Star Tours: The Adventure Continues

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Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Startoursadvposter.jpg
The attraction poster for Star Tours: The Adventure Continues.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Theme Star Wars
Opening date May 20, 2011 (as Star Tours: The Adventure Continues)
December 15, 1989 (the original Star Tours)
Ride duration 4:30 minutes
Type Motion simulator
Fastpass + Yes (Group B)
Sponsored by SMS Audio (2015-Present)

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues is motion simulator attraction located in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Attraction History

Star Tours (1989-2010)

The creation of what would eventually be known as Star Tour: The Adventure Continues actually began in Disneyland [1]. In 1984, then Disney CEO Michael Eisner wanted to find a way to attract the teenage demographic back to the park[1]. Disneyland had been losing guest attendance to other theme parks in the area, and Eisner was determined to "update" Disneyland by replacing some of its more dated attractions[1]. One such attraction, Adventure through Inner Space was an obvious candidate for replacement. Built during the space race, the attraction had begun to show its age[1].

While Eisner was looking to renovate Disneyland, Imagineer Charles Bright was studying flight simulators in the United Kingdom[1]. Although Disney had planned on a motion simulator attraction in 1976 for the proposed Discovery Bay expansion, the technology was seen as too primitive to be feasible[1]. Now however, using motion simulation was a real possibility and Disney began making plans for an outer space attraction or an undersea adventure[1].

While rough plans were being made for the motion simulator attraction, Michael Eisner invited George Lucas to visit the Imagineering department[1]. Eisner had known Lucas since is his days at Paramount Pictures and he wanted the director's help in attracting more teens to the park[1]. When Lucas saw the plans for the outer space flight simulator, he agreed to work on the project. As part of the partnership, Disney agreed to give Lucas a percentage of the merchandising fees from the ride, as well as a six million dollar fee to create the film for the attraction[1]. After reaching an agreement, Lucas told the press that if he was going to work on a theme park attraction wanted it to be a Disney attraction. Lucas’ motion simulator project was then given a 27 million dollar budget and a November 1986 opening date[1].

The original plot for the space motion simulator focused on an intergalactic travel agency. The attraction itself would be housed within a spaceport, and star R2-D2 and C-3PO from the Star Wars franchise[1]. A new character, known as RX-24 (or Rex) would pilot the attraction. The initial film created by George Lucas's ILM was 20 minutes long, and featured various special effects[1]. The film was then cut down to three minutes, before it was changed again to a four minute film[1].

During construction four 40 person simulator cabins were dropped in through the roof, before being sealed inside[1]. Although the construction started smoothly, the attraction soon ran into a series of delays. The first problem Imagineers faced, was that they could not get the motion simulator to synchronize with the film properly[1]. Then, it was discovered that the roof of the building would need to be raised, meaning that the structural work of the building would also have to be redone. Furthermore, George Lucas decided that the audio systems in the ride vehicles would need upgrading at the cost of another $100,000. Despite being over budget and 3 months late, Star Tours eventually opened to the public in Disneyland on January 9, 1987[1].

Due to the huge success of Star Tours in Disneyland, it was eventually decided that Imagineers would add the attraction to Disney World's newest park, the Disney MGM Studios[1]. Although the Studios was originally envisioned as a half day park, Disney executives were worried that the park did not have the capacity for the projected crowds. In order to fit in with the Studios’ theming, the exterior of Disney World's Star Tours was designed to look like both a stage and a movie set[1]. The attraction itself was a copy of the Disneyland version, but the capacity of the ride was increased by 50%. Due to the attraction's late addition, Star Tours did not open until December 15, 1989[1].

The first change to Star Tours came in 1999. Initially, the attraction's exit store was designed to look like an Imperial Bunker[1]. In 1999, the store was expanded, and rethemed[1]. When the store reopened on September 10, 1999 it was known as Tatooine Traders. In 2007, the entrance to the attraction was also changed when a permanent Jedi Training Academy stage was built[1].

