“Use the Force, Brandon” – My Jedi Training Experience

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Have you or your children ever participated in the Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios? My brothers and I had a magical moment at Disney World in 2009 when one morning, our family headed to the platform holding the Death Star II shield generator to the left of Star Tours.  Hoping to be chosen to participate, we were thrilled when the Jedi Master came out.

After a brief performance of his force abilities, he finally began to choose children to be his Padawans, the people that Jedi train.  My brothers and I were the first three people to be chosen, and we excitedly raced up the stairs and onto the platform.  As other children were chosen to come on stage, I looked down at my parents and saw them getting out their cameras.

When all the Padawans were up on the stage, the Jedi’s partner handed everyone a dark brown Jedi robe to wear.  Once we put on the robes, which soon made me very hot, we were each handed a lightsaber.  My youngest brother’s lightsaber was green, and my other brother and I had blue ones.  Although not my favorite color of lightsaber, the blue blade was pleasing to me because Obi-Wan Kenobi used the same color.

At last, our training started.  My brothers and I were already skilled at using lightsabers because we “fight” with one another and my dad at home.  Therefore, we quickly opened them when the Jedi began instructing us.

Next, we were taught fighting moves.  We learned to attack and defend, beginning with the left and right shoulder.  After that, we struck at the left leg, and then ducked from the enemy’s attack before striking again in the same spot.  We concluded the attack by swinging at the right leg and the head.  Simple yet incredibly fun, the Jedi moves felt convincingly realistic to me.

After we had completed that part of the training, Darth Vader walked out of the shield generator control room with two stormtroopers in front of him in order to frighten us Padawans.  The Jedi Master’s helpers gathered us together and put us in a line.

Darth Vader tempted us to turn to the dark side, but all of the Padawans refused.  Then, Vader dared us to fight him individually.  We agreed to the challenge, using our newly learned Jedi moves.  When it was my turn, I attacked as fast as I could, prevailing against this supreme villain.  The stormtroopers then aimed their guns at me as if preparing to shoot.  I “used the force” with my hands to push them back three times before they surrendered.  It felt terrific to actually have someone reacting to my “force powers.”

Brandon fighting Darth Vader

Since I was near the back of the line, it was not long before the rest of the Padawans were finished fighting the Sith.  Defeated and humiliated, Darth Vader turned around and frustratingly escaped to the shield generator.  We then heard Master Yoda’s voice congratulating us.  The Jedi Master training us also complemented the group and told his helpers to hand out some papers to us.  After my brothers and I received ours, we swiftly returned to Mom and Dad and excitedly asked if we could open our scrolls.  When they said yes, we carefully pulled off the rubber bands and saw the words.  They said that we were now official Jedi Padawans.  My Jedi Training Academy experience had been amazing!

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