While I think I covered the new Star Tours in the early days of the website last year, I can’t find it. And, even if I did, I’m doing it again. What can you do about it? Nothing, that’s what!
While it’s the far-inferior movie studio-based theme park in the Central Florida area, Disney Hollywood Studios is home to Star Tours. Opened months after the opening of the original Disney MGM Studios in 1989, the ride received a major update just last year. So, all that’s old is new again.
The original storyline had guests making a trip to Endor, and this concept is still showcased in the attractions exterior queue. Based on an Ewok village, you can hear the drumbeats of the furry creatures as a 1/3 scale AT-AT tries to bust up their Yub Nub festivities.
Once inside the building, you enter the terminal of a distant Spaceport where you prepare to visit a far off planet. In the first queue room, a maintenance area, you see R2-D2 and C-3P0 working on a Starspeeder. Take a look up-above and you’ll find a pair of Mon Calamari working in a control room. The second room is a luggage inspection area. For those of you who remember the original version of Star Tours, look out for Rex – the Starspeeder pilot from the original ride, now left in a scrapheap. The luggage inspection droid is a riot, and it’s fun to peer inside the luggage with him. Also, take a look up in the window as other passengers pass by.
At this point you approach the gates. I won’t spoil the actual ride itself. Just note that it’s unlikely you’ll experience the ride the same way twice. The ride features trips to several different planets which are randomly selected and includes Tatooine, Coruscant, and the infamous Death Star.
Once outside, the surrounding area offers some activities. In the store you can create your own lightsaber while the younglings can test their skills against the Dark Lord himself at the Jedi Training Academy.
For those of you who rode the ride before the 2011 renovation, it’s mostly the same. The ride system and such is identical to the original ride, while the digital 3-D and different scenes are epic. I do miss the original film, which featured the model-based sets from the Holy Trilogy; the new videos utilize the overly CGI animation of the prequels (that includes the Death Star run, which is very similar to the original ride). But, the differing scenes and smoother ride movement does make the ride a must-do for any geek visiting Disney World.
Star Tours is located in the Echo Lake section of Disney Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort.