To say that Disneyland's old Star Tours ride (which originally opened in the park in 1987) was a little dated doesn't even begin to do it justice.
Sure, some of the park's attractions are brought back with an admitted sense of nostalgia attached to them. Occasionally, enough time has passed for them to become kitschy and "cool again." Other times, all it takes is the unexpected death of a pop icon to give Disney a kick in the proverbial nostalgic pants: Captain EO was brought back to Disneyland in July 2010, a little more than one year after Michael Jackson's death and sixteen years after it was first pulled amidst Jackson's sex scandals.
But the old Star Tours ride was different. And what wonders will the new Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ride behold?
Towards the end there, Star Tours felt neither nostalgic nor kitschy nor "cool again." It was dated in a bad way, even down to the Pee-wee Herman-esque robot pilot Captain RX-24 (as voiced by Paul Reubens). Even beyond that, it was scary. The ride sounded like it was literally going to fall apart. It felt fragile, as if at any minute the motion simulator would snap off its hinges and send me (and 39 other passengers) crashing to either a horrible death or a million-dollar settlement for paralysis. Either way, no good.
But in just three weeks, on Friday, June 3, all of that will change at Disneyland when the brand-new Star Tours opens. (Note: The same ride will debut even earlier, May 20th, at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.) Appropriately titled Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, it's reportedly a new (and hopefully sturdier) take on the old ride.
From Disney's recent press release:
Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, who worked on the original Star Tours back in the mid '80s, talks about re-imagining the new show. "We actually began planning the redesign over 10 years ago ... a year before Episode I was complete. Fans were eager to see some changes, but after learning that Episodes II and III were in the works, we decided the update would have to wait. In order to create the ultimate Star Wars attraction for our Parks, George [Lucas] needed to finish his saga so we could include the best of all the films."
The Starspeeder 1000s (formerly known as the Starspeeder 3000s, as this new ride is a prequel to its predecessor) will look different as well with upgraded interior dashboards and onboard monitors. This is good to hear as some fans had feared the new ride would just be a new movie thrown into the old attraction.
The film itself will not only be in 3D but its storyline will branch out and become randomized, allowing each ride (or at least fifty-four different rides) to become its own unique adventure.
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"For the very first time, we utilized technology that selects one of 54 different story combinations so each ride's really a surprise. Guests never know where they'll go."
But the best part will be the addition of classic "Star Wars" characters to the film including Darth Vader, Admiral Ackbar, Princess Leia and Boba Fett, among others. Sigh... and yes, that "among others" does include Jar Jar Binks; but it also includes Frank Oz reprising the role of Yoda, so it kind of evens out. Almost.
And besides, I'm willing to look past Jar Jar Binks as long as the ride itself doesn't sound like a box full of rocks as it moves around. I'll take Jar Jar Binks over being a millionaire paraplegic any day of the week.
Actually, let me think on that for a second....