Saturday, May 21, 2011

Star Tours: My Adventure Continues

My adventure continued unexpectedly the other day. After checking my wait times app, I noticed that for Hollywood Studios, Star Tours was registering a time. I asked around at Epcot, and as seemed to be the rule of the week-long vacation I took (to go to the place I work), I got a lousy answer that left me back at where I started. The only way to find out if the ride was indeed open would have to be to check it myself.

Your Starspeeder awaits
So, me and my girlfriend who was visiting headed over to Hollywood Studios from Epcot. (To emphasize how slow those friendship boats are, we missed the one leaving from Epcot, so we went to the bathroom, then walked to the Swan and Dolphin and caught the same boat. But that’s besides the point) We walked into Hollywood Studios, walked over to the area where Star Tours is, and were greeted with a glowing red wait time sign reading “45 minutes.” Hoorah! The new attraction was having its soft opening!

So we got in the queue, and waited. It was boring until we got inside, and were greeted by the new queue. It looked pretty much the same as the old one (at least Disneyland’s old one, I don’t know what the old Hollywood Studios queue looked like), except much shinier, and with that new carpet smell.

Looks are about where the similarities started and ended. The new screen advertising the different destinations Star Tours offered, as well as flight statues, was crisp and gorgeous, advertising all the new destinations available that the adventure is being continued.

IN the second part of the queue, I noticed Rex, the old Star Tours pilot droid voiced by Paul Reubens, sitting in a box labeled “defective,” waiting to be shipped back to the manufacturer. It was one of those touches that makes Disney stand out above the rest.

Move up the queue, and there were silouhettes of different inhabitants of the Star Wars universe walking by, boarding their Starspeeders. Before that, there’s a hilarious little robot performing baggage checks, who talks to the queue about himself, his desires, and the contents of the baggage he’s inspecting. In front of him sits a screen, showing those in the queue the contents of the bags, which includes things like Indiana Jone’s hate, the Incredible’s suits, and many other Disney references, making it wholly entertaining. After that, there’s a droid taking infared shots of people in the queue, adding a slightly interavtive element, like the green-screen at the end of Magic Kingdom’s “Space Mountain.”

Then there’s the actual attraction. Before boarding, a video is show of what’s going on outside your star Starspeeder as it gets ready to take off. Some droids provide a bit of slapstick humor as they try to clean the Starspeeder. Then, C-3PO goes in to fix some problems with something that has to do with binary, replacing the pilot in the pilots seat, and becomes stuck in the cabin. This is when you’re greeted by Aly, voiced by Allison Janney, who tells you the business (don’t take pictures, smoke, yada yada.) You then board your Star Speeder and the Adventure begins.

C-3PO greets you in the queue
First off, there are two options, you either get stopped by Storm Troopers or Darth Vader, both of whom are looking for a Rebel Spy who happens to be on your star speeder. This rebel spy could be you, as a picture is taken of someone in the Starspeeder and used in the ride. This got a good laugh the five times I went on the ride, and is a great way to make each tour through the universe seem unique and personal. Then you take off to a Tatooine, Hoth, Kashyyyk, the Death Star, Naboo or Corsucant leave the planet, get a transmission of either Princess Leia, Yoda or Admiral Ackbar, then take off to one of the aforementioned planets that you haven’t visited yet. The order is always interception, planet, transmission, planet, but different combinations are possible, making there 50-something possibilities, all of which you can log on your Star Tours passport at on your mobile. Take advantage of that. It’s cool, at least to me, but I like to keep everything recorded.

Congratulations! You’ve made it this far. You must really be interested in Star Tours. My thoughts on the ride are: it’s a gigantic improvement on the last Star Tours, which was great for its time, but desperately needed an upgrade. It got one worthy of the Star Wars and Star Tours names. There was a family that rode behind us our second ride, and it was there first time. They went into the ride apprehensive, sighting the aged style of the original, and they came out of it ecstatic. I was also ecstatic that second time because it was completely different than the first. The third-through-fifth times repeated certain aspects, but were never exactly the same. Though I never got a transmission from Yoda, which I was disappointed about.

By the fourth time I went on the attraction in a row, I was also pretty darn nauseous, as was my girlfriend. The combination of 3D and motion simulation gave my head quite a spin. So watch out for that. The new attraction was amaing though, especially since the wait got down to nothing by the end of the night, and I got to go on it before it’s official opening. In the future, I know the ride will be one that’s fun to repeat during a week or so long vacation. Going on it four times in a row, the repeats got a little tired, but over a couple of days, the ride will no doubt stay engaging. It’ll be a great addition to the ride-barren Hollywood Studios, and be just another cherry on top for Disneyland when it opens there in June.  


  1. Thanks for the report! I can't wait to hit this one myself in two weeks! I've been waiting for them to upgrade this one forever.

  2. I'm soooo excited for this new revamp! Thanks for all of the details; I'm glad to hear the new programs give the Star Wars series justice and that it sounds like it's still mostly based off of the original 70's films? (which far surpass the newer editions). I also love the thought of the rebel spy picture--that's so awesome! I hope the new queue in Disneyland is just as engaging, although my memory tells me it was always extremely entertaining to walk through in the first place.