I’m not gonna rehash what all the other bloggers have already written, so if you want that in-depth, spoiler thing, go to them. I’m just going to do my best to recall my first experience on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue and I won’t go into TOO much detail because I’m not trying to wreck it for people.
First of all, the experience in the queue won’t be much different from the original ride. You got C-3P0 standing at this console running his… not his mouth, he doesn’t have one of those… running his slot at R2-D2 who is plugged into the top of the Starspeeder 1000.
One difference is that the Starspeeder is pristine, unlike the one in the original which was shot to hell and battle-scarred. So, right away, I’m like “Dude, this Starspeeder is showroom clean. No lasers hit it, no asteroid dents, WTF? Is this going to be a nap-time ride or what?”
That’s not entirely true. I was ready for this to be awesome, to suck royally, or to deliver something in between. This may be Disney Imagneering at its best, but it's also George Lucas who seems to live to dissapoint Star Wars fans these days. Anything was possible at this point.
Anyway, the large monitor above the queue is much the same, though the advertisements have a new “prequel-trilogy” look to them, which is to say the CGI and stuff is pretty cool.
This was an Annual Passholder event, and though there were a lot of us, the line was moving pretty fast, and I really didn’t get to take everything in, though I got some neat pictures:
So then I get on the ride, and I don’t know what to expect. I’m a Star Wars freak, and I should've been anticipating something epic– but let's face it, most of us anticipated something epic from “Phantom Menace” and we got epic crap– so while the odds were in favor of something awesome because of my faith in Disney Imagineers, I kept my expectations on an even keel because of my lack of faith in George Lucas.
Here’s the thing: With this ride, as well as with the movies I try not to know too much. Give me a commercial, a trailer and I’m good.
When the hype surrounding the Star Wars prequel trilogy started and the net started a-buzzin’, I very deliberately avoided rumors about the plot, preview photos, spoiler reviews or ANYTHING that could give me foreknowledge of what I was about to see.
I took the same approach to this ride, as well as the upcoming "Ariel’s Undersea Adventure" ride in DCA. Don’t tell me anything. I don’t want to know. I want to find out for myself.
Daniel is the opposite. He likes to know everything ahead of time, and I just don’t get it. It’s not like buying a frickin car, man! How can any of it be any fun if you know what’s coming?
I think that’s why the original Star Tours fell off. It was the same thing, and once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. I think it’s fabulous that the Disney guys went to the effort to make it so things switch around and different stuff happens
I swear, I told Daniel a teeny little about what the ride was like (I don’t like spoilers, and I wasn’t about to spoil it for him, though I already knew that he knew it all) and he was like, “Uh huh, uh huh, yeah I heard that happens.” NOTHING I told him got a reaction above a mild “Cool, dude. Sounds sweet.”
Anyway, back to the ride. So we all get in the Starspeeder, we’re getting ready for takeoff, and fricken C-3PO is sitting where the pilot should sit, and as it turns out, he becomes our pilot for this trip, with R2 as the navigator.
I don’t know if that’s the case every time, but I think it is, because he’s sitting where that stupid Pee-Wee Herman robot was in the original ride.
So we turn this corner and Darth Vader shows up, riding a hover platform or something, and orders us to halt.
Vader’s like, “You got this rebel spy on your ship, hand him over.” (I’m paraphrasing)
It’s cool, cause he displays a picture of one of the guys whos on the ride with us, which I thought was a pretty clever gag.
3PO puts on a dumb act, but Vader doesn’t play that, so he reaches out and, using the Force, he yanks our ship around. And let me tell you, the way this cabin moves with his hand-movements—I’m convinced that he’s got us in his force grip and he ain’t letting go.
I’m like, “Well, Vader’s got us, this was a short ride.”
But next thing I know R2 makes this twittering noise that sounded a lot like “Bite me, Ani.” and he busts out the ship’s cannons and opens fire on Vader! Vader doesn’t sweat it. He yanks his lightsaber and knocks the laser blasts away, but R2’s maneuver gets him to let the ship out of the force grip, and 3PO slams it in reverse and we’re out of the hangar and into space.
As if he can smell those spice mines on Kessel in his future 3PO doesn’t waste any time in jumping to light speed and getting us out of there!
Don’t let me make it sound dull. The whole cabin burst into applause. It was like seeing one of the movies on opening night.
Next thing I know we’re on Tattoine, in a pod race which was exhilarating. Best part of “Phantom Menace”, besides the duel with Darth Maul, was the Pod Race.
Without giving too much away, we wind up behind Sebulba. Remember him? In "Phantom Menace", he's that gnarly looking lizard dude that decided to make little-kid Anakin his biatch in the pod race.
