Disney has had a relationship with Star Wars long before they purchased the franchise in 2012. Back in 1989, Disney opened Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
What is Star Tours?
Star Tours is a 3D simulator attraction that takes guests on a journey to a galaxy far, far away. Guests are loaded onto a Starspeeder 1000 which acts as a commercial airliner to the stars. Through a series of mishaps, C-3PO acts as the captain. Guests are transported to various planets all while trying to avoid the imminent danger of the First Order. Guests must be at least 40” tall to ride this attraction.
Where is Star Tours Located?
Star Tours is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios between the Backlot Express and Grand Avenue.
The Queue for Star Tours
The Queue for Star Tours is set up in two distinct looks The outside portion of the queue looks like the Ewok village in the forests of Endor. The scene is completed by a full-size AT-AT. Guests should keep in mind that this portion of the queue is outside and in the event of inclement weather, guests could get rained on. The inside portion of the queue is set up like a spaceport.
As guests enter the inside of the building they are greeted with C-3PO, R2-D2, and a life-size model of the Starspeeder 1000. C-3PO interacts with R2-D2 and keeps guests entertained while they wait. Most of the time the queue for this attraction isn’t that long so guests do not typically spend a lot of time in this area.
The next area of the queue is modeled after a baggage loading area. On the sides of the line are inactive droids and pieces of luggage. There is also a funny security droid named G2-4T in this area that is in charge of x-raying baggage. He interacts with the people in the queue by making funny comments about items that he finds on the scanner.
Once guests make it through the baggage loading area they are taken to the boarding area. At the boarding area, a Cast Member directs guests to which terminal they are assigned to. While guests wait for the ride vehicle to be ready to board they are treated to some of the mishaps that take place that make C-3PO the captain.
COVID-19 has changed a lot about how Disney queues are set up. Star Tours like any other attraction at Disney World uses social distancing markers throughout the queue, hand sanitizer stations, and health and safety signs to remind guests how to be safe while standing in line.
Boarding the Starspeeder 1000
The Starspeeder 1000 closely resembles the inside of a commercial airliner. The seats are all in rows facing in one direction. Even the seat belts are like the ones you might find on an airplane. The Cast Members that work in this area are very much like flight attendants. The seatbelt check they do has an airplane pre-flight check feel to it.
Once guests are loaded and the seatbelt check is complete guests are advised to put on their flight glasses (3D glasses) and the adventure begins.
Social Distancing on Star Tours
Before the COVID-19 shutdown, the Star Tours ride vehicles could hold up to 40 passengers. But now that social distancing has become to the new normal for all Disney attractions Cast Members spread groups out and plexiglass dividers have been put in place to keep guests safe.
The Adventure Begins
On the pre-show television screens, guests watch as C-3PO gets trapped in the Starspeeder cockpit while doing maintenance. The Starspeeder begins its takeoff with C-3PO as the accidental pilot.
The ride’s plot exists in three parts: an opening scene, the main destination, and the ending scene. Each segment has a variety of possibilities, along with a hologram character. You never know where you’ll go or who’ll you see when you ride.
Star Wars fans may notice that because the scenes are randomized from the entire saga result in a scrambled timeline. For example, you may see Darth Vader in the opening scene; but then in the next scene, find yourself in the Battle of Crait from The Last Jedi.
Your adventure may take you face-to-face with a variety of characters from all periods of Star Wars canon. The opening scene can feature Kylo Ren or Darth Vader with stormtroopers. You may run into X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, Princess Leia, or even Lando Calrissian.
Merchandise Available at Tatooine Traders
After the adventure is over guests disembark from the ride vehicles and are transported to the Tatooine Traders. Like any good Disney attraction, a gift shop is placed at the end of the ride. Guests can shop for a variety of Star Wars items such as t-shirts, hats, toys, plushies, and even some Galaxy’s Edge merchandise.
Galaxy’s Edge Connections
Star Tours has its roots in the Star Wars universe but how is it connected to Galaxy’s Edge? Some guests may recall a time when C-3PO was not the captain of the Starspeeder 1000. You might remember that DJ R-3X from Oga’s Cantina was the captain for many years on Star Tours.
Legend has it that R-3X at some point crash-landed on Batuu, where he was reprogrammed into a DJ by Mubo at the Droid Depot. Mubo altered his appearance slightly and gave the droid to Oga Garra to pay off a debt. DJ R-3X started providing the musical entertainment inside Oga’s Cantina.
If you get a chance to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios make sure you don’t bypass this iconic attraction. Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has its place in Star Wars history and even has connections to Galaxy’s Edge through DJ R-3X.