Home > DIsney, Review, Theme Parks > A Long Time Ago, On a Ride Far Far Away…

A Long Time Ago, On a Ride Far Far Away…

It is a period of civil war. Rebel guests, standing in front of a
hidden base, have won their first victory against the Disney

After the battle, Rebel spies managed to get their first look at
Disney’s ultimate ride, STAR TOURS, a 3D update to the
classic Hollywood Studios adventure with enough hype
to destroy a planet.

Pursued by Disney’s cast members, Fawkes Allen races home
aboard his starship, custodian of the knowledge that can tell
you just whether it can save Disney and restore Star Wars …

STAR TOURS! Honestly there’s so much to say about this ride; whether or not it’s good, though it is, is  just the tip of the Star Destroyer. I can’t promise there won’t be spoilers for the adventure I had, but I’ll do my best to keep what I can secret. However with over 50 adventures possible, Star Tours is a ride that won’t get stale quickly.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is an updated version of the classic Star Wars themed simulator ride that can be found in both Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in California. It’s the same old simulator with all new technology, from the ride vehicles themselves to the 3D they added to the experience. It’s set during an earlier period, with the Starspeeder 1000 replacing the 3000 from the original ride. Don’t let that fool you though, it isn’t all Jar-Jar and Pod Races. A few of the adventures take you straight into the battle on Hoth, or even to the Death Star. It manages to neatly combine the Original Trilogy with the New Trilogy with only a modicum of disbelief at how exactly the time periods match up.

References abound all around the Star Tours experience, giving shout outs not only to Star Wars itself but to the original Star Tours. It all begins in the Queue, which for the most part is much closer to the original than I expected. The first two people you meet are of course R2-D2 and C3-PO, both a bit shinier than they were, working on the spiffy new older Starspeeder. The large screen with the interesting 3D and see through screen effect has been sadly replaced, though the new departure screen is crisp and clear in its attempt to make up for that, giving some rather beautiful video on the many locales you can visit.

The back-half of the queue however is a bigger departure, gone is the robot maintenance, replaced instead by luggage and security scans. The talky robot from the original is still around, scanning luggage just as ineptly as you’d expect. There’s some fun references to catch here, including REX himself, the lovable pilot from the original. It’s definitely hard to be angry at the changes when it’s obvious that the Imagineers who worked on the new one held some love for the old. From there you pass through a Body Heat scanner and the security bot before reaching the loading platforms.

This is the first look at the 3D that’ll be used on Star Tours, and it’s nothing like what you’ll find at the Movie Theaters or even around the park. Star Tours is the first in the seemingly new wave of 3D you’ll be seeing in Theme Parks, the same technology coming to Universal Studios soon enough. It uses Dolby 3D, which itself is based on technology from Infitec and is far outside the scope of this article. Suffice to say, the 3D is beyond crisp, clear, and vibrant. You definitely want to look straight on, but unless you make a habit of looking side to side or up and down to watch a film you won’t find any of that overlap you sometimes get from older 3D technology. It just works; it feels natural, and not at all nauseating. The new glasses are comfortable, even with glasses on, as I have and they make you look awesome, as shown in this picture by some lucky guest who managed to get a Photo, the Cast Members were constantly on guard to make sure no one got Cells or Cameras out before the May 20th premiere.

The ride’s big feature, beyond the new technology, is that no two experiences are the same. The ride has multiple possibilities at certain points through the ride, as far as I can tell the only thing that stays the same is your pilot and the way your adventure begins, but even that has a fun surprise. Which isn’t to say you won’t get some repetition. I took two adventures when I went and managed to end my trip on Naboo both times. Everything else was different however, one trip taking me to Hoth, and the other to Tatooine during a Pod Race.

All in all, it’s a top-notch Disney experience, and after a string of less than thrilling attractions from Disney it shows they still have a lot of imagination and innovation left. I look forward to going again after it officially opens on May 20th, kick starting the wonderful Star Wars Weekend. Be sure not to miss out on the live webcast either, starting at 10 EST on Friday, May 20th. You can catch that here. Now if you I’ll excuse me, I have a Rebellion to go help.

May the Force Be With You.

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