18 April 2011

When our new starspeeder service resumes

What has been billed as Star Tours - The Adventure Continues appears to have received its final name treatment as Disney has launched a Facebook page for Star Tours 3D.That’s all well and good, but I want to talk about a key element of the experience that has been discussed, but never fully appreciated, the ability to venture through the planets some many Star Wars fans have only dared to dream of.

What every red-blooded child who grew up wishing to inhabit the distant planets of the Star Wars universe wished, more than anything, was to walk along the same paths as Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids. The original incarnation of Star Tours gave this to us in a very physical way, with a queue designed to an Ewok village on Endor, overseen by an AT-AT, and later with a gift shop tied to Tatooine (it was originally designed as the shield generator bunker, also from Endor). Once onboard the ride, however, the trip to Endor succeeded in carrying passengers from one spaceport to another, with lightspeed and a dash through the Battle of the Death Star. Don’t get me wrong, these were just as much a part of the dream as setting foot on Dagobah or dueling with Darth Vader, but when the trip ended we still hadn’t reach a Star Wars destination.

That, is about to change.

We’ve all been keeping tabs on the latest artwork and list of destinations, waiting impatiently to head to the gates and board our newly refurbished Starspeeder 1000s. For those unaware, random sequencing will enable the stories of Star Tours 3D to mix and match destinations and story elements to create different experiences. Along the way we may encounter Darth Vader or Boba Fett, arguably the two greatest badasses the galaxy has ever known, pod racing, AT-ATs on Hoth, or even the newly formed skytroopers, a new iteration of stormtroopers.

Here’s the part that seems to be glossed over, we will actually be flying through the destinations we have watched and read about! This isn’t a storyline that says we’re boarding for a trip to Endor to never reach it, this is a trip aboard a spacecraft where we will get to Tatooine, possibly via a route through Hoth and Kashyyyk. Actually bringing these destinations to life, creating new adventures in the wilds of distant planets, that is a dream worth living out, don’t you think?

I’ve shared this with the Main Street Gazette’s readership before, but I’m on a personal tear here, so it bears repeating. Once upon a time, I boarded Star Tours with my father for my first flight. As fate would have it, he was also my copilot for my final flight last year. My father and I don’t get down to Walt Disney World together as often as I would like, but he is tagging along with me on my trip during the last week of April. Now, I know Star Tours 3D isn’t slated to open until May 20th, but wouldn’t it be cool to take that first new flight with him during a soft opening or preview that week? Walt Disney World, are you listening? My father and I are strong in the Force, could you make this happen for us?

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