Disney’s Hollywood Studios debuted a new edition of Star Tours, and while the ride movement remains essentially the same, designers nailed the “Star Wars” concept in the upgrade. Disney stumbles at times and an upgrade fails to measure up to an original, but people who enjoyed the Star Wars movies won’t be disappointed.
The ride itself is an enclosed compartment sitting on top of pistons that operate independently – a “ride simulator.” The audience looks at a movie in the front of the car, and if the movie seems to make the audience move faster, the pistons in the back underneath the car drop lower. The movie suggests forward motion and, at the same time, riders feel pressure on their back as the seat reclines. In other words, Disney makes your senses of sight, touch, and sound lie to you.
That hasn’t changed from the original Star Tours ride. The following has:
- Storyline: The old ride took place in “a galaxy far, far away,” but it had nothing to do with the epic battle, focusing instead on a small, inept tour company. The new version has a lot more movie mainstays – the Death Star, alliance starships, etc. – and complements the plot.
- Characters: The old ride had an unknown robot named REX manning the helm. The new version has the gold-plated C-3PO guiding the ship, with an unseen R2-D2 somewhere above. Darth Vader and other characters also appear.
- Plot: The old ride had a single storyline. The new ride has small plots stitched together so guests can ride more than once and experience different adventures. By mixing and matching, guests can enjoy up to 48 different stories.
- 3-D. Some of Disney’s older rides still rely on traditional 3-D technology that makes you feel slightly blind in one eye. Not the new Star Tours. While most guests know what today’s good 3-D looks like, Disney hasn’t incorporated it everywhere – yet.
Star Tours’ upgrade might not be blockbuster enough to give past guests a reason to return, but it’s a worthwhile must-see for those who were less than enamored with the old version and poor REX.