Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? – Yoda
I am sure most of you knew who said that quote. The melding of 2 forces–Disney and Star Wars–is something out of this galaxy.
Star Tours is a motion simulator attraction currently operating at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Park, and Disneyland Paris. The ride is based on the successful Star Wars film series created by George Lucas, making it the first Disney attraction based on a film produced by another company.
The first incarnation of the ride appeared in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in 1987, replacing the previous attraction, Adventures Thru Inner Space. Star Tours at Disneyland closed on July 27, 2010 to allow for the conversion to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed its attraction on September 7, 2010 in anticipation of the same conversion. The WDW version should be open in time for Star Wars weekends in the spring of 2011.
Star Tours utilizes a hydraulic motion base cabin featuring 4 degrees of freedom. The trade name for this simulator is Advanced Technology Leisure Application Simulator, or ATLAS. The ATLAS was designed by Rediffusion Simulation in Sussex, England, now owned by Thomson-CSF. The Rediffusion ‘Leisure’ simulator was originally developed for a much simpler show in Canada called “Tour of the Universe,” where it featured a single entrance/exit door in the rear of the cabin and a video projector. The film is front-projected onto the screen from a 70 mm film projector located beneath the cockpit barrier. George Lucas has mentioned that the next generation of the attraction will feature digital high-definition video and motion bases capable of up to 6 degrees of freedom
–Star Tours Facts–
- 1987 is when Star Tours debuted
- 4 separate simulators operate at the same time
- The 40 seat flight simulator on Star Tours combines motion with an action-packed video to send passengers soaring into hyperspace.
- The 4 minute and 30 second ride is full of thrills on Star Tours as it travels past comets and icy asteroids, dodges Imperial fighters, gets caught in a Star Destroyer’s tractor beam, and zooms through the trench of the Death Star.
- $33,000,000 was needed to open the Disneyland version of Star Tours on January 9, 1987, which is almost twice the cost to open all of Disneyland in 1955 (approx. $17M).
Walt Disney World Attraction
- 12/15/1989 was the opening day for Star Tours attraction.
- 6 ride simulator vehicles are located in the Star Tours building
- 4 minutes and 30 seconds is the total flight time for Star Tours.
- 40 guests can be seated in each Star Tours flight simulator.
- 240 guests can ride Star Tours at one time in all 6 simulators
- 15 to 20 minutes was the original concept length of the attraction, but it was then cut down to 4 minutes
Here are some more general facts:
Disneyland: January 9, 1987
Tokyo Disneyland: July 12, 1989
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: December 15, 1989
Disneyland Paris: April 12, 1992 (Opened with Disneyland Paris)
Designer: Walt Disney Imagineering, Industrial Light and Magic
Simulators: 4 (Disneyland); 6 (all other parks)
Simulator’s theme: Starspeeder 3000
Guests per simulator: 40
Height requirement: 40 inches (102 cm)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: