Disney’s Star Tours Launches Again

Disney’s Star Tours Launches Again

On Friday, May 20th after eight months of renovations, Hollywood Studios reopened Star Tours, the Star Wars-inspired motion simulator ride, just in time for the first of many Star Wars Weekends which attract thousands of fans to the Disney parks on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays every May and June.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue and its sister ride in Disneyland which reopens in June have been revamped with a new flight path, new characters, state-of-the-art 3-D effects, and even a new line queue. Each ride experience will be a little different as the simulator flies through one of 54 different scene combinations, including a pod race on Tatooine and a visit to Padmé Amidala’s home planet, Naboo.

Sign for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, photograph by Samantha McElhaney

The ride’s grand opening at Hollywood Studios attracted Star Wars executive producer/writer/director George Lucas and Disney CEO Bob Iger, and more Star Wars celebs will be experiencing the ride as official guests in the upcoming Star Wars Weekends, including James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano, Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Ray Park (Darth Maul), and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). For a full list of Star Wars guests and for more about the fan events, visit Star Wars Weekends at Disneyworld.disney.go.

Disney fan Samantha McElhaney rode the ride twice during the week of “test flights” before Friday’s grand opening. As our reporter on the scene, she divulges her experiences riding Star Tours: The Adventures Continue and how the new ride compares with the original Star Tours.

“The old Star Tours ride featured a first-time robot pilot whose only task was to take you to the moon of Endor. Your trip was accidentally taken off course and you end up joining the Rebel Alliance in the attack on the Death Star. Your crew ends up firing the fatal missile that destroys the Death Star. The old ride footage was outdated, had no variations, and the only recognizable characters from the movie were R2-D2 and C-3PO.

The new ride features C-3PO as your accidental pilot. The pre-ride footage shows C-3PO entering the cockpit to examine the machinery, and then he then gets stuck and has to pilot. The ride begins with Storm Troopers scanning your vehicle for a spy from the Rebel Alliance, and the scan shows that there is in fact a spy on board. C-3PO now has to pilot you out of the terminal as quickly as possible. You swerve a little and dodge other ships, and then jump to lightspeed. This opening sequence is always the same. After you jump to lightspeed, you do not know where you will end up as there are 54 possible ride combinations!

The queue for the ride was updated to look more like a terminal while poking fun at the original queue. When you first enter, there is a giant screen that displays flight departures and arrivals and shows the Star Tours company commercials. In that same room, C-3PO and R2-D2 are working on a space vehicle just like the one you are about to ride in. When you turn the corner, there is an area with defective droids, and one of the defective droids is the original ride pilot, and he occasionally says lines from the original ride. You then see a robot whose job it is to check baggage. This robot is kind of a “prequel” to the robot from the original queue line. The original robot in the queue line was in charge of reassembling droids from old parts. The new droid actually pokes fun at that, and says that if he ever has to reassemble droids that he should be reprogrammed first!”

Images from the original Star Tours line queue. Photographs by Samantha McElhaney.

Samantha details her two different ride experiences on the new Star Tours below.

  • Ride Experience 1:
  • Storm Troopers confront our ship
  • We fly through a pod race on Tatooine
  • The ship gets caught in an asteroid belt where Boba Fett chases our ship
  • Yoda is hologrammed onto the ship and asks us to join the Rebel Alliance. He gives us the mission to safely deliver the Rebel Alliance spy who is on board
  • The ship comes face to face with Darth Vader near an uncompleted Death Star
  • We then land on a planet where we were greeted with open arms by members of the Rebel Alliance
  • Ride Experience 2:
  • Storm Troopers confront our ship
  • We fly through a pod race on Tatooine
  • Admiral Ackbar is hologrammed onto the ship and asks us to join the Rebel Alliance. He gives us the mission to safely deliver the Rebel Alliance spy who is on board
  • We land on Naboo and are attacked by Droids
  • We crash land in the waters of Naboo (where Jar Jar Binx lives), almost hit Jar Jar, and fight a giant fish
  • We make it out of the water and land in a ship terminal

Despite its many upgrades and excellent new features and surprises, Star Wars: The Adventures Continue shares one thing in common with its predecessor: the simulation is exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds long, the same length as the original ride.

For those of you lucky enough to ride the new Star Tours, share your experiences below!

May 21, 2011 - Latest News, Theme Parks - Read More

Leave a Reply