“Star Tours 1401, you’re clear for departure.” Every adventure on the Star Tours attraction at Hollywood Studios begins the same way. But for how much longer? With Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge slated to open in late fall 2019 (December in Disney months) the biggest question to be answered is what will happen to Star Tours. Will the attraction remain open? Could we see a new attraction take its place? We review all the rumors of what Walt Disney World could do with the classic Hollywood Studios attraction. Jump on your 74-Z speeder and we’ll head off on our adventure!
A Long Time Ago…
It is a period of time when Hollywood Studios was called MGM Studios. The park just opened six months prior, and Walt Disney World is looking to attract guests to their “studio theme park” before the universal empire opens their gates. Leading his team, Michael Eisner (former Disney CEO), launches Star Tours, a motion simulator attraction advertised as the “Ultimate Star Wars Adventure!” The attraction was a huge success for the Walt Disney World and was the initial catalyst in the battle between the theme parks.
Let’s kick it into lightspeed and move forward to today. Star Tours is still holding strong against the universal empire as it awaits the reinforcements arriving in a year. The attraction underwent a refresh from 2010 to 2011, and as part of the refresh, the attraction received updated technology (screens and 3D) and new ride sequences that are now randomized. When it reopened on May 20, 2011 the attraction had a new name, Stars Tours – The Adventure Continues.
The Battle is Relocating
Reviewing the the upcoming “map” of Hollywood Studios, we can see that Star Tours will be on the outside of the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge land. Will Star Tours continue to participate in the battle or is it finally time to head home? We’re hearing a variety of rumors of what will happen to the first rebellion wave. The first rumor we’ve heard is from Jim Hill at Jim Hill Media. The original idea that Disney Imagineering had for Star Tours was to use the attraction as a method of “transportation” to Baatu (the planet name of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge). Guests would board the tour ship in Hollywood Studios and the end sequence of the attraction would be of the ship landing on Baatu. The exit of the attraction would be reconfigured and guests would exit into the new land. How amazing would that be?! This option has not been ruled out, but remains one that may have “landed amongst the stars”.
The second rumor is the attraction will remain unchanged. With the overall story of Star Tours centered around a trip from earth and back, in theory the attraction could remain outside the “Star Wars Universe” . With the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney World is projecting record crowds and will need to have all attractions open to entertain the guests. Star Tours is rumored to be one of the attractions in the “queue” to enter the new land. Guests would ride the attraction while waiting to the enter the new area. This feels like the most logical option in the short term, as making any adjustments to Star Tours would have already have to be underway.
Using the Force to Project the Future
As always, here in the DVC Duo house we have a theory on how things will play out. In the long term we do not see Star Tours staying open, especially with it being located outside of Galaxy’s Edge. Clearly Disney was not planning on including this attraction in the future. In the short-term, absolutely! In the long term we could see Disney World using the attraction space, plus the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular area to create a new land. What the Intellectual Property (IP) will be, we are yet unsure, but it would make sense to keep Indiana Jones, especially if the relaunch of the movies is successful. Disney could easily retheme the Star Tours attraction to a flying scene from Indiana Jones. Or another option is expanding Muppets Courtyard and retheme the attraction to the car scene from the original The Muppet Movie.
For the next few years Star Tours will continue to be part of the rebellion and fight back with Walt Disney World. When it’s time to move onto the next battle what would you like to see Walt Disney World do with Star Tours? May the force, well you know!