Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jedi Training

Monday was my last full day at Disneyland, and I wandered around a bit looking for a good option for lunch.  Over at Tomorrowland Terrace, I found a salad with grilled chicken on the menu, and figured that would be fine.  When I got to the front of the line, my order somehow morphed into a bacon barbecue burger with a side of fries.  (Oh well: It was vacation.  I actually didn't finish the bun, but I did scarf down all the fries, which seemed unusually wonderful at the time.)

Although the outdoor dining area was pretty full, I did manage a seat, and I had a good view when the entertainment started up.  The Jedi Training Academy was running.
Jedi in training
Two Jedi masters appeared on stage and started recruiting children for light saber training.  (Boy, those Jedi must have had a long trip from that far away galaxy.  And I complained about the trip from Pennsylvania.)  The kids are given plastic light sabers and trained in a series of moves:  strike to the left arm, strike to the right arm, etc.  The lead Jedi asks: "Do you know what happens when you cut off your opponent's arms?  You disarm him!"  (Pause)  (Jedi wave) "You will all find my jokes funny..."

After a while of practicing this light saber kata, there is a disturbance in the force.  Suddenly, Darth Vader rises up from the stage, accompanied by storm troopers, shortly to be joined by Darth Maul.
Oh no—Vader!
Vader is there to lure the new Jedi to the Dark Side.  Not to worry, 'though; the Jedi assure the kids that if they remember their training, they can defeat Lord Vader.  So the kids line up and take turns either attacking Vader or Maul, running through the routine, with the encouragement of their Jedi teachers.  Left!  Right!  Duck!  (The "duck" was particularly fun, since the kids usually forgot that was part of the routine.  The bad guy swipes at the younglings at this point, and the adults all notice that the Sith Lord's light saber is passing over the head of the adult standing next to them, but I'm sure many of the kids think they have just barely evaded the strike.)  At one point, the storm troopers rush forward, and the student is told to use a "force push", which miraculously sends the troopers flying backwards.  (I just know the kid is still wondering how she did that....)  

At the end, we hear a word from Yoda (voice-over only), Vader and Maul are sent away defeated, and the galaxy is safe once again.  The whole thing is surprisingly entertaining to watch, even if you're neither a kid nor a parent of one.  And of course plastic light sabers are available in the gift shop.

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