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (2010-Present)

Beginning in the late 1990s, there was constant speculation that Star Tours would be getting a new film. In fact, prior to the release of Star Wars Episode I, Disney World spokesman Craig Dezern stated the company had a "verbal agreement" with George Lucas about creating a new film for the attraction [2]. Next, in April 2005, George Lucas confirmed that “Star Tours II” was in production [3]. Disney finally acknowledged the update at the 2009 D23 Expo, and also informed guests that the current version of Star Tours would be closing in October of 2010, before reopening in 2011 [4].

On August 14, 2010, Walt Disney World held the "Last Tour to Endor" event, exclusively for Celebration V (a Star Wars convention) attendees [5]. At the event, Star Tours was officially "powered down". Instead of R2-D2 shutting down the ride as intended however, Bobba Fett "blew up" the soon to be closed attraction using a thermal detonator [6].

The original Star Tours closed for good on September 8, 2010. The next big announcement regarding the Star Tours update came in October 2010 when the new character “Ace” (the attractions new pilot) and a droid named Aly San San were revealed [7]. Construction on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues started almost immediately, and the attraction opened to the public on May 20, 2011. The new attraction features more than 30 different experiences, a high definition screen, and an improved motion simulator [8].

On March 26, 2015 it was announced that SMS Audio would become the official sponsor of Star Tours: The Adventure Continues as part of a wider agreement with Disney Parks and Resorts [9]. On November 16, 2015, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues received a new experience based on the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens [10] . At this time, characters from the film were added to the attraction, as was a new scene featuring Jakku [10].

Attraction Plot

Original Star Tours (1989-2010)

The original Star Tours took place sometime during the original Star Wars series, possibly following the events of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Preshow

The preshow for the original Star Tours, was themed to look like a galactic travel agency, as guests were about to take a trip to Endor (although posters around the room advertised services to various planets). Inside the preshow, guests could see R2-D2 and C-3PO working as Starspeeder maintenance workers. C-3PO informed guests that R2-D2 would be traveling with them on their trip to Endor. R2 and C-3PO then seemed to be inferring that something was wrong with the ship they were working on, although nothing specific was mentioned. While the droids were talking, an advertisement appeared on a large screen in the room. A male announcer then told guests:

Star Tours is now offering convenient daily

departures to the exotic moon of Endor. Come spend a afternoon or the entire day with the lovable Ewoks, in their charming tribal villages. It's a fun filled visit you and your family will remember forever! Just ask for the Endor Express. Available only from Star Tours. Non-stop flights leave ever few minutes, so don't delay. Visit Endor today.

C-3PO commented that Endor had certainly changed since the last time they were there. He then mentioned that on their last visit to the planet, he thought they were doomed for sure, but that in the end they survived. After a short exchange with R2-D2, a female announcer informed guests that flight 55 (guests’ flight) was now ready for boarding at gate number 3.

R2-D2 and C-3PO next did a systems check on the ship they were working on. Following a slight scare with the laser system, C-3Po once again told guests that he wishes he was going with them to Endor. After this exchange, guests moved into a second room, where more repair droids were station. On the way, guests pass by the Starspeeder that they would soon by riding in.

Inside the next room, guests met the droids G214 and G219. These robots interacted with guests and informed them about the Starspeeder. Following the interaction with the droids, a cast member explained the boarding process, and informed guests that they will be boarding in a few moments. Following one more announcement, guests boarded their Starspeeder.

Main Ride

The original Star Tours began, with the robot pilot (Rex), informing guests that this was his first flight, and that they were traveling to Endor, with R2-D2 as their navigator.

As the ship took off warning sirens began to sound, as apparently Rex has inadvertently sent the ship in the wrong direction. The starship then hectically maneuvered through a maintenance bay, narrowly avoiding being crushed in the processes. Finally, Rex was able to navigate the ship out of the bay and into space. He then told R2-D2 to put the ship into light speed, so that it could reach Endor. After jumping out of light speed, Rex nervously exclaimed, "We've passed the Endor moon!" Unfortunately, instead of reaching their destination safely, guests had been taken into the middle of a comet field. After a series of close calls, Rex was able to get out of the field. He then assured guests that they would soon be on their way to Endor without any further delays. Right on cue however, the Starspeeder ran into a large Star Destroyer, one of the capital ships in the Empire's fleet.

