We went to Hollywood Studios on Saturday, but the day was just so full, I never got a chance to post these before bed! It was by far the most special day for Oliver – the Star Wars characters were to Oliver as the Disney Princesses were to Bea.
And the good part about delaying the Hollywood Studios post is that I have more than half a second to put it together – which means I get to tell all the fun things so I don’t forget them!
My favorite ride at the park was the Toy Story ride – maybe because the line was so cool and interesting – it was like we were toy-sized among lots of other cool, classic toys.
We accidentally missed getting a spot for the parade and found ourselves about 8 people deep, pressed up against the far right of the stage – totally unable to see anything. One of the nice Disney cast members sensed my distress and assured me that we pretty much had the secret-best seat in the house – all of the good characters would exit the parade to go up on stage right past us.
And sure enough, they did! Oliver shot his foes with his electronic Boba Fett blaster gun as they went past. Chewbacca gave him some special attention and a high-five, R2-D2 rolled past, and Jengo-Fett (Keight, did I spell that right this time?) even reacted to Oliver’s blasts.
In short: Oliver. Felt. Amazing.
Also, as we walked around the park that day we would occasionally hear low, ominous music. We would look around to see Darth Maul or Boba Fett passing through. Oliver took that opportunity to do a little battle. And honestly, the characters were all really good sports (because, it could get old fast to just be trying to walk somewhere and have a kid shove a gun in your face…) and saw those interactions as special moments for him. Well done, fellas.
There were Storm Troopers (clone troopers?) all over the park and they were super fun to battle or pose with. Oh, he had so much fun that day!
We loved the Star Tours ride and the Darth Vader chocolate-peanut butter cupcake at Pizza Planet (seriously tasty!). We all felt right at home wearing and toting Star Wars paraphernalia around the park like it was completely expected.
One sad thing: We arrived for the day about an hour after the park opened and all of the spots for Jedi Training were filled. Complete angst. When I told Oliver, he seriously said, “But Moooom…. now I have to leave here a padawan!”
Okay, so it was a bit on the whiney side, yes. But I totally got that this was his thing – these were his Disney Princesses. And it seemed a shame to come all this way and, ahem, leave the park a padawan.
So, I did what any mother of a miniature Star Wars fan would do – I went to the Jedi Academy sign-up building and got the lowdown. They said the alternate list was already 70 kids deep and there was just no way. So. Sad. But… “I do have something that I could give you… wait here a minute…” The man (now my new best friend) returned shortly and discreetly passed a bright green bracelet to me that said Maul 5/26 on it. “Put this on his wrist and go to the back entrance of the Premier Theatre at 5:30.”
Ooh, a covert mission! A secret plan! I was afraid to disappoint Oliver if it somehow didn’t work out, so I just slipped it on his wrist and carried on with the day. Another ride on Star Tours seemed to distract him from his padawan state.
At 5:30 you better believe we were present and accounted for at the back of that theatre – along with about two dozen other kiddos and their parents – all with no idea what to expect. Fun!
At 6:00 they took the kids into the theatre and led the parents to some reserved seats in the front. At this point I knew that we were attending/participating in a show called “A Visit to the Maul” with Ray Park, the man who plays Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace (and was hosted by James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars – and also the voice of Fred Flintstone!) . So cool!
He did a bunch of fancy things and it was an entertaining show, but of course my favorite part was the second half – watching my little guy file onto the stage with the other kids and learn some cool Sith moves from the man himself. He taught them a little routine, then distributed red lightsabers so they could “make it real”.
He was so little up there that it was hard to see him. And he was so serious and I think maybe a little sleepy. But it was adorable and awesome and all the kids got to keep their lightsabers.
(My favorite picture of the training is below. I told you he was a little sleepy!) :)
Anyway, it was an awesome consolation to missing out on the Jedi training (and it didn’t even bother him anymore that he was still a padawan). He got to meet so many great characters and actors. And, Ray assured all of them that their training didn’t mean that had to be Siths :)
We left the park shortly thereafter to meet some people we love for dinner in the town of Celebration. And before heading home we hit up the big play fountain there and Oliver weirdly and successfully gave us a glimpse of what he will look like when he’s fifteen years old in a fluke photo with weird shading. Let’s be five for a while longer, shall we?
Man. Five is just so good. I am in love with this kid!