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Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

By Jon de Burgh Miller on 19 May 2011

The latest chapter in the Star Wars saga arrives this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World as Star Tours: The Adventures Continue blasts off to all new destinations.

Replacing the old 1980s Star Tours ride, which took passengers on an aborted flight to Endor (and can still be seen at Disneyland Paris), the new ride has had a 21st century 3D digital makeover to turn a worn out attraction showing its age into the hottest ticket in town.

Created under the close supervision of George Lucas, the new ride takes place at some point between the two trilogies, when the Empire is at its height and the Rebel Alliance is throwing everything it has at the fight. In the middle of all this, interplanetary travel company Star Tours is doing its best to run regular flights to various planets from the Star Wars universe, but trips don’t always go to plan.

Whereas the old ride didn’t have much of a storyline, the new ride cleverly seeds one through the attraction. Stars of the show, R2D2 and C-3PO are present in the queue line, as before, only this time Threepio wonders why Captain Antilles loaned them to Star Tours. There are also rumours flying around that rebel spies are everywhere. All this paves the way for the storyline of the ride itself which sees guests fleeing from Darth Vader and the Empire and becoming part of the Rebel Alliance.

Unlike the previous incarnation of the ride, this time many characters from the trilogies make cameo appearances. Princess Leia, Yoda, Boba Fett, even Jar Jar Binks, can all be found at various points. This works to engage the audience like never before, and allows for far more jokes and laughs than were present previously.

Beyond the new crystal clear screen and projection system, and the awesome 3D, the main highlight of the new ride is the multiple destinations you can visit. From podracing on Tatooine to fighting the Empire on Hoth, there are 52 different ride combinations and six different planets (you visit two each ride), each of which more exhilarating, crammed with detail and exciting than anything in the old ride.

A minor fanboy nitpick could be that the battle of Hoth and the battle for Naboo shouldn’t really be in the same time-frame, but it only takes a little creativity to justify the anachronisms. Overall it sits nicely between the two trilogies, and the sight of the under-construction Death Star over Geonosis is a real thrill for the fanboys.

So far the ride seems to be a hit with all ages. Kids primarily familiar with The Clone Wars TV series will enthusiastically guess where their Starspeeder would end up, as will their parents who would have had the same excitement about the original trilogy films when they were kids. It really shows off the cross-generational appeal of Star Wars, and thus is a perfect fit for Walt Disney World.

Technologically impressive, with a good plot, fun jokes and thrilling ride combinations, Lucas and Disney have done a really great job making Star Tours now one of the world’s best theme park attractions now, and a must-do for any Star Wars fan.

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By Jon de Burgh Miller

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