Rex, the original Star Tours pilot.

Guests Starspeeder was quickly caught in the Star Destroyer's tractor beam, and the ship was slightly damaged. Fortunately, a rebel fighter flew by and freed guests from the tractor beam by shooting its generator. Rex then followed the rebel ships as they launched an attack on the Empire's Death Star. Rex participated in the battle with the Death Star, which concluded with a rebel destroyed the ship in the same manner that Luke Skywalker did in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Rex, along with the rest of the rebel fighters, then jumped into light speed. The jump to light speed took guests back to the spaceport where the attraction started, with guests narrowly avoiding a collision with a fuel truck. Finally, after landing guests disembarked.

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (2010-Present)

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues takes place in-between the events of Episode III and Episode IV of Star Wars.

Opening Crawl

At the grand opening of Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, an opening crawl was shown to give guests the background for the attraction's plot. The crawl said:

It has been a long time

since the end of the Clone Wars, and the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader continues to tighten his grip on the Empire as the galaxy moves closer to the brink of a great civil war.

A new intergalactic spaceline, Star Tours, seeks to preserve unrestricted intergalactic travel in this age of tyranny. Freedom fighter Captain Raymus Antilles has assigned two droids See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo, to help launch the spaceline, fueling Imperial suspicion that Star Tours is part of the Rebel Alliance.

Star Tours is about to open its first intergalactic space terminal in the Earth System as rumors of a fearsome weapon of mass destruction dash all hope for peace and freedom in the galaxy..."

Preshow and Queue

In Star Tour: The Adventure Continues, guests are once again given the role of space tourists, at some point between Star Wars Episode III and Episode IV, Star Tours: The Continues takes place before the original Star Tours attraction.

When guests enter the queue for Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, they pass by a large LCD screen which shows advertisements for Star Tours. Some of these commercials are hosted by the droid Aly San San, while other messages give information such as flight lists. C-3PO and R2-D2 are also present, repairing a StarSpeeder 1000 (an older model of the vehicle depicted in the original Star Tours).

Continuing on, guests pass by Droid Customs where RX-24 (who will eventually be the pilot of Star Tours) can be found. A sticker on RX-24 reads "Defective: return to factory". Following Droid Customs, guests see G2-4T (another droid) who screens passengers as they walk by. Following this, guests reach the boarding area, where they are introduced to AC-38 or Ace. In order to make a repair on the ship's binary motivator, C-3PO decides he needs to sit in the pilot's seat. Ace, who is inspecting the outside of the ship, gets called away. After guests watch a safety video hosted by Aly San San, the ship guests are takes off without its captain. This mistake, leads to C-3PO and R2-D2 becoming the ship's captains.

Scene 1: Spaceport Escape

Due to the random nature of the Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, there are two different scenes that guests can initially experience. In both scenes, guests (captained by C-3PO and R2-D2) are trying to leave the Spaceport.

Darth Vader

One of the scenes that guests can first experience in the new Star Tours, depicts Darth Vader and a team of stormtroopers trying to stop the ship from leaving. On the right, a video screen shows one guest who has been identified as a rebel spy. Although Darth Vader tries to use the force to stop the ship from leaving, R2-D2 eventually shoots him, freeing the ship. The StarSpeeder then makes its escape by leaving the hanger backwards, even as its being chased by TIE fighters. After getting outside of the hanger, guests escape past Star Destroyers and jump into hyperspace.

Darth Vader as he appears in Star Wars: The Adventure Continues.

Han Solo

In this scene, the Starspeeder that guests are in is stationed next to Han Solo and his Millennium Falcon. While Solo gets into a fight with stormtroopers, the StarSpeeder is scanned and one of the guests is identified as a rebel spy. After the spy has been identified, the StarSpeeder follows the Millennium Falcon as it makes its escape from the hanger. Outside, the StarSpeeder and the Falcon fly past a Star Destroyer before jumping to hyperspace.

