I had the opportunity to ride Star Tours – The Adventures Continue this morning as part of the ‘Early Departure’ contest and media event.  The new version of this iconic attraction is a vast improvement from the original. The very first thing I noticed, and subsequently couldn’t stop talking about was the fluid movement of the motion simulator. It is a very smooth ride in comparison to the previous version, and seems to change in detail dependent of what type of environment you are in.  For example, we have been aware that we could visit the underwater Gungan City, but I didn’t imagine that Disney could make it feel like you were floating underwater. While in space, your movement is very defined, but while underwater, it is fluid like, moving from side to side as if our star speeder was buoyant. A very nice touch. The previous attraction was jerky and rough, this version is incredibly smooth.  The new ride system randomly selects your experience, so you can visit multiple locations and have interactions with multiple story lines and visits from different characters almost every time you ride.  There are 52 combinations possible.

The extended queue reflects a similar style as the planetary murals seen around the Star Trader gift shop next door.  Some of the star speeders on the mural have a raised details, again playing into the 3D aspect of the attraction. The main queue is very similar to the original queue, only updated. Keeping consistent with the time line, the entire attraction gives off a feel of freshness and zeal such as the early days of the rebellion. The new Star Tours ‘time line’ falls in between the two movie trilogies, and is a prequel to the original Star Tours attraction.

The 3D is there to enhance the experience, not to dominate it. The use of 3D gives the screen depth, just as if you were looking out of a window. With the exception of one sequence, nothing comes out at you. It allows the story to be told in a very realistic way. The glasses are comfortable and of a higher quality compared to the purple and yellow versions that you would be given at Captain EO and Toy Story. While still providing room for prescription glasses, they fit snug and are more of a sun glasses type style.

The use of C3P0 as your ‘accidental pilot’ was a genius idea, giving the attraction comedic qualities without being overly annoying. You still obtain the out of control feeling because of your nervous pilot, and R2D2 takes on a larger role during the flight. You’ll visit multiple destinations and have a mid-flight visits from a random Star Wars character. Guests even get in on some of the show as one is selected to be the ‘Spy’ for your trip and is displayed on the screen for all to see.

The level of interactivity and technology is a welcome sight to this 24 year old attraction and I can’t wait to ride it again.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue is currently soft opening at random times and officially opens June 3rd at the Disneyland Resort.