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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jedi Training Academy 2012

Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a way for children ages 4-12 to play out their Star Wars fantasies.  The 30 minute show featuring participation of the padawans is held multiple times a day on the stage outside Star Tours.  Check your Times Guide for a listing of times.

The boy has been in Jedi Training Academy since our first or second trip to Walt Disney World.  We have seen the selection of participants go through many renditions from selecting from the audience to lining up and hoping you were in the next show to the way it is done now.  Those interested sign up for a time slot at the former Sounds Dangerous location which is between Indiana Jones and Star Tours.  Look for the signs and head inside.  Have the child or children with you that want to participate—it’s a requirement.

Now, since we arrived at Hollywood Studios at rope drop and the park opened 15 minutes early, I headed to Toy Story Mania to get Fastpasses while the husband and the boy went off the sign-up for Jedi Training Academy.  We had already checked the Times Guide and had an idea of what show would work best in our plan for the day—the 2:20 pm show.  When the husband and boy arrived, the Cast Members were filling up the first shows and when the husband said he wanted the 2:20 pm show, it sort of threw them off.  They hadn’t anticipated someone asking for a later show; they were just filling in time slots.  But after consulting with each other, they decided it was okay and gave the husband a slip of paper with the show time and the number slot assigned for that show, which was #1.  This slip of paper is important as you will need it when you return for the show.  He was told to arrive and check in at the same location 30 minutes prior to the show. . . 1:50 pm.

We knew about the 30 minutes ahead of time check-in requirement, which was another reason for selecting the 2:20 pm show time.  We had a 3:45 ADR at Mama Melrose for our Fantasmic Dining Package and well, the time just worked out better with our plan for the day.

We arrived at the appointed time and checked in with the slip of paper in hand.  We watched as others checked in, but for one reason or another didn’t have the little slip of paper.  For example, one parent headed off to check-in 30 minutes prior, but the other parent had the slip of paper.  Nope, you have to have the child or children, slip of paper, and be there 30 minutes ahead.

Then, we watched those who were on the “wait list” hoping for a chance to participate.  We’ve been in that spot before, but we were confident it would work out—click here to read more.  In this instance, there were tears coming from the children who were waiting and parents who were trying to figure out what they could do to make this dream happen for their child or children.

When all children had gathered with proper paperwork, the group is assembled and goes to the staging area in a line.  Parents are asked to walk along the line to make sure others don’t join in the line.  At this point, the children are all carrying their little slip of paper with them and then the papers are collected once the group of 15 gathers at the stage in exchange for their brown hooded robes.

Parents are now finding spots to photograph the event, but remember to stand behind the line painted on the ground, as that area is reserved for the Photopass photographer who rolls on a chair around the stage to capture photos of children in the Jedi Training Academy.  

Parents are given a special Photopass Card indicating their child was in a training session.  Before leaving the park, be sure to stop at The Darkroom or Cover Story before leaving the park to select and add the pictures taken at Jedi Training Academy to your Photopass account.  You can then edit and add fun borders to the pictures—see below.

The Jedi Training Academy show is fun and revolves around the young padawans being trained to fight the dark side.  Each participant gets to go up against Darth Vader during the show.

The participants are given a certificate of participation at the end, which can be personalized and framed upon returning home.

Another special note is about asking the Photopass photographer at the end of the show about “magic photos” of you and Darth Vader.  We forgot this trip, but have done it before.

The boy seemed less interested in Jedi Training Academy this trip, but was glad he took the time to do it.  And, as you can see in the pictures and videos, he is definitely enjoying himself.

Our best tips are to arrive early, have the child with you when you sign up for the show time you want,  keep track of the little slip of paper given to you as you will need it later, and arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.

Interestingly, questions about this experience are the most often asked when we are waiting at the gates at Hollywood Studios. Maybe it is our matching t-shirts that tip folks off that we have done this a few times or maybe it is the fact that we are traveling with a young boy that may give it away that we know how to do it, but each time, we have been waiting for the park to open, we get asked about Jedi Training Academy.  In fact, the husband had other families follow him to the sign-up location.  He was happy to help.

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