What you need to know about Disneyland's updated Star Tours ride

Disneyland's Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has proven to be one of the theme park's most versatile attractions.

While it may no longer be the groundbreaking technological marvel it was when it debuted in 1987, the flight simulator ride has shifted with the franchise, bucking cultural trends and tailoring it to whatever version of “Star Wars” is currently popular — or in need a marketing boost.

Star Tours' latest update brings the ride into the Disney+ era, with nods to series like “The Mandalorian,” “Ahsoka” and “Andor.” More notable, at least for Disneyland guests, is that the centerpiece of the latest upgrades is a scene that provides a slight tonal shift for the attraction, a scene that focuses, albeit briefly, on slowing it down and giving a look at so-called starspeeder riders. of more majestic creatures from “Star Wars.” Star Tours will now transport guests directly to a moment with a close-up view of the purrgil, essentially large, mysterious space whales that move with galactic grace.

For the 3D attraction it is a moment that provides a breather. The motion simulator freezes for a few seconds, and our makeshift animatronic captain, the golden droid C-3PO, turns to face the riders. C-3PO switches to guide mode, appearing in awe of the purring and commenting on how serene the animals are.

“This will be different from other sequences, just to have a moment,” said Tom Fitzgerald, a senior creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, the company's secretive division that deals with theme parks, when asked about a patient approach of the scene. “You don't get many moments. It's so compact. But it's a moment to let people look at the beauty of this, and the 3D gives you the scale of those creatures.”

The Star Tours additions may be the centerpiece of Disneyland's one-stop “Star Wars” promotion Season of Powerwhich debuted last weekend and runs through June 2. The “Star Wars” festival will also see new droids making their way to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge for the duration of the event, as well as the return of Space Mountain overlay Hyperspace Mountain and a new free quest that aims to let players get good pay attention to the smallest details of Galaxy's Edge.

Fitzgerald has been with Star Tours since the ride's inception and oversaw the latest Star Tours additions, which further deviate the appeal from the strict “Star Wars” timeline and instead focus it on being a kind of “ greatest hits” for the brand. The purrgil scene also features Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka Tano and the character's sleek, rapidly rotating spaceship above the planet Seatos. Tano's ship inspired Imagineers to see if they could add new tricks to the attraction, especially in the way the simulator can move. For example, when Tano's ship twists and turns, the starspeeder tries to mimic it, trying to create the feeling of a 360-ton roll. At other times the starspeeder slides between the purrgil.

The key to Star Tours' longevity, and what makes it the rare motion simulator that doesn't feel rooted in the 1980s, is its ability to create new sensations through its movements. The ride now has more than 250 storyline variations, and to add to its appeal, Imagineers are looking for ways to increase the contrast between the different scenes, both in sound and maneuvers. While Star Tours are typically random — for the foreseeable future, and certainly during Disneyland's Season of the Force promotion in the spring — all riders are guaranteed to visit the new location and receive an early flight broadcast from one of the newly added characters.

Din Djarin and Grogu out "The Mandalorian" can now be seen in 3D on Star Tours.

Newly added to Star Tours is a transmission series from Din Djarin and Grogu.

(Disneyland resort)

“How do we ensure that every place we go has a different color palette?” says Fitzgerald, who then recalls several “Star Wars” planets that could appear in the attraction's random programming. “Mustafar is completely lava. Kashyyyk is all green jungle. So they feel very different when you get the combos. And then movement-oriented. Can we do a barrel roll? That's the fun of doing it, programming it and trying it out. And we needed something else. What haven't we done? So what if we ski through the tentacles with the purrgils? We had never done that before. So those are the two big movement changes.”

The attraction will also be livened up by appearances from Dawson's Tano, Diego Luna's Cassian Andor and a masked Din Djarin from 'The Mandalorian'. Although the latter is played and portrayed by Pedro Pascal in the Disney+ series, many have noted that the Djarin on “Star Tours” has a slightly different vocal cadence than Pascal, and an Imagineering spokesperson says the company has not retained its voice actors for the series announces. attraction. Nevertheless, “The Mandalorian's” moment features some comic relief — and clever use of 3D — courtesy of Grogu, colloquially known as “baby Yoda,” and his penchant for using Force powers to play with and destroy frogs. to eat.

The three appear as broadcasts that help define Star Tours' suddenly urgent story. “Every specimen is different,” says Fitzgerald. “We played Mando and Grogu for comedy. And Andor is mysterious. You don't see his face. You see this thing coming towards you. Is that a friend or enemy? And then he pulls off his hood and the music changes.” Tano, meanwhile, arrives as an old friend who knows C-3PO and fellow droid R2-D2. Riders are advised to pay close attention to the opening cinematic in a ship's hangar, as there is a new random opening showing Tano having a lightsaber battle with Stormtroopers.

When asked why the new additions might lean a little more heavily on “Ahsoka,” since it's that series that features the planet Seatos and the purrgil, Fitzgerald had a simple answer: yes, it's the space whales.

With access to early scripts from Lucasfilm, Fitzgerald says he cherry-picked the purrgil scenes. “When I read about that, not knowing what they looked like at first, I thought, that's going to be really cool.” And, at least for a few seconds, relatively soothing.

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