Wes had been prepping them for the release of the newest movie in December by showing them all six of the old movies… more than once. So, when Halloween rolled around, Ana wanted to be Princess Leia and Emma wanted to be Darth Vader. (“Because he was so handsome, Mommy, back before he turned evil and got burned in all that fire. He was so handsome you would have married him if he had asked you before Papi did!” Truth.) By the time The Force Awakens came out, they were complete Star Wars nerds, dressing up and seeing the movie in the theater on the day it released. They couldn’t get enough of it!
Given all of this, they were really excited about getting to Hollywood Studios. I have a love/hate relationship with this park. Back when the girls were little, there wasn’t enough there to justify more than just half a day. Disney Jr, the Little Mermaid show, Beauty and the Beast, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, Muppets, and… that was it. (They were really, really little when we first went.) As time has gone on, the park has been more appealing to them but less to me as they really over-did all the Frozen stuff when it came out, so much so that I just wanted to punch Olaf in the face every time he’d pop up. And he was popping up everywhere, trying to tell me I needed to spend half a day of precious Disney time standing in line for my kids to play with melting snow at Oaken’s Trading Post. As if. Let it go, Olaf! Let it go!
I’m totally against the commercialization of a Disney park to promote a movie, in other words. TOTALLY against it. Except when that movie is Star Wars. (I’m a hypocrite, I know. But whatever.)
Given this, Hollywood Studios was AWESOME this year! Not only was Emma riding all the rides (and she was a total hoot on her multiple rides on Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror, pumping her tiny fist and yelling, “YEAH!”) but we also got great seats for Fantasmic (my favorite nighttime show at Disney) and got both of the girls into the Jedi Training Academy.
Yes. The Jedi Training Academy.
What in the world is that? It’s an opportunity for kids to go up on this stage by Star Tours and be part of a show. They put Jedi cloaks on them and give them light sabers and (unbeknownst to us before Ana and Emma did it) let them fight real villains. What a thrill!
We spent the first part of the day riding the rides and exploring all the Star Wars stuff they’ve got going on at Hollywood Studios these days. The girls met Chewbacca and Kylo Ren both, got to eat some Darth Vader cupcakes, and made their own light sabers at Tatooine Traders.
Then, it was time for each girl to become a Jedi.
This experience was the highlight of the whole day, most definitely. The girls were part of the show, wielding light sabers and learning moves alongside all the other kids, likely thinking that this was all it was going to be…
Until Darth Vader showed up.
Emma’s face, y’all. I half expected her to run over to him and hug him (because ADD and unbridled love is a powerful combo), but she stayed put and watched him with a huge smile on her face. That smile faltered a little when she was told she’d have to fight him, but I guess she realized it was all make believe because she went up and did it.
Once the show was over, we went back on Star Tours. I’m not sure how many times we rode that ride this visit, but suffice to say, everyone in the group apart from Ana and Emma got their fill. (And then some.) We sent Wes back to the resort during the late part of the afternoon so he could get some more Greek studying in, which was a bummer, especially since we went and saw the Indiana Jones stunt show, one of his childhood favorites. He also missed Fantasmic, which was no big deal because Ana, Emma, and I have that show memorized and could perform it for him later, Mickey’s dance moves and all. (“Duh, da, da, duh, duh, duh, duh, duuuuuuhhh, da, da, duh, duh –” “And here’s where the water shoots up everywhere!” “Swoosh!” “Duh, da, da, duh…” You get the picture.)
What was a big deal was that he missed the Star Wars fireworks at the end of the night. We heard them from our resort every night we were there (because they were loud), but seeing them in person was definitely a better treat. Not even two minutes into the show, two grown men stepped right in front of Ana and Emma and blocked their view. If this had been a princess thing, I would have been tempted to take my shoe off and hit them with it. (Seriously, I’ve blogged about this before. When you go to Walt Disney World as an adult and you step in front of little kids to do things like meet Tinkerbell, you invite all kinds of motherly rage into your life. I can’t count the times the Faulkettes have been pushed out of the way because some man in his forties wants to meet Tinkerbell before they do. Guess what, buddy? That’s creepy. And it makes me want to smack you on behalf of my daughters and on behalf of the twentysomething year old girl dressed as Tinkerbell who is probably really weirded out by the fact that you’re talking to her like she’s a real live fairy. Do you think she’s impressed by you, Peter Pan? No. No, she’s not. So, don’t be that guy. Don’t do it!)
I wasn’t tempted to hit them with my shoe (lucky for them) because this? A Star Wars thing? Fortysomething year old men are still totally the demographic this whole thing is targeted towards. So, I get their exuberance. I still wanted the girls to see the show, though, so I picked Emma up and held her where she could see it all. Then, after a few minutes, I put her down and picked Ana up so she could watch. Wow, I was longing for the days when they were tiny tots, because preteens are heavier than babies. But they were also more appreciative than they were in their younger days, telling me again and again, “Oh, Mommy, thank you! I can see handsome Anakin!” as I lifted them up as high as I could so they could watch.
It was the perfect ending to a Jedi-tastic day.
Up next, Wes buys himself a purse…