Timeline of Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

What is your favorite planet from the Star Wars galaxy?  Have you ever dreamed of going to your favorite Star Wars planet?  My favorite planet is Alderaan since this is the planet Princes Leia is from!

Your space travel dreams can all be accomplished by visiting Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.  This is a 3D motion-simulator ride which allows you to travel by way of space flight, in a Starspeeder 1000, to various destinations from Star Wars. This ride is located near Echo Lake of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Original Version of Star Tours

Image: Disney

The original Star Tours opened on December 15, 1989.  George Lucas and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to transform the magic of the Star Wars movies into a theme park attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort.  When Star Tours first opened, it was extremely successful just like all the Star Wars movies.

However, there was one problem with Star Tours.  This was the fact that Star Tours only had one destination planet, Endor.  This meant that every time a guest would ride on Star Tours, they would always have the same experience. In 1989, this attraction was ahead of the curve technologically, but eventually Imagineering decided that an update as needed to keep guests coming back for new experiences.

Updates to Star Tours

Image: Disney

In order to correct this issue George Lucas, announced at Star Wars Celebration III in April 2005 that a new version of the Star Tours attraction was in production. Four years later at the 2009 D23 Expo in Anaheim, Imagineering announced that Star Tours would be closed in October 2010 for total renovation due to the new version, which at the time was announced as “Star Tours II.”

The new version of Star Tours would have an updated ride system with high-definition video, a Dolby 3D high-definition screen, and an improved motion simulator. On June 11, 2010, at the “What’s Next?” presentation, Disney announced that the new Star Tours would take place between Episodes III and IV of the Star Wars film series and would be named Star Tours–The Adventures Continue.

On August 12, during Celebration V, Disney showed a preview of what guests may expect from the new version of the ride.  This included new planets that would be included, Bespin and Alderaan.

Image: Disney

Tom Fitzgerald, Executive VP and Senior Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, revealed on February 11, 2011, that more characters would be encountered on the ride as well.  These new characters included Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Imperial Stormtroopers, Admiral Ackbar, Yoda, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca.

Later that year on April 1, 2011, Fitzgerald made the announcement that guests would be able to visit some different locations on the new attraction.  These new destinations included Tatooine, Coruscant, Hoth, Naboo, Kashyyyk, and the Death Star as it orbits Geonosis.

The new version of Star Tours opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s on midnight of May 20, 2011.  The attraction in Anaheim officially opened in the morning of June 3, 2011.

Star Tours Today

Image: Disney

At the 2015 D23 Expo, it was announced that a new journey based off The Force Awakens would be added to Star Tours, and on November 17, 2017, Star Tours added another new journey to Crait and Batuu from The Last Jedi.

Now on Star Tours the destinations that you can visit include the dusty mineral world of Crait, the underwater realms on Naboo, the bustling city-planet of Coruscant, Jakku, and the dreaded Death Star.

The Star Wars characters that can currently be encountered on Star Tours include C-3PO, R2-D2, Kylo Ren, Boba Fett, Poe Dameron, Princess Leia, and Yoda.

Given the removal of many of the older attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Tours is truly one attraction that has withstood the test of time. And with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening next year, we expect the popularity of Star Tours to continue to grow. Have you ridden Star Tours? We’d love to know what your favorite ride sequences are, or if you’ve ever been selected to be the rebel spy!

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