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Realityland's David Koenig

Star Tours: The Adventure Corrected

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Some things suck about getting old, particularly for theme park visitors. In a post-PeopleMover world, there are a lot fewer options for those of us who appreciate rides for the whole family. Ever since reaching the infirmed old age of 35, I’m increasingly left dizzy by eye-popping 3-D movies, left battered by extreme coasters and simulators, and left nauseous by the parks’ greasy food options. I’ve ridden Mission: Space once, and won’t be back.

So I figured that modernizing Star Tours, a ride that typically left me with a sore back, would now borderline cripple me. How wrong I was.

Having just disembarked Star Tours: The Adventure Continues at Disneyland, I must say that, for me, the ride wasn’t just improved—it was corrected. The richer storyline, with its range of backdrops, characters, and random variations, is an obvious, overdue upgrade. But for folks like me, who want to be entertained without being maimed, Star Tours is, for the first time ever, physically enjoyable.

• The violent bumps, shakes and jolts have been smoothed out. The ride’s still intense—and arguably even more realistic—but technology and programming have removed the rough edges. Someone finally figured out that whiplash isn’t fun.

• The 3-D wasn’t a strain on my eyes. Also a big plus: there’s no gratuitous use of “comin’ at you” effects, apart from the finale.

• The ride seems shorter. In actuality, it’s probably about the same length, but it ends leaving you wanting more. With the old Star Tours, halfway through I wanted it over with. 2.0’s pacing is better, the sensations more varied (including taking you underwater), and the adventures are new, unlike the original movie, which hadn’t changed for 24 years and dropped you into the middle of "Star Wars," which we’ve all seen a hundred times, and riding it for the hundredth time.

• There’s more to look at. The fresh paint job looks great, as do the TSA parody and clever in-jokes throughout the queue. Looks are important, especially considering we may be staring at the same props for decades to come.

Now, your mileage may vary. Star Tours is still a wild motion simulator, and if the original was too rough for you, there’s no guarantee they’ve worked out the kinks for you. But for me, for the first time in a decade, I can’t wait for my next flight.

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Comments

  1. Nemofan's Avatar
    Excellent review, David! I had a similar experience on the new Star Tours at Disneyland. My review and photos are posted at mydreamcametrue.com/startours
  2. Dunit's Avatar
    "and the adventures are new, unlike the original movie, which hadn’t changed for 24 years and dropped you into the middle of "Star Wars," which we’ve all seen a hundred times, and riding it for the hundredth time."

    One could say almost the exact same thing about Peter Pan's Flight ("almost" since PPF has been around significantly longer than 24 years).

    With Peter Pan it's flying over London; with Star Wars it's zooming down that trench and blowing up the Death Star.

    I can agree to disagree about the jerkiness, humor, or technology of the original ride, but c'mon - complaining because a Star Wars ride drops you into the most exciting and iconic scene of the whole series is just silly. That's like complaining about the giant boulder on the Indiana Jones ride or hearing "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" on Splash Mountain.
  3. spectromen's Avatar
    I share with you the same ailments, and they started around 35 here too (hate it), but I'm pretty much the opposite: I think I liked the old video better. Captain Rex was more entertaining than C3PO, and the new one is a bit ADD (It jumps into the action INSTANTLY - there's no build up). If they'd done all the other renovations to the exterior and queue and just 3-D-ized the original, I'd be happy. Of course I realize that would never have worked for the masses, just me