Since the boys are all big Star Wars fans, this was a much-anticipated day as well! We stuck the “mild” day at Animal Kingdom between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on purpose, but the evening before was such chaos, it sure didn’t seem mild!
We did the same routine this morning upon getting to the park. Richard took Parker and Max in with no bags (quicker way to get into the park), and I kept my backpack, Richard’s backpack, and the two littles. I’ll say, this was a PAIN IN THE BUTT to do this solo, but it did allow Richard to get the boys signed up for the highly popular Jedi Training which fills up super fast and we couldn’t FastPass. Colten didn’t want to do it (until after he saw the boys do it – and at that point it was too late), so I took him and Sophia strolling through Hollywood Studios. We didn’t get far before we saw a short line and Daisy Duck, so we jumped in line and miraculously, Richard and the other two boys made it back to us after getting their time slot signed up.
After the picture, we did have to part ways because the boys had an early Jedi Training time slot. So I continued through the park. Colten spotted Storm Troopers and we ran to catch up. I guess they don’t stop in the park to do pictures. They kept kind of moving about so that kids couldn’t really get pictures with them. It seemed a bit odd. So we went into their apparent walking path so I could snag a picture with Colten as they walked up behind him, but what happened next was kind of crazy and only this video will help describe it…it’s kind of long but the first few minutes show you how in-character these guys get! Apologize for the chaos of the video – trying to push two things and record was a struggle, then the handler took Sophia from me which helped, then she ended up taking the camera. So don’t get dizzy 😉
If you really don’t want to watch, the short version is that I guess Storm Troopers go through the park and “capture” kids (seems like it’s often kids with special needs from the stories I keep hearing)… I’m actually tearing up as I write this because it was just amazing. Colten was captured and we had to hightail it through the park following these very-much-in-character Storm Troopers. We were taken to a private photo shoot area that only kids captured by storm troopers get to go to. Other people on the path to the other Star Wars characters were all asked to keep walking – “private photo op in session”! Colten actually got kind of scared at this point because he thought they would put him on a scary ride – my naivety and excitement building didn’t help and I had to finally whisper to him at one point that “nothing bad happens at Disney” and reassure him that everyone was here to just give him a good time.
After pictures with the Storm Troopers, and getting two very nice pins from them, we were led the back way into the characters photo area. He was whisked in through back doors to the front of the lines to see Kylo Ren (he was VERY scared – again, these characters were very much IN character and Kylo is scary!), Chewbacca (who got some great hugs), and BB-8 (who got the biggest smiles).
It was amazing and while I was so excited for Colten, I couldn’t believe this happened when our biggest Star Wars fans weren’t with us!! I said to Colten as we were pointed to the exit area, “Your brothers and dad are going to go crazy when they see these pictures!” The handler that was with us said, “Do you have more people in your party?” I responded that my husband and two other children were in Jedi Training right now. She said, “I’ll be in this area for the next couple hours – when they’re done over there, you all come back here and we’ll do this whole thing again!” And of course, I cried. And of course, we came back. This time, Colten was way more sure of the situation and was ALL smiles!
Max wouldn’t take his eyes off Kylo Ren and his lightsaber. I’m pretty sure he was trying to figure out if this was the real deal. He actually looked more nervous in these pictures than when he was on stage fighting him!
I’m a bit out of order here, because actually, BEFORE going back through the Star Wars characters with Richard, Park, and Max, we had met up with Richard to watch Parker and Maxson do their Jedi Training on the other side of the park. So awesome – they LOVED it! Tons of pictures plus there are two videos included below of their actual light saber fight with Kylo Ren. They embraced this with so much passion, they spent time later in the day passing on their training to Colten and Sophia (pictures further down).
The other excitement at Hollywood Studios included the various Star Wars parades, Indiana Jones show, another photo op with Goofy, meeting Sofia the First, and the Toy Story ride.
Colten kept trying to use the force on the Darth Vader statue…
We enjoyed another character dinner at Hollywood & Vine, a last minute change of plans that I’m so glad we did! It was very heartwarming to see how into the characters the kids were (even our very stoic Parker!) – and the “original” characters at that. They would get so excited to see them coming, all get into photos, and all get hugs. It was awesome. I grew up a big fan of Mickey and had many opportunities as a kid to go to Disney. It was awesome to get to see my kids have this experience!
As we closed out the night, Richard had to get pictures selected from the Jedi Training, so we strolled out of the restaurant and headed to the customer service area. The boys all had their souvenir lightsabers…
Sophia insisted on having her own. “Me be a Jedi! Me get a lightsaber!” So with the money left on her card, I took her to the store and let her pick one out. Silly me for thinking I would get at least one non-Star Wars obsessed child. Fittingly for her, she chose the dark side. (Before Sophia could really even talk, she would of sing/chant “Ma-Ma-Ma Ma-MaMa Ma-MaMa” to the tune of Darth Vader’s theme song – no lie!!!) After asking the cashier to “open it! me want the lightsaber!”, she walked out of the store holding it firmly in front of her repeating, “Me a Jedi! Me a Jedi!” As we approached the customer service area, Parker and Max had been teaching Colten the ways of the Jedi from their training earlier, and Parker quickly took on the training of Sophia as well. It was a really cool ending to this day.
I’m putting two videos in here because Max has a great line at the end of one and the other gives a good glimpse into Parker’s eldest child personality as he teaches Sophia how to be a Jedi.