Scene 2: Planet 1

After exiting hyperspace, guests arrive at one of three planets. Once again the scene that guests expereince is randomly chosen.

Hoth

One of the scenes that guests can experience takes place on the planet Hoth. After exiting hyperspace and reaching the planet, guest's StarSpeeder follows a group of SnowSpeeders as they attack an AT-AT. During the battle, the StarSpeeder enters the combat zone, ignoring orders. The ship then hits the ground and slides down a snowy mountain, before C3-PO is able to re-engage the ship's engines, which allow the ship to escape back into space.

Kashyyyk

If guests land on the planet Kashyyyk, they find themselves caught in the middle of a speeder bike chase through a forest. As Imperials soldiers chase Wookies throughout the area, Chewbacca swings into the scene on a vine, crashing into the StarSpeeder’s windshield. Following the collision, the StarSpeeder leaves the planet and heads back into space.

Tatooine

The third planet that guests can land on is Tatooine. Here, the StarSpeeder finds itself in the Boonta Eve Podrace. During the race, the StarSpeeder collides with another Podracer, and the two ships get stuck together. After winning the Podrace by beating out the Sebulba (another Podracer), the StarSpeeder detaches itself from the Podracer and heads back into space.

Jakku

EDITORS NOTE: Currently all guests on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues visit the planet Jakku. Disney has said that in the future Jakku will be randomized along with the other destinations.

In 2015 the planet Jakku was added to Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. In this scene, the StarSpeeder arrives on the plane Jakku where it narrowly misses an explosion. The ship then follows the Millennium Falcon, which is being flown by Finn, who asks "Star Tours what are you doing here?". The StarSpeeder and Falcon are both attacked by TIE fighters while flying over the desert. The StarSpeeder then crashes into the grounded Star Destroyer, where they briefly see Rey. After alien scavengers take the Star Torus logo off of the ship, the StarSpeeder then flies out of the crashed ship and receives a transmission.

Hologram Message

Following the StarSpeeder's escape back into space, the ship receives a hologram message from either Yoda, BB8, Princess Leia, or Admiral Gial Ackbar. The ship and its passengers are tasked with getting the rebel spy safely to a rendezvous point. Whoever gives guests this task also sends the coordinates for the meeting to R2-D2.

Scene 3: Planet 2

After once again jumping into hyperspace, guests can arrive at one of three planets. Once again, the destination is randomly chosen.

Coruscanat

The first planet that guests can arrive on is the planet Coruscanant. When the StarSpeeder emerges from hyperspace, it finds itself in the middle of a battle in the planet's upper atmosphere. During the battle, a team of buzz droids attack the StarSpeeder, attaching themselves to the windshield. R2-D2 is able to use an electric shock to blast most of them off, while others fall off during the battle. After getting rid of the droids, the ship descends down to the planet, where it frantically dodges various flying vehicles. After many narrow misses, the StarSpeeder screeches to a halt on a landing platform, narrowly missing a fuel tanker (a reference to the original Star Tours) and crashing into a maintenance droid.

Naboo

Alternatively, guests can arrive at the planet of Naboo, which is being attacked by the Trade Federation armies. After a brief battle over the city of Theed, the StarSpeeder travels underwater. After passing the city of Otoh Gunga (where guests briefly see Jar Jar Binks) the ship heads towards the planets’ core. Here, vicious fish attack the ship. After returning the planet’s surface, the ship flies into a hangar filed with StarFighter parts. When landing, the Starspeeder crashes into a the tail of a fighter ship, breaking its windshield. The scene concludes with a repair droid (who is angry about the crash) falling into the cockpit.

