As we previously discussed, the Star Tours attraction at both Disneyland and Disney World will be closing for renovations--which means, yes, we'll have to soon say good-bye to the daily express tourist ship to Endor. Instead, we'll be boarding Starspeeders "in a high-speed pod race through the desert canyons of Tatooine." Which also means, yes, Star Tours 2.0 will include scenes from the prequels.
Star Tours' final flights at Disneyland will take place on July 26, but let's savor our favorite parts about the original attraction until then. Who knows: Maybe these features will still be there when the ride re-opens again in about a year, but more than likely with the new Phantom Menace-y storyline in place... they won't.
1. Those Travel Posters
After completing your misguided journey with RX-24 aboard the Endor Express--don't forget your stuff stored under the seat--you file into an exit ramp where the walls are lined with these neato travel posters. As a kid, I wondered what the rides for each place could be like: Hell, we never even got to see the Forest Moon of Endor, after all... and all I wanted to do was see an Ewok.
2. That Hairstyle
One of the most memorable parts of Star Tours has to be that queue experience, which looks like the boarding area of spaceship terminal: Items are being transported in baskets suspended from a track on the ceiling, an audio-animatronic C-3PO seems to interact with people in line. But what has to be the best part? That pre-flight safety video, shown on the now archaic television screens just above the entrance to the "spacecraft." The clip actually features several intergalactic alien lifeforms (most of which are totally adorable) and even Disney Imagineers and their families. The gal with the totally '80s, totally awesome, architectural side-'do above instructs audiences on how to fasten seat belts, where to store your personal items ("Galactic regulations require that all carry-on items be stored underneath the seat.") and warns you against flash photography and smoking. Which brings us to...
3. Chewie and Akbar About to Regulate on a Flash-Happy Kid At about :45 seconds in. Take note of Akbar's pimp hand.
4. RX-24, AKA Rex Poor Rex. Still confused and bumbling even after 23 years. With his obviously Paul Reubens-voiced nervous laugh, Rex is the brand new RX-series pilot droid aboard your journey on the StarSpeeder 3000 Endor Express--he's so new, in fact, that it's his first flight. During the four-minute ride, Rex manages to send the StarSpeeder down the wrong take-off tunnel, overshoots our Endor moon destination after sending you into light speed and gets caught up in a cluster of comets. The flight ends with an X-wing fly-along during an assault on an enemy Star Destroyer. Lasers are shot as Rex says "I've always wanted to do this!"
Us, too, Rex. Us, too.
Choice Rex quotage:
"I know this is probably your first flight... and it's mine, too. (Laughter)"
"I have a very bad feeling about this."
5. Jumping to Light Speed
"Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy!"
Okay, now, as adults, we (probably) now realize the feeling of Light Speed is achieved by the ride vessel simply tilting back--but that doesn't make the idea of zooming through space any less fun. And that, friends, is something podracing could never achieve.