Leap's Note: Today's post comes from Undercover Tourist customer and super Disney World fan Vern Woodruff. Vern has written about the Disney World character tips, princess dressing in the parks and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
The Force is increasing in strength at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as attractions and activities based on Star Wars are gaining a greater presence at the park. One extremely popular Star Wars activity that had been at the park for a number of years was the Jedi Training Academy for children ages 4 to 12. However, this experience could only accommodate 12 children per show with 12 to 15 shows per day. Fortunately for youngsters aspiring to train as a Jedi, Disney revamped the experience in 2015 by altering the show’s storyline and greatly increasing the capacity. While the experience, now named Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, can accommodate more younglings, the total number of available slots is still limited and fills up quickly. If this is something that would appeal to your young Star Wars fan, here are details on the show and tips for being in it.
What is Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple?
Unlike many other aspects of Disney where you make reservations weeks or months in advance, you register for Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios the day of your visit. Jedi Training is an incredibly popular experience and an absolute must for any Star Wars fan ages 4 to 12. It costs nothing extra beyond park admission to be a part of this 25-minute show. The show's stage area is next to the entrance to Star Tours - The Adventures Continue. The show consists of a Jedi Master and several assistants that lead the 30 participants through basic Jedi training. The kids wear Jedi robes and are broken up into two groups, with 15 being led to a raised level and 15 on a ground level. There are marked spots for each child to stand upon. Once everyone is in place, lightsabers are handed out.
The children are taught basic lightsaber tactics as a group. After learning this, the children and the Jedi trainers work together to open the Jedi Temple doors at the back of the raised stage. With the doors opened, their fears are manifested as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor appear. The younglings must face their fears and engage in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader (those on the raised stage) or the Seventh Sister Inquisitor (those on the ground level stage).
The younglings and Jedi trainers are successful in overcoming and defeating their fears, driving Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor back into the Temple. However, one of the young Jedi trainers has a fear that must be faced, and Darth Vader’s grandson, the First Order warrior Kylo Ren, exits from the Temple. The Jedi trainer must overcome doubt and fear to defeat Kylo Ren. With encouragement from the Jedi Master and assistance from the younglings, the Jedi trainer drives Kylo Ren away. With order restored and training completed, the younglings are presented to the audience and are each given a pin to commemorate their experience.
Anyone who wants to give this experience to their child must arrive at Disney's Hollywood Studios early and make show registration their first stop of the day. To ensure spots for my children, we arrived at 8 a.m. to make it through the security check and be near the front of an entrance line on a crowd level 5 day (reference the crowd calendar for your visit). This was not an Extra Magic Hour day and the park was scheduled to open at 9 a.m. However, they started admitting people into the entrance area of the park about 8:25 a.m. As soon we entered, I headed directly back toward the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost for registration (note that you will want to pick up a Disney's Hollywood Studios Times Guide just to confirm that the location has not changed). A sizable crowd was going the same direction. Prior to reaching the Outpost, in front of the Hollywood and Vine restaurant, Disney cast members were organizing people into a line. After a few minutes, we were walked back to a queuing area that led to registration. In order to register, the participating children must be present. There are a number of Disney Cast Members to register people and once it is your turn, you select a show time and give them information on the children participating in the show.
Later, you return to the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost 30 minutes before your show time. After checking in, there is a shaded area with spots marked for the kids to wait on. They are given their Jedi robes, broken up into two groups, and lined up shortest to tallest. A few minutes before show time, the two lines follow behind a Jedi Training banner and make the short walk to the show. After the Jedi training ends, the children turn in their lightsabers, robes, and rejoin you having successfully passed the Trials of the Temple.
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple Tips
- If you are not familiar with the attractions and places I mentioned, make sure to look at a Hollywood Studios map on Undercover Tourist's Park Plan. You can pick up a map and Times Guide when you get to the park.
- While you cannot register for a show in advance, check the Disney website before leaving for your trip and find the listing of Jedi Training show times. This way you can plan around other reservations (dining or FastPass) and determine your show time preferences.
- Since this is an outdoor show, it can be canceled due to bad weather. If rain is a possibility the day you are there, check the hourly weather forecast and try selecting a show time that hopefully will avoid the rain.
- Shows are held throughout the day every 30 or 60 minutes. For shows that are 30 minutes apart, as soon as one show ends another is preparing to start. There is no seating or shade, so be prepared to stand in the sun while watching the show.
- With the participants split into two groups, there are two PhotoPass photographers on hand to capture all the action. If you have Memory Maker or are interested in the photos, make sure to pick up the correct PhotoPass card from the photographers. The photos can be added to your account. Since it includes all of the photos the photographer took during the show, there will be quite a few that you may want to delete.
- A great treat that we received after registering was a bonus paper FastPass good for any attraction at any time for up to six people. I do not know if this is always done, but it was a pleasant surprise for us.
- The popularity of the Force Awakens and the prominence of a female character seem to have had an impact on the number of girls who want to participate. In the prior years that my kids were in the show, only a small number of girls were among the participants. This time, there were a number of female participants and we saw more girls dressed in Rey outfits than in princess ones during our day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A few boys were dressed as Star Wars characters as well.
- After the show, your child may want their own lightsaber. An interesting, albeit pricey, option is to visit Tatooine Traders at the exit to Star Tours. This shop has an area where you can make your own lightsaber, which my children did after a show during a previous visit. They were wanting to make another lightsaber, but this souvenir option must have proven highly popular because the prices had increased significantly from two years earlier. However, the show is free to participate in so maybe you’ll decide to splurge on a lightsaber. If you decide to do this, you may want to wait until near the end of your visit or make a trip to the car, especially with the double lightsabers. They are fairly long and the "lightsaber" portion seems to always be extending from one end or the other.
- If you are not able to obtain a registered spot in the show, it may be possible to participate as a replacement for a no-show if you are willing to be on standby. However, you have to stay near the Indiana Jones Outpost and wait until just before show time hoping for a no-show. If everyone who registered arrives, then you would have to wait on stand-by for the next show. With the show’s popularity and the fact that you have to register on-site that day, there are very few no-shows. For the 12:10 p.m. show my children participated in, we arrived at 11:40 a.m. to check in and there were three children there waiting on stand-by. At 11:57 a.m. they called for one standby child, leaving the other two to decide whether to wait again or leave.
- If you sign up for the 7-hour Star Wars Guided Tour, children ages 4 to 12 are enrolled and guaranteed a spot in the Jedi Training.
What questions do you have about Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple? Have a tip we didn't include? Share them in comments below!
Vern and his wife are the parents of two boys and a girl that all love Disney’s animated movies and shorts. He lives in Ohio and is employed as a mechanical engineer, which helps to explain his excessive attention to detail, organization and planning. His oldest son enjoys watching the animated shorts from the Disney Treasures series, his youngest son has the middle name “Donald” and he likes telling people that he was named after Donald Duck, and his daughter loves the Disney Princesses, especially Rapunzel and recently Elsa.