If you are planning a Disney vacation with a Star Wars– loving child between the ages of 4 and 12, chances are Jedi Training is pretty high on the agenda. The Jedi Training Academy is certainly the stuff of legend for two reasons: First, where else in the world can your little ones, get dressed up like Obi-Wan and go lightsaber to lightsaber with some of Disney’s biggest baddies? Second, those planning on signing-up their little ones for Jedi Training have no doubt been regaled with stories about the frantic dash, marathon like speed and sheer determination that is required to get one of the coveted Trials of the Temple slots.
I would love to say that there is no substance to these rumors but here’s My Confession: I don’t fancy myself a runner, I won’t even do a Black Friday mad-dash but I have photos documenting The Force that overcame me as I rushed through the crowds to try to secure a spot for my 5-year-old daughter. It wasn’t pretty. However, I’ve learned a thing or two since those early Jedi Training days that will hopefully make your attempts smooth, seamless and stress free. But first let’s go over the basics.
What is Jedi Training Academy? – This 20-minute Hollywood Studios stage show takes place in 15 separate performances throughout the day at an outdoor stage located next to the Star Tours attraction. During these shows, pre-selected children are given the opportunity to don their robes, grab their lightsabers and square off with their favorite characters from the Dark Side including Seventh Sister Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels and Darth Vader.
Here’s a quick video to give you sense of what’s in store for your young Padawan:
Spaces for participants are limited so those wanting to sign up are required to do so as soon as Hollywood Studios opens by reporting to the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost nestled between 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. Once there, they will be interviewed to make sure they are up to the task and given a time and a voucher telling them what performance they will be participating in and when to return.
So now that we know how the system works , let’s talk about ways that you can improve the chances of your little Padawan getting a slot with our 8 Tips to Becoming a Jedi.
1. Plan Ahead with an ADR . If the thought of standing in line at Hollywood Studios 60 minutes beforehand, fighting the swelling crowds and trying to push yourself to the front of the turnstile to put you in prime leader-of-the-pack position doesn’t sound great, then why not try a more civilized approach. If you are travelling with kids that would appreciate an early morning breakfast with Disney characters, then opt to nab yourself a coveted 8 am dining reservation at Hollywood and Vine. You’ll be able to enter the park a full hour before it opens to the general public, have an amazing buffet breakfast with Disney Junior friends and when you finish at 8:50, you’ll still be in a not-opened-yet park and just a short walk away from Jedi sign-ups. It’s a surefire way to get there before the majority of the crowds. Even an 8;30 reservation would work, and if you’re not finished with your breakfast then 1/2 of your party could sign up and the other 1/2 can make sure your breakfast is still waiting for you when you get back!
2. Arrive at Hollywood Studios at least 60 minutes before it opens. For those opting not to dine on-site, then try to get to the park around 60 minutes early if your are going to be signing up to Jedi Training. Try to get as close to the front turnstiles as possible and sadly you may have to fend off pushy late arrivals who are taking their chances by trying to finagle their way past. While you’re waiting grab a park map, familiarize yourself with the route and be prepared to get their quickly.
3. Make sure you have the kids with you. When I say get their quickly I don’t mean leave the kids with mom while dad sprints toward the Indiana Jones Outpost. Disney will not allow you to enter the line unless you have your children with you. Parents are not allowed to hold these spots. You enter the line when the kids join you, not before.
4. No diversions. Don’t even think about trying to squeeze in a ride on Toy Story Midway Mania before heading to the Adventure Outpost to sign-up. You’ll find the lines pretty much filled up by the time you get there.
5. Bring comfortable shoes. Though Hollywood Studios is one of the smaller parks, it is still a bit of a trek from Main Gate to the Adventure Outpost. I wouldn’t be making this jaunt in flip-flops or strappy sandals.
6. Prep your kids. One of the criteria in order to be included in Jedi Training is that your child is able to follow simple instructions and won’t be overcome with nerves. You know your child, if you they can be on the shy side then talk to them before hand, let them know what’s going to happen on the day and get them pepped-up for the experience. Each time we’ve done this, I’ve seen kids turned away because they found the whole experience a bit too overwhelming.
7. Be prepared to pick a time. Once you’ve made the cut and you’re in line to sign up, things speed up really quickly and when you get to the registration desk, you’ll be asked to select a time for the performance you’d like your child to be in. If you’re early enough in line, you can pick from a wide range of options. However, this isn’t the time to fumble with touring plans, try to pull up the My Disney Experience App to see when your reservations are or be looking for Fastpass conflicts. If you know that you are going to try to sign-up for Jedi, plan this all out the night before and come prepared with a list of 3 or 4 times that might work for you. The performance schedule usually looks like this:
8. Pay attention to Extra Magic Hours – Imagine the disappointment of arriving at Hollywood Studios an hour before opening time only to find that its Extra Magic Hours, the park is already open and sign-ups for Jedi have already come and gone. Jedi sign-ups will always start as soon as the park opens so make sure you research park hours before you plot out what day you’ll be doing Jedi Training.
Hopefully these tips will help your little Jedi secure themselves a spot at Trials of the Temple. May the Force be with you!
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