Adventures of a Lost Boy in Disneyland (Part 1): Star Tours: the Adventures Continue

When the original Star Tours opened in 1987, it was a revolution. Motion simulators were military grade technology that had not really come into use in any sort of consumer use at that point in time. It was also the first time that Disney had ever put a property that was not created by the studio into one of their parks, which continued with the openings of other George Lucas related attractions like the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye/Crystal Skull.

Star Tours was a fantastic attraction, but it eventually grew stagnant after over a decade of absolutely no changes, so Disney decided a complete redesign of the whole experience that could both keep the original fans, but also bring in new fans to the experience. The original Star Tours closed in 2010 to make way for the new and improved Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. One of the aspects of the first Star Tours that made it so amazing was the fact that the film in the attraction did not have any visible cuts. It was a completely seamless experience that greatly added to the realism of the experience.

What is amazing about Star Tours: the Adventures Continue is that there are so many different versions of the ride and all of them flow perfectly between each other. In the new Star Tours, there are 6 destinations that you travel to (2 different ones in each ride) (the 6 planets are Hoth, Kashyyyk, or the ever elusive Tatooine (this is apparently the rarest planet to get) for the first half and Coruscant, Geonosis, and Naboo), two different introductions, and three different messages in between the destinations. All of them seamlessly go from one another and the film is perfect. The 3D really added a lot to the experience with things like guns on the StarSpeeder 1000 being actually part of the film, and the 3D makes it so that the guns look like they are attached to the ship. Disney even has brand new 3D glasses for the attraction instead of those old uncomfortable square ones. These new glasses are much more ergonomic and sit on your head better while having upgraded lenses that make the 3D seem to pop even more.

The queue is largely the same as the original attraction, but with numerous enhancements. The StarSpeeder in the first room used to be a StarSpeeder 3000, but now is a 1000 model to respond to the fact that Star Tours: the Adventures Continue is a prequel. The Imagineers really jumped on the idea that Star Tours is an airport for space and ran with it. There is now a luggage scanning droid and a security droid (voiced by Patrick Warburton). At Disneyland, both of these droids are very close to each other in the queue and I actually didn’t even see the luggage scanning droid until the second time I rode, which is disappointing as there is an 18 minute loop of his scanning and it is chock full of Disney references. Be on the lookout for a defective Captain Rex on the right hand side of the queue. It’s all very familiar, but very fresh and different. Even the pre-show video is exceptionally familiar. It was made specifically to be heavily reminiscent of the one from the original ride and it does a very good job of making the attractions feel heavily linked.

Inside the Magic has a video of the full loop of the Luggage Security Droid:

I was only able to ride the attraction twice when I was out at Disneyland. When my mom and I got to Disneyland before the park actually opened, there was already a line forming down Main Street for the attraction and by the time we got to the attraction itself, there was already a 45 minute wait and the line for the FastPasses was already just about as long as the wait for the ride itself. As much as I wanted to ride the attraction, I didn’t want to spend my entire day waiting for it (the same can be said for waiting for the Rapunzel meet-and-greet).

The attraction has C-3PO accidentally thrust into the captains seat after mistakenly sealing himself into the cockpit during some routine maintenance. From there, he is forced to pilot your StarSpeeder 1000 (and the Rebel Spy that was placed in the cabin) to safety and away from the Empire and Darth Vader. The destinations you travel to are randomized and there are 54 different combinations, but the attraction is completely modular, so Imagineering and Industrial Light and Magic can make more segments and switch segments in and out over the coming years to keep the attraction continuously fresh. The first time I rode the attraction, I got the Stormtrooper intro, Kashyyyk, a message from Yoda, and Coruscant. The second time was the same intro, Hoth, message from Leia, and Naboo.

Kashyyyk is definitely the funniest destination, what with Chewbacca literally crashing into the windshield of the StarSpeeder 1000 and falling off the front. The scene continues with speeder bike and wookie transport chases. Coruscant is a very action packed scene with numerous battles between the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Clone Troopers, weaving through traffic, dogfights, and Buzz Droids on the city planet. This was my favourite of the back three destinations, and it shows off the larger range of movement from the enhanced flight simulator vehicles exceptionally well. Hoth was definitely the best destination in the entire attraction. The StarSpeeder takes part in the battle of Hoth, complete with AT-AT’s, and then crashes into a mountain and slides down the hill, almost falling into a chasm in the process. Naboo was amusing, but it was definitely the weakest of the destinations I have seen. When the StarSpeeder arrives at the planet, the ship is immediately under attack from Trade Federation ships over Theed and crash lands into a lake and travels to Otoh Gunga. The Gungans lead the StarSpeeder through the planet’s core and onto safety after meeting some giant carnivorous fish.

Star Tours: the Adventures Continue is a fantastic attraction that definitely deserves to hold the Star Tours name, and is so good that I don’t mind not having access to the original Star Tours anymore unless I want to go overseas to Disneyland Paris or Tokyo Disneyland. The attraction is familiar, but completely different, and if Disney keeps the attractions systems working perfectly and keeps the film itself fresh by switching things around, this is definitely an attraction that can stay around for many decades into the future.

Disneyland trip reports will be coming out on Wednesdays and other scheduled content will be coming out on Saturdays (and this week will have absolutely nothing to do with Disney).

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