Star Tours first opened at Disneyland in January 1987. In the years since, this attraction has gone on to become a fan favorite among both Disney and Star Wars fanatics. So just how did this thrilling attraction come to be?
The origins of Star Tours began when Disney imagineers proposed an idea for a ride themed to the 1979 film The Black Hole. The attraction would have been an interactive ride-simulator. Imagineer Tony Baxter met with Disney President Ron Miller to discuss the proposed attraction. Tron was also discussed as a possible theme for the ride; However, Ron suggested contacting George Lucas about the possibility of a Star Wars theme.
George Lucas loved the idea of having a Disneyland attraction themed to Star Wars. He loved Disneyland and had many fond memories of visiting the park as a child. With George’s blessing, the imagineers purchased four flight simulators and began designing the attraction.
In addition to the ideas of the imagineers, George Lucas also contributed several ideas which made it into the completed version of the Star Tours attraction. Because George loved seeing the behind the scenes areas at Disneyland, he suggested that the Starspeeder go the wrong way during part of the ride. The idea for a crazy pilot also came from George Lucas. This idea later evolved into the enthusiastic rookie pilot known as Rex.
George Lucas and his team at Industrial Light & Magic produced the film for Star Tours. The original plan was to occasionally replace the 70mm film with a new adventure. However, because of the type of film and projectors used, this task proved to be too difficult and was not implemented in the original version of the attraction. After the film was loaded into the projector, imagineers used a joystick to synchronize the motion of the simulator with the action on screen.
To celebrate the opening of Star Tours at Disneyland, the park was kept open for 60 hours straight. The attraction proved to be a great success and can now be found at four Disney parks around the world. In 2010, Star Tours received a make-over at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The new version, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, finally brings the idea of multiple ride experiences to life with over 50 story combinations available.
Have you experienced Star Tours at a Disney park? Let us know what your favorite Star Tours adventure is in the comments below!
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