Anyhow the little jerk is in front of us, and he gets pissed and throws a wrench or something, to take us out of the race, as if appearing out of nowhere is allowed in pod racing rules. In 3D, having a wrench fly at you is a little disconcerting but I'm not worried.
I’m like, “Does he know that this isn’t a Podracer? Can’t he see that this is a Starspeeder with twin-cannons mounted on the front? R2, show him what we do to cheaters in the Rebel Alliance.”
But Sebulba gets what’s coming to him another way, a much cooler way than blasting him, which I'd have been pleased to see R2 do, and then boom, we're in space again.
Before we can relax and enjoy our flight to… wherever we were supposed to go… Admiral Ackbar appears on the screen, and he tells us we got his rebel spy, and we need to bring him in (or something to that effect).
Next thing, OH SNAP, it’s BOBA FETT (or Jango, who the hell knows, they're clones after all)!! He wants our rebel passenger and he’s willing to blow us all away to get him.
Again, I'm not going to give you a play-by-play, just imagine how cool it would be to get into a dogfight in space with Boba Fett in his Slave II Starship (or Jango Fett in his Slave I whichever the case is).
After going through all that insanity, next thing, we’re getting shot at by TIE Fighters, and OOHHH!!! It’s the DEATH STAR!!! It's the one from “Return of the Jedi” by the way. You know, the one that is still under construction, kinda like DCA?
We fly through that bad boy, dodge some stuff, some seriously crazy 3D craziness occurs (R2 enjoys using those cannons, a lot.).
Then it’s Lightspeed to the Rebel base where we are met by the Admiral, a handful of Jedi and, I think, Mon Mothma (Google her. I don’t have time to teach remedial Star Wars to you all). They are all applauding 3PO’s piloting skills, and all he wants is to know where he can find a Star Tours terminal.
Suffice it to say, I was blown away and pretty sad that I wasn’t allowed to ride it again. I felt pretty privileged to be one of the million people who owned a season pass this day.
Now you had to “win” a special passholder ticket to get to do this, but rest assured, there is special, exclusive, passholder merchandise that you only need an annual pass to buy. Oh yeah. You don’t have to win anything to spend money at the new Star Trader and get some Star Tours stuff. Here’s what they offer:
$50 for a pen? I don't think so! I also think the t-shirt is ghastly and that most of this is cheesy crap, but I couldn't leave empty-handed. I'm sure that Disney Merchandising was banking on that fact for most of us cuz as the picture below will show, the line to buy this stuff was LONG:
I grabbed the cup. Now the the picture of the stuff on the sheet above makes it look like this is some punk-ass cup, like it's paper, but check it out up close:
This cup is sturdy! The lid screws on securely and the straw won't come loose from it!
Yeah, you can take this in your car! It's cool! Or maybe I'm just justifying spending $15 for a plastic cup with Vader's picture on it. You decide.
A CM confided to me that the t-shirt, cup and pen would eventually be sold to everybody, pass holder or not. I'm sure there will be some differences, like it'll just say "Star Tours" without the "Launching 2011", so stuff that has "Launching 2011" on it will still be special, cuz you got it before the ride launched. How does that matter? <shrug>
But to some people that makes a difference, so coolness is to be had if you snatch up some of this stuff while it's just for you and has that one thing that will set it apart from the rest when it becomes available for everybody. Right?
She actually wasn't certain about the rest of the stuff being available for everybody (but the nature of this cheese suggests that it will) except the Limited Edition Star Tours Commemorative Coin. That's for pass holders only, and when it sells out, it's gone. So I grabbed that up. I think the picture speaks for itself:
Some people in Star Trader were pissing in a cast member’s ear about a special pin that pass holders can also get, that wasn’t made available. They were arguing up and down as if a teenage CM had some kind of control over when and where stuff becomes available.
The cast member politely reminded the dissatisfied lot that on the website that announced the pin that the release date was “subject to change”, which it did. The new date for that pin is June 2, for any who care.
Star Tours opens June 3. That's my birthday! 😀 I can't stop stressing how awesome it is to be me at this point in time.
I’ll be there early! “Star Tours: The Adventure Continues”, has truly revitalized a dead ride. And for those of you sick of waiting an hour to get on the Nemo ride, here ya go.
Star Tours, a ride that had a 10 minute wait, no Fastpasses and no real appeal for those of us who have been on it a zillion times is soon to be an attraction where from the moment you set foot into the Disneyland Park, you're making a beeline for Tomorrowland, the Star Tours Fastpass Distribution station (which will probably have a 15 minute queue) to avoid a 90+ minute queue, well worth standing in.
The force is with Disneyland, and once more the Sith will rule Tomorrowland! Kind of! … Look you're going to be RUNNING from the Empire no matter how this ride goes, so… June 3 people. Be there.