Hello fellow riders and welcome back to the WDW Ride Guide. I’m your host Ben Crain. As we release our podcast today we are less than a week away from the premiere of Star Wars The Force Awakens! It seems the entire galaxy is abuzz with Star Wars excitement. You can barely step into any store without bumping into some Star Wars related merchandise as Christmas quickly approaches. Well, the really great news is that you can barely step into Walt Disney World without bumping into Star Wars in a lot of fun, new ways. As we get ready for the new movie to thrill an empire of fans, we are going to spend a couple of weeks exploring the new galactic thrills at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! To get started let’s check out the newly updated Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple! It’s time for our know before you go essential facts.
- You must be between the ages of 4 and 12 to participate
- Registration is required and sign-ups are limited
- Registration is located at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost
- This experience opened on October 9th, 2007, and was updated on Dec. 4th, 2015
- Jedi Training takes place on the Jedi Temple Stage, just left of the entrance to Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic, before the dark times, before the Empire. Now, we live in perilous days in the galaxy, the Jedi order is gone. A handful of surviving Jedi still secretly search from planet to planet for Force-sensitive children to pass on what they have learned. These students are taken to one of several Jedi temples hidden across the galaxy to test what they have learned.
In the shadows of the Ewok village outside Star Tours: The Adventures Continue lies one such hidden Jedi temple. If you happen upon this temple at the right time of day, you will see a Jedi Master leading his padawan and a group of younglings up to the ancient sandstone structure. The exterior of the temple has two levels and as the Jedi Master walks up the steps, he soon senses that this is the place he has been looking for. This temple is still strong in the Force and is the perfect spot to test his group of young apprentices.
The Jedi Master begins his training by educating his students about the nature of the Force. He explains that all of the students have displayed great sensitivity to the Force, but they still must prove they are meant to be Jedi Knights. To do so, they must overcome any fear that could turn them to the dark side. For the Jedi’s padawan this is easier said than done. She has a bad feeling about the trials that await and wants to return to their ship. The Jedi Master quickly reminds her that the fastest way to the dark side is hate, greed, and fear. He assures her and the other students that fear is natural, but it is how you face that fear that will determine your path.
At this point the master brings out what we have all been waiting for, a lightsaber! The infamous weapon of the Jedi Knight, the lightsaber is not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. After the Master puts on an impressive display of lightsaber skills, the entire class is broken into two groups and each youngling given their own lightsaber.
I have to pause here a minute and note that the lightsabers have been upgraded from the previous version of the Jedi Training Academy. In the original version of the academy, students were given lightsabers that collapsed down and extended out. These were just like those you could build in the nearby shop Tatooine Traders. Today, students facing the trials of the temple are given one piece sabers that light up brightly at night and look very much like the real deal from the movies. I’m excited to see this upgrade, it’s just too bad that you have to give the lightsaber back at the end of the class!
Once each student has their own authentic lightsaber, they are directed to stand on one of the marked spots located around the stage. This is another good upgrade from the previous show. Before there was only one stage which meant each class could hold about 15 young trainees. With the extension of the stage at the new Jedi temple, there are now two decks, which each hold about 15 students. This means the class capacity has basically doubled. Now, more would-be padawans get a chance to live out their dream.
So, once they have one of those coveted spots, they are taught the 3 rules of Jedi training:
- Remember your training position
- Be aware of your lightsaber, do not hit anyone
- No falling or jumping in this area
A Jedi must practice discipline in order to go through the trials. For the parents out there, this might be a good list to introduce to your little Jedi before they even get to the academy.
Once all the students understand the rules, they are shown a sequence of lightsaber skills. Don’t worry it is nothing too complex. Just think Obi-Wan meets Vader on the first Death Star, rather than Yoda confronts Count Dooku on Genosis, and you will get the picture. Younglings are taught to strike the left shoulder, then right shoulder, and then to lower their sabers. This two-pronged attack builds to include a block, step back and duck, and finally a cut to the head. Repetition is the key, and the group is taken through the sequence several times.
