It’s also a rarity in that you might not have considered this attraction for kids playing with lightsabers to also be an entertaining show. Well, it is. If you’re even a bit of a Star Wars nerd, this is definitely a show you’ll want to check out (and if you’re not, you’re probably not going to enjoy the theme for this week celebrating Star Wars Day aka May 4 aka May the Fourth Be With You)!
Just seeing those youngling Padawans in their Jedi robes first learning to use the Force and their lightsabers against those dastardly villains, Darth Vader and Darth Maul, is simply heartwarming.
Plus: Stormtroopers. Every party is always better with Stormtroopers. Or maybe those are just my parties. Never mind.
What is the Jedi Training Academy?
The Jedi Training Academy is an audience-participation show that allows young Padawan-wannabes to volunteer to don Jedi robes and train with a Jedi Master to fight against those who would use the Force for evil!
(It’s actually rather similar to Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in its setup, but on a larger scale.)
Who are the performers?
The leading performers are a Jedi Master and his apprentices who teach the Padawans their dueling lightsaber moves! But there are also special appearances by Darth Vader, Darth Maul and a pair of Stormtroopers.
Along with all of the young Padawans from the crowd (ages 4-12) who get to participate! Fortunately, this show accommodates a lot of younglings. But if yours doesn’t get picked the first time, try back next show. Jedi robes and lightsabers are provided for the duration of the show, so you don’t have to worry about the kids bringing their own. Although they may want to buy or build their own lightsaber (at nearby store The Star Trader in Tomorrowland) immediately afterward!
When and where can I find it?
The Jedi Training Academy happens multiple times each day at Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland. (This show also occurs at the Walt Disney World Resort at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Echo Lake, although at that location, Padawan participants may have to register in advance – see a Cast Member for details.) Check your daily Entertainment Guide for times.
Why spotlight it?
A more fun show than you would expect, even if you’re just watching and don’t have kids. There’s just always going to be something so cool about seeing Jedi Knights and Darth Vader and Stormtroopers and even Darth Maul (the best part of the prequel trilogy in my personal opinion).
So if you’ve skipped this one because you don’t have kids in this age range – or maybe you have girls who are still in full-on princess mode and you think they wouldn’t be interested – try it. It’s more entertaining than you’d expect, even if you don’t have younglings who you think will want to participate. Just wait until they see the other kids getting to use their lightsabers against the bad guys and it might change their minds. You may find yourself feeling just a little jealous that you don’t get to try it too! And as an adult, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything cuter than a little girl of 4 or 5 years old taking out Darth Maul with her light saber!
But if you do have younglings in the Padawan age range, you really must take them to the Academy and let them have a shot at defeating Darth Vader or Darth Maul. Train them young, you must.
And May the Fourth Be With You… Always!
Have you been to the Jedi Training Academy? And are you willing to admit that you wish adults could participate too?
Update 1/7/16: During the Season of the Force event currently happening, the original version of the Jedi Training Academy described above has been replaced with a new show called Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (to be spotlighted soon!).
Update 5/15/16: Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple has been slightly changed since it was first introduced.