October 2006 – present
Tomorrowland – If you take the main path from Main Street USA, you’ll find the Academy on your left, in front of the Tomorrowland Terrace. If you are coming from Fantasyland or if you take the Main Street USA path toward the Matterhorn, you’ll find the Academy on your right, across from the Submarine Voyage.
After the success of Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World, Disneyland wanted to increase Star Wars’ presence in Tomorrowland. The previous show at Tomorrowland Terrace, Club Buzz, closed in 2006, making room for a Star Wars show. Just like in Walt Disney World, the Jedi Training Academy became the first audience participation show in Tomorrowland specifically targeted at young children.
Since 2006, the Jedi Training Academy has captivated younger audiences, giving little ones to interact directly with the villains of the Star Wars universe. With its location in the center of Tomorrowland, the Academy draws huge crowds, making this show one of the most consistently popular in Disneyland.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – no
- Height Requirement – none
- Duration – 20:00
When the show begins, a Jedi master randomly selects little ones from the crowd, naming them official Jedi trainees (padawans). The padawans learn how to use lightsabers, channel the force, and think like Jedi. Once they have completed their training, the padawans test their skills in a battle against stormtroopers, before an ultimate showdown with Darth Vader himself! Finally, the padawans graduate from the Academy, and head back into Tomorrowland as newly minted Jedi.
MY RATING: ★★★★☆
The Training Academy is entertaining for the whole family – over-the-top exciting for kids and really adorable to watch for adults. The padawans usually take their training very seriously, and what could possibly beat a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader?
My one complaint about the Jedi Training Academy is the complete lack of a viewing area. Unless you’re in the front row or are lucky enough to score an awesome table at the Tomorrowland Terrace, you really can’t see much of the action. But even so, the Jedi Training Academy is a heart-warming and entertaining live show.
Update: During “Season of the Force”, there is an official sign-up process. Go to the exit of the Star Wars Launch Bay ahead of the show to sign up your child. Your child must be with you at the time of sign-up, as they will be asked a few basic questions to see if they can follow directions. The cast member will give you a “receipt” (sign-up is free), and your child will be guaranteed a spot in the show.
If your child wants to participate in the show, get to the show area roughly 20-30 minutes before the scheduled show time so that you are at the front of the crowd. Selection is random, and up to the discretion of the cast members, so there is no guaranteed method to be chosen. But if you’re at the front and your child is very enthusiastic, you’ll have a decent chance of being picked.
Darth Maul occasionally appears alongside Darth Vader to fight the padawans.
Don’t forget to take your child’s certificate home; it recognizes their official status as a padawan and Academy graduate.