Tomorrowland – If you walk through the Main Street USA entrance, Stars Tours is the first ride on you right.
After Adventure Thru Inner Space became outdated and was preparing to close, Imagineers envisioned a simulated outer space adventure based on the 1979 film “The Black Hole”. But the enormous cost of the project forced Imagineers to scrap their planning. In 1986, Disney began a partnership with Lucas Arts with the opening of Captain EO, and Imagineers had a new source of inspiration for their ride: Star Wars.
Disney Imagineers worked alongside Lucas’ team to design a simulated flight through the galaxy, built with four military-grade flight simulators. When completed, the original Star Tours ride cost almost twice the construction cost of the original park (roughly $32 million), and the ride became an instant hit.
By the mid 2000’s, the technology used in Star Tours had once again become outdated, and Disney and the Lucas Arts team began planning an updated sequel to the ride. The new ride had the same premise, but included a larger cast of characters and more intergalactic worlds to explore. And after a one-year refurbishment, Star Wars – The Adventures Continue opened to an enthusiastic new generation of Star Wars fans.
Guests begin their Star Tours journey by arriving in the Star Tours flight terminal. A massive board shows scheduled flight times, and the line leads visitors by the retired Starspeeder 1000. Next, guests head through the baggage claim area, and walk through a safety screening infrared camera before finally arriving in the Star Tours lobby. Flight attendants hand guests 3D glasses, and after brief safety instructions, guests board their flight.
C-3PO welcomes his new friends onto their Star Tours flight, and says he is waiting for the pilot so they can begin their trip. But R2-D2 misunderstands C-3PO, and begins the flight sequence. Now C-3PO has no choice but to try and fly the ship himself! To make matters worse, the Empire believes there is a Rebel Spy on board, and the speeder shows a photo of the spy on the monitor (the photo is of a random guest on the speeder, taken by an unseen cast member).
As C-3PO and his passengers race from planet to planet, they encounter numerous Star Wars characters and visit several different planets. There are more than 50 possible combinations of flight paths, ensuring guests have a different experience every time they fly. Once C-3PO escapes the Empire and gains control of the aircraft, the Starspeeder crash lands back at the loading bay.
MY RATING – ★★★★★
Star Tours is so much fun, especially when you are chosen as the rebel spy! Because there are so many combinations of flight paths, you will see both familiar scenes and new scenes almost every time you fly. The aircraft feels remarkably real, and the 3D glasses really make the scenes look larger than life. If you’re a fan of Star Wars or want a high-flying adventure, definitely stop by Star Tours during your trip through Tomorrowland.
Note: I rarely get motion sick, but Star Tours does occasionally make me queasy if I went through one of the bumpier flight paths. If get motion sick easily, consider skipping this ride.
Because Star Tours is so popular, you’ll generally want to obtain a fast pass. Unless you head to Star Tours first thing in the morning or last thing at night (or if you’re visiting on a day when the park isn’t very crowded), definitely go for a fast pass. There is no single rider line for Star Tours, and the waits can get very long when the park is busy.
To celebrate the opening of the original Star Tours ride, guests visited the park in Star Wars costumes, and the park remained open for a 60-hour marathon.
Recognize the voice of the safety spokesdroid? It’s Allison Janney!
Pay close attention to the window in the baggage claim room; very observant visitors will notice a familiar mouse wandering the airport. (Note: this is a rare occurrence, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see him).
The music in the ride is the original score from the movies, composed by John Williams.
If your Starspeeder visits Coruscant, pay close attention; you might notice a billboard with an advertisement for Tomorrowland.