How much does it cost to make a lightsaber in Disney’s Star Wars attraction, the Jedi Training Academy?
When I went to Disneyland in august 2012, they jacked up the prices on EVERYTHING (mainly food and items for sale) in anticipation of The Lone Ranger movie that was coming in December.
They wanted to get rid of all the merchandise so the park wouldn’t look so barren when it opened in December, so they were selling things at rock-bottom prices.
So what did I do?
I bought a lightsaber while they still had them! The Jedi Training Academy takes place just after Star Tours in Tomorrow land, and you have to get in line to get on the show. You can’t buy a lightsaber there, though; you have to bring your own (it must be no longer than 3 feet). I had my own custom lightsaber from when I went before, so I didn’t have to pay anything for it.
After waiting in line for 30-40 minutes or so, we come to the front of the line, and they give us our “lightsabers” (plastic toy lightsabers with a pretty bright LED light inside). They tell us what we’re going to be doing and then send you into this room with a bunch of other trainees.
They then show us some clips from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is pretty cool because it’s always changing, so I’m sure people that go all the time don’t get bored with the same show every time.
After the clips are over, they put you into groups of around 20-30 people and make you face off against another group (ours was led by Jedi Mickey). They tell you to engage your lightsaber (press the button on the handle), and they put together two groups of about 6 kids each to come upfront.
They then show us how the lightsaber works by having Jedi Mickey, one other kid, and an adult all press their buttons to make their lightsabers “work.” Then it’s time for you to battle your opponent.
This is where it gets a little expensive:
They give you a special “lightweight” lightsaber. You have to practice with it because if you just press the button and wave your arms around like an idiot, the chances are that nobody will get hurt when you hit them (i know I didn’t).
The people running the show (either cast members or Jedi masters, I’m not sure which) make sure you aim for your opponent’s lightsaber and press your button to turn off their saber. Chances are they won’t let two kids whose sabers just turned off just stand there and watch as the other kid swings at them with his saber, so they try to teach you techniques that will make it harder for you to get hit. They let us go through the whole thing 3 times which was awesome because I got to use all 3 of my lightsabers.
After the show was over, they gave you a special “Jedi Training Academy Jedi Membership Card” and told you that if you come back within the next year, bring your card and get $2 off admission to California Adventure (i think it has to be that park).
On the ride home from Disneyland, my brother dropped my lightsaber on the floor of a crowded bus, and it stopped working. I’m pretty sure I could go back and get another one for free, but I don’t know if it would be the same lightsaber or not.
I do think that if I bought one at the park, it would be the same, but I’m not sure.
So how much would it Price me to build my own lightsaber?
Let’s say you buy all of your materials online (except for maybe the blade holder).
Here are some prices:
- $5 Acrylic paint (two colors)
- $10 Kwik-Tap blade holder (2 needed for this model, but I bought 4 because I didn’t trust the paint job to hold up for very long).
- $2 – 5 “Force FX” lightsaber (the ones that look real. there are cheaper models too that look less real, but if I’m going to do this, I might as well do it right).
- $5 – 10 For certain pieces of the hilt, you have two options: buy a cheap saber hilt for about $5.00 at most stores (on sale), or go to a site like Saber Forge and buy one for $30 – $200. I decided to go the cheaper route.
But since I’m cheap (and don’t want to spend that much), I’m gonna buy the cheap lightsaber hilt, which will cost about $20.
So for another $7 you could have a “real” lightsaber… but what fun is that? Remember how earlier I said to get 4 blade holders because I didn’t think the paint job would last long? Well, that’s because I also didn’t want to spend the extra money on a polycarbonate tube for the blade.
A polycarbonate tube is what makes it look like you’re swinging around a lightsaber instead of just waving around an ugly piece of plastic with lights and buttons on it.
But I’m not going to do it right, so I’ll cut a few corners and spend less money. If you’re going to try this on a budget like me.
Here are some shortcuts you can take:
- For the blade holder, go to the store and buy a cheap plastic lightsaber (the kind that only lights up). Make sure the blade holder is removable so you can use it to hold your acrylic tubes in place.
- For the hilt, get one of the $5 saber hilts at Target or wherever else instead of buying an expensive one online. And instead of using superglue to attach the hilt to the blade holder, use hot glue. The way it’s constructed, there are 2 screws that go into the t-shaped hole in the blade holder. If you can get those screws out (they’re really just fake screws for show), then you can put them back in with hot glue.
Instead of buying a polycarbonate tube, buy colored cellophane.
Cut the following shapes out of the cellophane:
- -1 big circle for the main part of the blade (2 are needed for this model, but I only have one because I just used what I had laying around)
- -3 or 4 small circles for the “tip” of the blade. To get this shape, use a cup to draw around it on some thin cardboard, then cut out that circle and trace it onto your cellophane. If you don’t have thin cardboard (like me), you can also tape two pieces together.
- -4 or 5 long rectangular strips of cellophane for the “light” part of the blade. To get these, use a piece of paper to trace out 4 or 5 long skinny rectangles. Then cut those out and tape them together at one end so you can bend them into shape without them breaking.