Disney's new Star Tours offers fans an edge-of-your-seat surprise

November 17, 2017, 7:55 AM · Let's cut to the chase. Disney's latest iteration of Star Tours offers attentive theme park fans one of the most rewarding Easter eggs I've seen in a theme park attraction in years.

I know that others are spoiling it, but I won't, because being caught by surprise by what I realized I was seeing made even jaded old me shout "wow!"

But having seen it, I really, really want to talk about it and share the moment with other fans. So let's back up and start in safer territory.

Star Tours 3.0, if you will, is still officially "The Adventures Continue," but the randomly-selected destinations are off the table, at least for now. This version offers two destinations from the sequel trilogy - in whose timeline the attraction now remains. No more jumping around in time as well as space anymore.

The well-publicized trip to Crait is our second destination. But first we return to the Jakku sequence that Disney offered to promote the release of The Force Awakens. In between, we do get a random element. I got a message from Maz Kanata the first time I rode and from Poe Dameron the second.

Crait provides a visual wonder. We don't just skim along the surface of this new Star Wars world, we also dive below it into the planet's interior. And with its blood-red geology, I felt like I'd hopped a ride back of Epcot's old Body Wars, the first motion simulator ride at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Back on the surface, of course all has gone terribly wrong and we are engaged in battle with the First Order. In the midst (mist?) of the fight, there's a fun call back to the windshield wiper joke from the ride's load queue video.

This Star Tours is filled with little touches like that. Look for BB8 before you launch, for example. Finn, Poe, and Hux also make appearances if you keep your field of vision wide. Perhaps some fans will lament the missing characters and scenes from the original trilogy. But this Star Tours helps establish the new trilogy within the theme park canon, and resolves a roiling fan debate on that topic as it does it.

The new Star Tours is now playing in Disney theme parks worldwide. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters next month… unless you haven't bought your tickets yet, in which case it opens for you sometimes around the debut of the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge land in 2019.

On that topic, after this morning media preview, Disney officials teased the upcoming Star Wars Galactic Nights hard-ticket event at Disney's Hollywood Studios next month. One element of that event will be a panel on the upcoming Star Wars land, led by design team leader Scott Trowbridge from Walt Disney Imagineering. (Plug for our coverage of that amazing Legends panel he participated on this week at IAAPA.) The panel will reveal some new details about the land at the event, Disney promises. And they teased it with one new official confirmation today: The name of the new planet upon which the Star Wars Galaxy's Edge land is set is Batuu.

Replies (2)

November 17, 2017 at 1:59 PM · Did they just start offering this scenario today? We were at DLR last Sunday and Star Tours still had the imperial droid, the pod race and asteroid field with General Ack-bar. Of course that maybe that's reason the stand-by line was only 10 minutes, everybody in the know decided to skip it until the new "adventures" came out.
November 17, 2017 at 6:09 PM · Sounds fun. Keeping the scenes in new trilogy is so much more about promoting the new movie than preserving the canon of the storyline. I loved the new destinations, but the time travel kind of took me out of the experience. So, did they update C3PO to have a mismatched arm like in TFA? Just kidding, of course, but it would've been a nice touch.

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