Geonosis

The final scene guests can see takes place in the orbit of the planet Geonosis. Here, the StarSpeeder flies near the unfinished Death Star. While flying through an asteroid field, the Starspeeder is attacked by Bobba Fett who is aboard his ship the Slave I. The StarSpeeder then dodges Fett's attack (and asteroids) before entering the Death Star. After emerging from the ship, Fett fires a sonic bomb at the StarSpeeder, which R2-D2 is able to deflect by using the ship’s lasers. The deflected blast injures Boba, allowing the StarSpeeder to once again jump into hyperspace. The StarSpeeder then reaches the rebel fleet, where it lands aboard the Mon Calamari Cruiser. Here, the Rebel Alliance leaders congratulate the crew on their successful mission.

Cast

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues [11]

C-3PO- Anthony Daniels

Darth Vader (Voice)- James Earl Jones

Chewbacca- Peter Mayhew

Yoda (Voice)- Frank Oz

Admiral Ackbar- Tom Kane

Princess Leia- Carrie Fisher

Boba Fett (Voice)- Dee Bradley Baker

G2-9T- Tom Fitzgerald

Gungan Captain (Voice)- Fred Tatasciore

Aly San San (Voice)- Allison Janney

RX-24 (Voice)- Paul Reubens

G2-4T (Voice) - Patrick Warburton

AC-38 (Voice)- Lindsay Schnebly

Finn-John Boyega

Rey-Daisy Ridley

Star Tours (Original) [12]

R2-D2- Kenny Baker

Teek- Niki Botelho

Planetary Destinations Announcer- Brian Cummings

C3p0- Anthony Daniels

Wicket- Warwick Davis

G2-9T- Tom Fitzgerald

Red Leader- Steve Gawley

Star Tours Technition- Ira Keeler

Chewbacca- Peter Mayhew

Star Tours Mechanic -Dennis Muren

RX-24- Paul Ruebens

Pre-Show Announcer- Stephanie Taylor

G2-4T- Mike West

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • The idea of going to the planet Kashyyyk in Star Tours: The Adventure Continues was suggested by John Lasseter (the head of Pixar) [13].
  • When the droid scans guests in the queue for Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, two of the images that flash by are pictures of John Lasseter and George Lucas.
  • In the scene on the planet Coruscant, guests can see a billboard with an advertisement for Tomorrowland on it [14].
  • The four original flight simulators that Disney used in Star Tours cost approximately $500,000 each.
  • Although interested in the project, John Williams (the composer for the Star Wars film series) declined to score both Star Tours and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues.
  • Archival footage of Carrie Fischer was used for Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Adventure Continues, although Fischer re-recorded her characters dialog.
  • The flight guests are on in Star Tours: The Adventure Continues is Flight 1401. This is a reference to the address of Imagineering's office 1401 Flower St in Glendale, CA [14].
  • The second droid guests come upon in the queue is voiced by Soarin' host Patrick Warburton. The droid quotes lines from Soarin's preshow video such as “place all carryons in the overhead compartments” and “nice work pal" [14]
  • On the planet Hoth guests are told “Don’t move a muscle" as the ship teeters on the edge of a canyon. This is a reference to Mission: Space which features the same line after guests land on Mars [14].

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 http://www.martinsvids.net/?p=663
  2. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/star-tours/news/23oct1998-george-lucas-and-disney-discussing-refurbishment-of-star-tours.htm
  3. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/star-tours/news/25apr2005-george-lucas-comments-on-star-tour-changes.htm
  4. http://www.studioscentral.com/attractions/star-tours/news/star-tours-2-announced-d23-expo
  5. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/07/star-wars-last-tour-to-endor-party-is-august-14-at-disney%E2%80%99s-hollywood-studios/
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAYKO-0QHDQ
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jQaHgsKhQ4
  8. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-01-19/the-daily-disney/os-daily-disney-star-tours-open-date-20110119_1_star-tours-episodes-iii-disney-dream
  9. http://smsaudio.com/pages/press-releases-as-blog
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://attractionsmagazine.com/new-star-wars-force-awakens-scene-added-star-tours-hollywood-studios/
  11. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1643247/
  12. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094029/
  13. https://www.mouseplanet.com/9904/Taking_a_Trip_on_Star_Tours
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 http://thedisneyblog.com/2011/06/03/star-tours-inside-jokes-tributes-remnants-homages/