Tag Archives: Jedi Training Academy Disneyland

Jedi Training Academy Part 2: Confronting the Dark Side

Be sure to read Part 1: Selection and Training, before proceeding with this post, particularly if you’re looking for tips on how to get chosen for the Jedi Training Academy.

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? Everyone turn on their John Williams albums… (no, seriously, if you’re a Star Wars and/or John Williams fan, you need to watch that video) and settle in. The Dark Side awaits.

We last left our well-trained Padawans gathering by the side of the stage as the Imperial March echoed through the terrace. Then much to everyone’s surprise (not really), the stage, in a slow-motion smoke-filled dramatic manner, rises and our intrepid enemy appears.

I can admit it, the Star Wars geek in me squeals a little every time I see this

The main Jedi Master kind of stands there and tries to have a reasonable conversation with Vader, who must be really hot–but wait, actually the real Darth Vader’s cut little outfit breathed for him so I’m assuming that was air conditioned–surely Disneyland’s version is as well.

Or maybe there’s a reason why you don’t see him around the park signing autographs in July (or any other month, for that matter–what a bummer!)

Vader blows off the Jedi Master to have a little chitchat with our newly-minted trainees.

Whatever, Jedi Master dude, I'm talking to these kids myself.

Now I’m actually going to backtrack a second and insert an earlier picture because I want to talk about something I actually only noticed this time. You can see here that the kids have already been roughly separated into two lines, one across the front of the stage and one up the stairs. Darth Maul will come out in a second (god Shelby, talk about ruining the surprise!) and when the fighting starts, half the group will go on stage to fight Vader and the other half will stay on the ground and fight Maul.

Here’s the previous picture.

They're like little brown-robed sheep!

This is where the Jedi Masters are separating the kids into lines. Prior to this viewing I had thought it was roughly random, but it’s actually really not. All of the bigger kids are lined up to fight Maul, while the little ones go on stage with Vader (I keep wanting to call him Darth, but they’re both Darths. That must get awkward at cocktail parties). Additionally, the less confident kids and the smallest kids are placed at the ends of the lines. Since Anderson was having some trouble with his light saber earlier, he missed some of the training practice. They placed him second-to-last in the Vader line. I thought this was a brilliant move, because it gave him a chance to see the “fight” several times before it was his turn, and I think it really helped him.

And as far as Vader vs. Maul, I have to say that Darth Maul is actually really scary. And I’m saying that as an adult. He is very intimidating and his mask is just effin’ terrifying. He is very menacing on the floor. And while Vader is scary too, to a little kid, he’s more iconic, easily recognized, less like a human, and just less frightening all the way around. I’m positive that’s why they send the older and bigger kids up against Maul and the little ones to Vader.

And speaking of Maul…

Late to the party, as usual. What? You had trouble finding a sitter too? Riiiiiiiiight.

Maul jumps off the stage and terrorizes the audience a bit.

I'll get you, my pretty--and your little dog, too!

Also, Maul’s light saber is double-ended, which makes him simultaneously really scary and completely badass.

Bring it, Jedi

As I said, the kids go up individually to battle their respective Darth. And also as I said, because repeating myself is awesome, Anderson was at the end of his line. The kids sitting down have already finished their battle.

Okay, ONE of us has got to take this guy out

By the time it was Anderson’s turn, he looked a LOT more confident. Here he gets his final pre-battle briefing.

Remember your training, young Padawan, and be sure to tell Mommy she can pick up the souvenir photo at the store on Main Street

Anderson doesn’t even waver as he bravely faces off Vader.

OMG, he's so little and cute!!!

Let the duel commence!

I seriously love everything about this picture

He actually let go of the light saber with one hand and was going at Vader tennis racket-style, so the Jedi Master paused to remind him to use both hands. Rather than taking the opportunity to chop off his hand, Vader obligingly waited until Anderson was in battle shape again.

Both hands, now. Hate to lose one. Bad form.

The battle recommenced, but…


One more tip from the Jedi Master and Anderson is ready for the leg cut

It kind of looks like Vader is golfing here

And the final move–head shot!

Go Anderson! Great job!

And as you have likely noticed, the Jedi Master was right there with his light saber deployed to block any errant saber swoops from either side.

I’ll back you up another time too to point out a fun effect they did. About halfway through, they selected one of the kids–one of the particularly confident-looking ones–to use the Force against the Storm Troopers. They had him hold out his hand and a Storm Trooper stumbled backwards like he’d been hit. Then they did the other one, and then they did both.

This was adorable too

After all of the hand-to-hand combat was done, the Padawans gathered at the side of the stage and Vader came over to try one last convincing argument to turn them to the Dark Side.

"Come to the Dark Side--we have cookies!"

No way, no how, SeƱor Vader.

Just don't swing those around, okay?

And then Maul comes over to try to convince them too, but he can’t speak and let’s be honest, he just doesn’t have the persuasive kind of personality that Vader does.

