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Disneyland Resort update: Star Tours, Blackbeard, Mermaid and more

Written by
Published: May 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM

The big news at the Disneyland Resort this week is the soft-opening of Star Tours:

Star Tours

This morning, the ride was open only to annual passholders with advance reservations. AP previews will continue all week, but I wouldn't be surprised to see soft-opens at times when the APs aren't scheduled.

Inside the queue, R2D2's working on top of the Starspeeder 1000:

R2D2

And C-3P0 is still on the control panel.

Inside the Star Tours queue

Inside the droid room, the changes are subtle. Look carefully, and you might see Captain Rex, marked "defective," packed up and being sent to who-knows-where.

Good-bye Captain Rex

The "Droid Security Agent" is checking passengers as they get ready to board.

Inside the Star Tours queue droid room

On board, I got the stormtroopers, the Tatooine pod race, Yoda and the ride through the traffic of Coruscant. You know that Facebook meme where women would post their bra color as their status, to the complete befuddlement of men? I propose that Star Tours fans start their own version of the meme. Whenever you ride, post the four options that you encountered on your visit. Remember, your options are:

  • Stormtroopers or Darth Vader
  • Tatooine pod race, Kashyyyk speeder bikes or Hoth AT-AT battle
  • Yoda, Princess Leia or Admiral Ackbar
  • Traffic on Coruscant, Naboo underwater chase or Death Star dogfight

    So, this morning I posted: "Stormtroopers Tatooine Yoda Coruscant". Join in, and amuse or confuse your friends! ;^)

    The other change at Disneyland Park this week is the replacement of Davy Jones with Blackbeard inside Pirates of the Caribbean. Here's what it looks like:

    I noticed that the skull before the drop is still warning riders about Davy Jones, though. Personally, I prefer Davy's otherworldly look in this place in the ride. Blackbeard looked just too, well, real.

    Across the plaza, at California Adventure, you can see the "Hollywood Studios"-style entrance plaza emerging underneath the tarps.

    DCA entrance

    The Little Mermaid building is now open for cast member previews.

    Little Mermaid entrance

    Little Mermaid facade

    I love the relief detail of Ariel's sisters, framing the entryway windows.

    Down the pathway, I noticed a test train running on Goofy's Sky School, scheduled to open July 1.

    Goofy's Sky School under construction

    Work also continues on the Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta restaurant

    Paradise Pier restaurants under construction

    Finally, Disney's torn down the awnings and archways that had obscured the view of the Zephyr train and station that lines the edge of the Sunshine Plaza.

    Bakersfield Bakery

    Work on Cars Land continues, too, as insiders expect an opening early in 2012.

    Radiator Springs Racers

    The Little Mermaid and Star Tours open officially on June 3. No word yet on public previews for The Little Mermaid, though initial reviews from cast members who've ridden have been almost exclusively positive. We'll be there to cover the opening ceremonies on June 2 and 3.

  • Readers' Opinions

    From Joshua Counsil on May 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM
    Thanks for the report, Robert, but, uh... you didn't discuss your opinions on Star Tours. Are you waiting for an official opening?
    From Nick Markham on May 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM
    I don't like the new blackbeard effect as much as the one before. I felt the other one fit that effect more. But then again, I guess I need to see POTC4 before I judge.
    From Robert Niles on May 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM
    I figured we had enough Star Tours opinions on the site in the past couple of days. I'll wait a few days to talk about it more in-depth, from my perspective.
    From Anthony Murphy on May 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM
    I think Davy Jones should stay. He has more of the supernaturall feeling to him with "dead men tell no tales". Maybe a rotation of Blackbeard and Davy Jones?
    From 69.106.132.29 on May 23, 2011 at 11:36 PM
    So is it open 2moorow? for Regular guests or just AP
    From Bryan Fear on May 24, 2011 at 7:58 AM
    Agreed on Jones vs. Beard. Hopefully Blackbeard is just a temporary thing for the release of the movie and following months. Once it's done, I'd rather see Jones come back. As you so aptly put, it's the more logical face to show when the effect is so otherworldy.
    From Robert Niles on May 24, 2011 at 8:59 AM
    I heard that yesterday evening, the park opened the ride to all annual passholders, after the official AP preview time for the day was finished.
    From Stuart Henny on May 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM
    I have read a news report that Blackbeard will be integrated along with Davy Jones eventually. I sent Robert the link a few days ago.
    From Joseph Galindo Jr. on May 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM
    My family and I went on Pirates of the Caribbean last weekend and we felt that the projection of Blackbeard could have been enlarged so that it filled the foggy area like Davy Jones image did. It was odd seeing Blackbeard's image small and not filling the whole foggy area.

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