As of today the fully armed and operational refurbishment for Disney’s Star Wars attraction Star Tours is open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and previews and soft openings for the Disneyland version are underway. Originally opened in January of 1987, the original Star Tours was a dream come true for Star Wars fans but having to sit through the same trip to Endor over and over became a bit stale over the years. With the new ride that isn’t an issue, and they also freshened it up with 3D and high-definition screens. After more than twenty years, Star Tours is once again a destination any Star Wars fan must check out.
Using Dolby’s 3D technology, the 3D in Star Tours is crisp and clear. There’s none of the annoying ghosting that you normally see in theme park 3D. Cheap 3D tricks are also not there for the most part, as the 3D is more about making it look like you’re in a ship with a big viewscreen than making stuff fly at your face. It creates excellent depth and adds another great element to the ride.
An Amazing HD Screen
Gone is the poor-quality screen from the original Starspeeder 3000. The new speeders not only have been freshened up inside, but the screen is of a much higher quality. This goes hand in hand with the 3D ride film to give you a very impressive Star Wars visual experience. Some people have actually complained about the CG in the video, but the majority of it isn’t much different from what you’ll see in the Prequels.
A Smoother Ride
On this I can’t speak for the Florida version of the ride, but the Starspeeders in Anaheim are definitely much smoother. They must have replace the hydraulics on them as the Lightspeed effect no longer feels all rickety and the transitions to larger movements happen much more smoothly with less cabin shake.
C-3PO is a Superior Pilot
We all love Rex, but C-3PO is a vastly superior pilot. Not only does the Threepio animatronic do a lot more than old Rex ever did (more interaction with the cabin and video), but having a recognizable and popular character right there in the cabin makes the ride feel a lot more like Star Wars than before. Rex is still in the ride building, he can be seen in a crate while you’re in line. He has a “Defective” sticker on him.
This part can’t be stressed enough. The random nature of the ride eliminates one of the big annoyances of the original, and at the same time fulfills one of Lucas’ original ideas for Star Tours. Originally he wanted to swap out the movie every couple years with something new, but the current regime at Disney wouldn’t have it. By putting multiple and random destinations in the new ride, you don’t get tired of it as quickly and it automatically keeps the ride fresh.