With their new skills in hand, the time to open the Jedi temple has come. The entire group combines their powers and focuses on opening the doors to the temple. Slowly, the doors crack and slide open. The temple is dark and a smoky mist billows out from within. What could appear from this dark unknown? Well, your worst Jedi fears, of course! As the Jedi Master explains, whatever comes out of the temple is not real, it is your fear manifesting itself into something tangible. In other words, if you were to ask what was inside the Jedi temple the answer would be “only what you take with you.”
Well, it seems that every class of younglings takes in a fear of Darth Vader because that is exactly who emerges from the Temple. Not just Vader though, he is now joined by a new villain. The Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the Disney XD series, Star Wars Rebels, is the new manifestation of fear. Vader serves as the trial for the group of students on the upper stage and the Seventh Sister serves as the trial for the group on the lower stage. Each Jedi hopeful gets their turn facing one of these two menacing foes and executes the lightsaber routine they learned earlier. After everyone has stood up to face their fear, it is time to send Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister back into the Temple. All the students are instructed to put down their lightsabers and simply use the Force to banish their fears. With a combined effort, the two foes are pushed back inside.
Just as it seems the training session is over, one more villain emerges…
The red faced Darth Maul appears from the smoke, welding his dual bladed red light saber. He has appeared because the Jedi Master’s young padawan has a strong fear of the legendary Sith. The Master tells her to stay calm but she feels she must fight to protect the group. Soon, the voice of Master Yoda can be heard as he reminds the padawan that fear leads to hate. Her fear of the dark side only makes it stronger. She struggles to listen to his advice and continues to fight Darth Maul as the students stand by and watch. Before she goes too far and succumbs to her fear, the students combine their Force abilities one more time and focus on helping her fight it. She comes to her senses, and not a moment too soon! She realizes what the Jedi Master has been teaching the group all along: there is nothing in the temple but what you take with you.
As the group finishes the training they are presented to the audience as the future of the Jedi! The exciting 20 minute adventure comes to a close and it is time to return the Jedi robes and lightsabers.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? For young Star Wars fans, this incredible interactive experience is a lifelong memory just waiting to be made. Not only is it fun for the kids though, it is highly entertaining for the parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and any other adults in the audience. The updates to Jedi Training make it feel even more realistic and bring the show up to speed with the Star Wars Rebels universe.
If you will be visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you have any Star Wars fans in the group, make Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple a top priority. With limited classes and a limited number of spots in each class, Jedi Training can fill up fast. The academy usually runs from 9:20 am – 8:00 pm, with about 15 twenty minute shows throughout the day. Sign-ups are done on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, it is required that the child be present at the time of sign-ups. So, if you are thinking about sending Mom or Dad ahead of the group, that won’t work. I recommend heading straight to the Indiana Jones Outpost where the sign ups are held. Do this as soon as you enter the park and then head to Toy Story Midway Mania before the line gets too unbearably long. The sooner you sign up, the better chance you will have of selecting a preferred time.
If you arrive to find all the spots have been filled for the day, there is still hope. You can be put on the alternate list, and a given a number. As an alternate, you can show up to any of the scheduled shows 20 minutes prior to the start time. If a child from the sign up list is a no-show, the lowest number alternate in attendance will be moved into that slot. There is no guarantee that alternates will get to participate in the show, but the more attempts to get in, the better your chances.
If you are able to sign up for a time, be sure to arrive 30 minutes prior to the assigned show. There is some prep work done with the kids before the show starts. Just don’t be late! Keep in mind there is probably an eager kid on the alternate list, just hoping someone doesn’t show. If you miss your chance to participate because you lose track of time, your little youngling may never forgive you. Do or do not, there is no try! Also, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple currently takes place outside and will be cancelled due to inclement weather. For this reason, you may also want to keep the training a surprise if possible. It sure stinks when little Jedi get their hopes up, only to be washed away by an afternoon Florida shower.
Well, that wraps up our look at the NEW Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Thank you for joining me today. I hope our time together has helped to prepare you for an incredible adventure at Hollywood Studios. I always have fun when talking Star Wars! We will be back again next week to discuss more about my favorite galaxy in my favorite park, as we head over for a look inside the new Star Wars Launch Bay! Until then, make each day a ride worth taking and may the Force be with you!
Follow the WDW Ride Guide on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/wdwrideguide
To subscribe to the podcast visit www.wdwrideguide.com/subscribe.