Darth Maul isn't what you might call a "people-pleaser"

Completely rebuffed, they march back to their moving platform on stage with Vader doing his dramatic cape-swooping thing that’s like the ultimate walking off in a huff maneuver.

Fine. Be that way.

The Imperial March fires up again as Vader and Maul descend into the abyss, probably to get a much-needed drink of ice water.

"I'll be back." Oh wait, wrong movie.

Our victorious Padawans are lined up against the stage again. I mean, it’s no Rebel Alliance celebration like Luke Skywalker got, but close.

Right this way, kids.

They get one final pep talk about always using the Force for good and don’t join the Dark Side and drink your milk.

Drugs are bad, mmkay?

Then they turn around to face the audience for one final picture. Unfortunately, I think Anderson didn’t hear him when they said to turn, so I didn’t get a picture of his face, but he’s still adorable.

"Parents, stay where you are and let your kids come to you. Otherwise we're seriously talking mass chaos"

I was incredibly proud of both Theo and Annika (known troublemakers, the pair of them), who stayed seated and watched the entire show!

Kristin, I would like you to know that despite the fact that Audrey tried to bite my kid, I forgive you

The kids turned in their robes and got their Jedi Training Academy diplomas. Anderson was immensely proud

Who faught Darth Vader? Oh yeah, that was me.

and goofy


It wasn’t until after we rode Small World that I remembered to take a picture of Anderson and his actual diploma.

One proud kid.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Jedi Training Academy.

I’m A Winner Again! And So Are You!

Good news, everyone! So I won the sweepstakes to preview Star Tours on Friday, except unfortunately I’m having surgery on Thursday which makes Friday a no-go for me. HOWEVER, I also entered the contest for Annual Passholders previews, and I won one of those! So I will be riding Star Tours on Wednesday the 25th from 9-1 or thereabouts. Hooray!

I also selected a winner for our Wishing Well contest, and I’d keep you in suspense but I’m just gonna tell you right now that the winner got an email from me, so if you didn’t get an email it wasn’t you.

Rather than the boring old random.org approach, I went with the classic toddler selection approach. There weren’t a lot of entries so I just took a piece of scrap paper and cut it up into rectangular-ish pieces.

This piece of paper was page 5 from Chapter 3 of my novel in progress

I then wrote everyone’s names on a slip. A few notable exceptions–Carol guessed correctly but indicated that she didn’t need the ears, however on the last contest she said she would donate them to Audrey (Kristin’s daughter, whom Carol doesn’t know but she’s nice like that) so I entered her on behalf of Audrey. Also, Nancy did not guess correctly, but I appreciate the comment love anyway, so she went in too :). And Melinda (Bowmans in Bavaria) did not guess the answer but did give some fascinating information about Erika Fuchs, the translator who named Onkel Dagobert Duck, so I threw her in there as well.

After all the railing against pink I just did, I used a pink pen. Oh, the irony!

I placed the papers into a toy bucket and gave them to Theo to choose one. Theo is fighting an ear infection, so he was completely stoned out on the couch, which is VERY different from his usual affect so you know he’s sick. His primary concern was the fact that I was blocking the tv.

Get out of the way, Mom!

He’s wearing his Mouse-in-Law shirt, by the way.

Anyway, after a long lecture on the importance of this job and how he held the fate of the world in his lap, I finally got him to pick a piece of paper.

But I'm not really happy about it, and you're still kind of blocking the tv

I should mention that he is channeling his inner Donald Duck by going pantsless. But he was sick and I wasn’t going to wrestle him into a pair of pants just so I could put a picture up on the internet. Where’s the fun in that, when it comes to be Prom time?

I shall look at the paper I selected

And the winner is…


Congrats Kaylyn. Check your email!

And also, the official MYWTM Jedi Training Academy date has been set–Tuesday, June 7th at the 11:30 show (ideally meet around 10:30 and get set up). If any future Jedi are free that day and would like to join us, let me know!

Little Girl Turns to the Dark Side

I did not take this video, nor was I there when it occurred (although I would sacrifice a minor limb to have been!), but I would be seriously remiss to not include this on MYWTM.

This video went viral and has been viewed over 3 million times, but it never gets old for me. And as much as I love the Jedi (is that the plural? Jedis?), I think Sariah Gallego may be my personal hero. This one’s for you, Sariah!

The Jedi Training Academy is an interactive show where children ages 3-12 are chosen from the audience, given Jedi robes and light sabers, and then fight Darth Vader or Darth Maul.

I’m currently searching for a family with a child or children who want to participate in the Jedi Training Academy to be featured on My Year With The Mouse. If you are going to be at Disneyland sometime between May 2nd and June 14th send me an email at MyYearWithTheMouse@gmail.com. I cannot guarantee that your child will be chosen, but I’ve seen a few tricks to up your chances and we’ll do our best!

Don’t forget–it’s not too late to enter the GIVEAWAY. Who doesn’t want something for free?

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