Okay, say you've got a child and it's his 6th birthday. And, say this child loves absolutely everything about Star Wars. And you take this child to Disneyland for his birthday where everyone has a wonderful time, that is, until you head over to Tomorrowland for the Jedi Training Academy. It's a cute show where some performers "train" young kids to be Jedi Knights. What great fun when they pretend to use the Force and choose your child! But... what about the kids who are not chosen? The problem is that there is only so much room in each show so some of the kids will be left out. What if it's your kid? My young man followed all of the rules, stood behind the blue line, jumped up and down, raised his hands, shouted and... was not chosen. He was devastated. He cried for an hour. He thought he didn't have the Force. And he wasn't the only child left crying. Nice job Disney! Way to make it magical! While you're telling the Kindergarteners that they don't have the Force, why not mention that there's no Santa Clause too? And that fairies are a myth? And that Mickey is just a sweaty guy in a suit? Suffice to say, as a parent, I was beyond pissed.
Now, before anyone chimes in with, "But all the kids can't be chosen," or "Disappointment and rejection is part of life, get used to it," let me just make a couple of points. First, they don't have to do it this way. It would be very easy for the warm up CM's to inform the parents that they only allow x-number of kids in each show and then only allow that many in to the selection area. Easier for the parents and much less traumatic for the kids to be told that there's not enough room instead of "the Force is not strong enough in you." Second, I don't pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to have Disney employees make my children cry and teach them hard life lessons about rejection and exclusion. They'll get enough of that in the real world. That's not what we pay Disney for.
The plain fact is, this is a horrible thing to do to young kids. Either the people who designed this show know next to nothing about children or they just don't care. Anyone who works with young children will tell you that when planning any activity, every child must be included. They really need to change the way they do this show or scrap it all together in favor of something more inclusive. And yes, I raised all of these concerns at City Hall to a very helpful and sympathetic Cast Member, but I would like to hear the thoughts of the MC community and especially the other parents out there. Thanks for reading my little rant.