If you’re visiting Walt Disney World with Star Wars fans between the ages of 4 and 12, the Jedi Training Academy is a must-do experience that you won’t want to miss. At Hollywood Studios, young padawans can sign up for a chance to train like a Jedi, meet the Seventh Sister Inquisitor (from Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels), and go light saber to light saber with none other than Darth Vader himself.
During our last two trips, we have watched the “show” put on for family members and passersby. I mistakenly failed to realize until it was too late last time that my children were old enough to participate. This is a very popular experience and you must sign up as soon as the park opens, or earlier when possible (cast members have been known to allow sign ups prior to park opening while walking around outside of the gates where guests are waiting). If your young Star Wars fan would like to experience this unique opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite Star Wars characters, you’ll want to be prepared with knowledge and follow a few tips.
Arrive early! The slots for this popular attraction fill up and FAST. Usually all the slots for the entire day are gone within 1 hour of park opening. When the park opens, you’ll want to make a beeline to the sign up location (Indiana Jones outpost located between the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and 50s Primetime Cafe). All participating guests need to be present when you register (this can not be done prior to the day of) and will be asked a few questions to ensure that they are able to follow directions. Children likely will be asked how old they are, so while you’re on the honor system, it’s best not to sneak in a 3 or 13 year old.
Shows last 15-20 minutes and run every 30-60 minutes throughout the day. A schedule will be available and you will be given a time when you register. It is important to show up about 30 minutes before your child’s showtime so that they can be fitted for a robe and prepare for their role in the show. Your child will remain in your sight at all times. While your child is preparing prior to the show, send other members in your party to the viewing area to secure a space for watching your child defeat Darth Vader. Feel free to snap as many pictures as you’d like or let the Disney photographers work their magic while you stay in the moment with your little ones.
The key thing to take away is remembering that this is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If this is important to you or your child, it is imperative to arrive early (even up to 45 minutes prior to park opening) and go straight to the designated registration area as soon as possible, with your child. It’s an experience they will never forget!
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.