Dan Brooks, editor at StarWars.com, reports back from a vacation onboard the Disney Cruise Line that was strong with the Force and family — it is well worth a read!
It was the evening before Star Wars Day at Sea on my family’s Disney Cruise Line vacation, and my three-year-old son Jack was scouring the Star Wars section of the main gift shop. (This “section” was, in reality, a Star Wars shop all its own.) There were Darth Vader action figures and Millennium Falcon vehicles and exclusive droid toys, and much more. In an effort to do our best impersonation of good parents, and because our Big Suitcase was perilously close to the dreaded 50 lbs. airline limit, my wife and I told him that he could buy only one thing, with the caveat that we had power of approval. This made Jack’s decision all the more difficult and important, but he was agreeable to our terms, thankfully.
Like any three-year-old, Jack wanted almost everything he came across, except for toys of bad guys — he has an endearing quirk about only wanting the good guys. (Most of the time when he plays at home, the villains end up switching sides.) So we had to temper him a bit, but nothing he picked was really quite right; items were either not age appropriate (geared toward adult-collectors) or were just too big (sorry, Millennium Falcon). But then, I had a realization.
The first thing Jack asked for when we went into the store was a lightsaber. His face lit up when he saw them — several buckets and a wall’s worth — but I’d said no. I was worried he might hit his younger brother, who’s just nine months old, or act like, well, a three-year-old with it. (To be fair to him, he’ll actually be four very soon.) I stopped and thought about how old I was when I began playing with Star Wars toys and received my first lightsaber. It would’ve been right around his age, and I can still remember what it meant to me. Plus, what kid experiencing something called Star Wars Day at Sea should do so without a lightsaber in hand? I conferred with my wife, who agreed.
“Jack,” I said, calling him over. “You can get a lightsaber. Go pick one out.”
He beamed, running over to check out all the variations. While the traditional red-, blue-, and green-bladed versions were cool, he was wide-eyed with amazement upon picking up Ezra Bridger’s lightsaber from the Star Wars Rebels animated series. The blade extended. It made sounds. It was part blaster.
“I want this one!” he said.
A few minutes later in our room, we freed the toy from its package and Jack ignited his first lightsaber. It was a big moment. For him, but definitely for me, too.
See, a pretty amazing thing happens when you’re a Star Wars superfan and start raising a family: your relationship to the saga changes. And it changes in a rich, rewarding way. Star Wars is no longer something for me to experience on my own; it’s something for me to share and pass down. I’d never felt that more than in that moment.
Read the article in full here.