Walt Disney World

Lake Buena Vista, FL                                     Opened October 1, 1971



Welcome aboard!  This is Captain Rex from the cockpit.  I know this is probably your first flight and it’s mine too.....


INTRODUCTION

Brent – Walking off the plane at the Orlando airport, I could feel the anticipation increasing.  It had been four years since my last trip to Walt Disney World (one of my favorite places in the world) which meant it had been a long time since I had ridden my favorite ride of all time: Star Tours.  Star Tours is a perfect mix between the Star Wars franchise and the Disney conglomerate; it’s a match made in heaven.  Having ridden Star Tours several times in the past, one would think that I would not be as excited to ride it again, but my anticipation was the same as it was before the first time I was about to ride it.  Although I know the ride like the back of my hand, I knew that Disney World would have a few new additions “up its sleeve” that I was just dying to see.  The following is my review of the different aspects of the Star Tours attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  

THE PRESENTATION  (A)

Brent – One of the aspects I enjoy most about the Star Tours attraction is its presentation.  With a life-sized AT-AT, life-sized Ewok village, Endor bunker, and Tatooine gift shop (known as Tatooine Traders), I could spend hours enjoying myself without even stepping onto the ride itself.  The Endor bunker was a new addition during this trip, with an attached stage for the “Jedi Training” show (will discuss in greater detail further in review).  It seems like every time I take a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, minor changes such as this are added to the presentation of the ride.  I loved this one.

Joey – What makes Disney World (and I’m sure Disneyland) so special is the attention to detail.  Other places you’d just have a ride.  Maybe there would be static props.  Not at Disney.  You get a full blown experience where the queue can be almost as fun as the ride itself.  For Star Tours you walk by an Ewok village and under an AT-AT to just enter the ride.  Once inside you are greeted by Admiral Ackbar and another Mon Calamari looking down at you while ride announcements are pumped in.  As you make your way through the line you see a Starspeeder 3000, your ship, being worked on by R2-D2 and C-3PO.  In the next room droids are “busy” at work and actually talk to the people waiting in line.  A truly unique experience, one that any Star Wars fan will love.

 

THE RIDE  (A-)

Brent – As far the ride goes, no real changes have been made to update it.  Never the less, the entertainment in the line, and the ride itself were as fun as ever!  One aspect I noticed about Disney’s several attractions is their attention to detail.  Star Tours is definitely not an exception.  Although I had ridden Star Tours 40+ times in the past, I was still noticing things I had not in the past. From little droid parts and intercom announcements in the line to minute special effects intricacies in the video of the ride, I had continued to appreciate the amount detail and attention paid to the creation of this ride. 

However, there have been several rumors of Disney updating the Star Tours ride at the Studios.  I have mixed feelings about this.  Part of me believes that the video and special effects of the ride are getting slightly outdated (given that the ride just celebrated its 20th birthday), but the other part of me believes that the Star Tours ride has become a classic that should remain untouched.  Either way, I am sure that the choice Disney makes to change the ride will be the correct one, and I have faith that it will be tastefully accomplished.

Joey – Unfortunately Brent and I did not get to continuously ride the Star Tours attraction.  Our schedule never worked out to be when the line was short.  We got on it 5 or 6 times over the course of the week (well short of our record 14 straight in 2004 and Brent’s record of 20+ in 2002 with his brother Bryan).  It was fun regardless.

I have heard rumors for a while now that the ride will be changing; it is just a matter of when.  I suspect the ride will close in late September or early October of this year.  Some of the rumors say that the ride will be closed for an entire year.  If that is the case it wouldn’t surprise me if the ride closed as soon as Star Wars Weekends 2008 concludes at the end of June.  This would allow the imagineers, Disney, and Lucas to overhaul the ride for Weekends 2009.  Rumored changes to the ride include updated video equipment (high definition or 3D) and new scenarios, one for each movie!

 

JEDI TRAINING ACADEMY  (A-)

Brent – One of the newer additions to the Star Tours attraction is a live show with young children participants called the “Jedi Training Academy”.  This show consisted of a Jedi and his assistant training 6-8 “younglings” the skills of wielding a lightsaber.  For the conclusion of their training, the students had to use the moves they learned to defend themselves against Darth Vader.  The show was both entertaining and funny!  My only criticism is that I was too old to participate in the show! Boo age restrictions.

Joey – This was quite the experience.  Disney had been doing this during Weekends but added permanently within the last year.  I have to agree with Brent that the Endor bunker was a great addition as the platform for the Academy.  The training show was thoughtfully put together with funny improvisation from the “real” Jedi, Darth Vader, and his accompanying Stormtroopers.  The “younglings” seemed to have a blast!

  

THE GIFT SHOP (TATOOINE TRADERS)  (A) 

Brent – The gift shop, Tatooine Traders, is always one of the best parts of the trip (although not the best thing for my bank account).  The presentation of the shop is amazing!  It is a Tatooine hut equipped with its own moisture vaporator and packed with tons of unique Star Wars  I primarily hunt through the racks for items unique to the Star Tours ride.  This year, there seemed to be more unique items than ever before.   Aside from the Disney/Star Wars crossover figures, there were Star Wars mystery mini-figure collector packs, Starspeeder 3000 toy, Hasbro Yoda and Jedi Mickey two-pack, ten different “Disney Racers” cars, a vinyl Yoda doll, plush Ewok doll, and a menagerie of Star WarsStar Tours collector pins.  However one of the coolest new items at the gift shop was a build-your-own lightsaber booth.  This is one of the most clever new parts of the Star Tours attraction.  One could customize his or her own lightsaber given the several parts to choose from, along with customizing blade color and crystals.  Upon completing your lightsaber you were issued an exclusive pin given to those who make a lightsaber.  There are two available, a Jedi and a Sith.  You’ll have to make two lightsabers if you want both!  This was a Star Wars nerd’s heaven!

Joey – Ditto for me.  Tatooine Traders is a great place to find some of the newest Star Wars memorabilia and one of the only places to grab the latest Disney Star Wars exclusives.  The prices can be a bit outlandish but at times inconsistent.  The figures are $10.  This is above normal retail (~$7) but still the same price as they were 6 years ago.  Strange.  Basically you’re getting more bang for your buck now than you were when you purchased an RX-24 figure (Captain Rex) in 2002.  Figures in 2002 were about $5 and you were paying $10 in the Disney parks.  Now figures are $7 (possibly $8 this summer) yet Disney figures are still $10.  Anyway, there is a wide selection of items.  The collector pack mini-figures are a cool twist.  Perhaps the best part of Tatooine Traders (and any Disney store) is that the staff is pleasant and ALWAYS restocking.  It’s safe to say that if something is gone on one day it will be back within a few hours.

I hope you enjoyed our little exposé on the Disney Star Wars/Star Tours experience.  Be sure to check it out the next time you’re in The Happiest Place in the World!

 

Braaaaaaaaaaaaakes!!!  Hey!  Sorry folks!  I'm sure I'll do better next time!  It was my first flight and I'm still getting use to my programming!

  

CREATED: May 20, 2008                                UPDATED: May 20, 2008

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STAR TOURS at Rebelscum