi Training Academy—the actual stage, as we didn’t know the registration location had moved, and then backtracked to the registration location.

Since we had a 4:20 dinner ADR at Mama Melrose for the 9:00 Fantasmic performance, I asked for a spot in the 6:40 pm or 7:35 pm performance.  I was told they were both full, but there was a spot at 4:00.  No, that won’t work due to our ADR at 4:20 and the 8:35 performance wouldn’t work due to the 9:00 pm Fantasmic.  (See how important it is to know times before arriving!)

We agreed to a wait list number, which I want to say was number 8) for either of the two requested shows.

Off we went with our wait list number, confident that all would work out.  If no Jedi Training Academy today, well we had 2 more opportunities at Hollywood Studios to try again.  We met Phineas and Ferb—click here to read more, and went to dinner.

When we finished dinner, we returned to the Jedi Training Academy check-in.  It was about 6:00 pm.  The boy was the first “wait list” child to check in.  We were told to wait on a certain side of the room.  More children came in, some with tickets for the show, others with wait list numbers.  Soon, the waiting ended.  The boy was IN!  He had the lowest “wait list” number and was in the show, as others who had tickets for the show had not checked in.  Two other “wait list” children made it, too.  The others had to try again later.

Our spur of the moment decision to agree to a “wait list” as well as our patience and perseverance had paid off.  The boy got to be in Jedi Training Academy.

Parents are welcome to watch the show and cameras were plentiful.  We took video and pre-show photos.  I let Photopass do the rest of the work for me.

A Photopass photographer is on hand and will give each parent a slip to give to the Photopass store at the front of the park indicating which Jedi Training Academy performance the child was in.  The guests simply look through all the photos of that particular Jedi Training Academy performance and pick the ones of their child to either add to their Photopass Account or purchase.  We added all the photos to our Photopass Account.  We had pre-purchased the CD, so all of those photos would be added to the Photopass CD.  Voila!  

The participation process for Jedi Training Academy has improved over the year.  We remember being in the crowd in front of the stage, hoping to get picked.  And, yes, the boy was picked several times when this was the process.  Then, it was line-up at the stage area and then so many kids were in the first show, the next so many in the second show, etc.  This meant potentially standing in that line through several shows until it was your turn.  Then, it was go to the line and get a ticket for the show you would be in, which has now morphed into a completely separate registration/check-in area that includes a more organized process that is covered and air conditioned!  

Now, since Jedi Training Academy is for the young set, we found out something we could do for, shall we say, more mature Star Wars fans.  And, that is a Photopass magic photo with Darth Vader digitally imposed in the photo later.  Guests can ask the Photopass photographer at Jedi Training Academy after the show for this magic shot and are given a lightsaber to hold for the photo.

The husband loved this Photopass magic photo, as he has always wanted to be in Jedi Training Academy!

Jedi Training Academy is an example of how Hollywood Studios really does allow guests to “be in the movies” during their visit to the park.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like so much fun! I can't wait to be there!