The origins of Star Tours, Disneyland Paris’ ultimate Star Wars experience

For many fans, the long-awaited day is here: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming to French theatres, two full days before its American premiere. Since 1992, Disneyland® Paris has hosted an incredible Star Wars experience that brings Guests into the saga’s universe. Let’s revisit this attraction, a must-do for a whole generation of fans: Star Tours.

Inspired by George Lucas’ unforgettable Star Wars™ original trilogy, Star Tours at Disneyland® Paris is the fourth attraction set in this in this creator’s universe. The first Star Tours attraction opened in 1987, in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park in California. Two years later, Tokyo Disneyland welcomed the second Star Tours attraction version at its own Tomorrowland in 1989, and the third opened this same year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The fourth attraction was unveiled on 12 April 1992 at Disneyland Paris, on the theme park’s opening day. Though each attraction features a different queue or numbers of Starspeeders, each is part of the same adventerous and captivating Star Wars saga space adventure.

Star Tours in Discoveryland in April 1992

 

A hive of innovation

In 1987, Star Tours at Disneyland Park was the first attraction in the world to feature flight simulation technology in a theme park. The Starspeeder 3000 is a real simulator used by real civil, commercial, and military pilots. Imagineers wanted to elevate the Guest experience, so they added a synchronized series of featuresncluding a 70 mm film, special effects, robots, and themed props in the simulator cabin.

George Lucas with Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, 1986

Lucasfilm, Ltc. has been a key collaborator. Industrial Light and Magic (George Lucas’ cinema special effects company) produced the special effects on the Star Tours film. A projector adapted for 70 mm films was installed under the cabin to project images on its ‘windscreen.’ Avid fans might recognize one of ILM’s visual effects model makers, who plays the role of an X-wing pilot in the Death Star scene.

The original storyboard for the attraction

A truly authentic experience

Guests truly feel that they are fully immersed in the Star Wars universe, which explains in large part the immense success of these attractions. Star Tours at Disneyland Paris features its own backstory, wherein Cast Members are ‘astro-stewards’ of the Star Tours company, whose astroport is in Discoveryland. Cast Members wear the generic Discoveryland costumes, a timeless uniform inspired by the characters imagined by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and George Lucas. However, the characters, sound effects, musical soundtrack and key themes from the Star Wars films are present throughout – from the moment Guests enter the queue. For an even more realistic experience, each attraction features original movie props. In California, the real droids R2-D2 and C-3PO from the movies are part of the attraction’s line, and C-3PO’s dialogue was even recorded by the original artist, Anthony Daniels, in all the Disney Theme Parks (including in French for Disneyland Paris). Daniels also donned the full C-3PO costume to act in those scenes written for the queue, so Imagineers could reproduce his real movements for the Audio-Animatronics feature. At Disneyland Paris, true fans might recognize a disassembled speeder bike and other familiar Star Wars props.

Located right next to the Jedi Training Academy, there’s no doubt that Star Tours will continue to be very popular in the upcoming weeks. Please note that the attraction will close in early the beginning of 2016 for extensive renovations, and will reopen a few months later with brand new surprises.

*In 2011, the American attractions versions, in both California and Orlando, evolved under the direction of George Lucas. They’re now called Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Since these adventures take place chronologically between episodes three and four, passengers climb aboard a Star Speeder 1000 and wear 3-D glasses. In 2013, the Tokyo attraction was also updated.

0 thoughts on “The origins of Star Tours, Disneyland Paris’ ultimate Star Wars experience”

  1. Hi, there! I’m from Brazil, and I’ll be at DisneylandParis on my 40th birthday with my family (a husband and 3 daughters). May I have my “magical birthday ever”? This include a character? How I order it? We’re ordering a 1day/2parks ticket, and we have a doubt about the time of Paris Express. It leaves Disnenyland at 8pm, is that time AFTER the fireworks and night parade? We’re very excited with this family travel,and we’ll be waiting ansiously for your reply

  2. Wonderful article, please more like this!

    I’ve never seen that castle elevation artwork before, could you post it in a higher resolution? Would love to thoroughly investigate the details of it.

    Kind regards
    Disneyland Paris Treasures

  3. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by your blog.

  4. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  5. What’s the point of attracting adults and “reconnecting them with childhooh emotions and memories” if once they’re there you’ll treat them like they’re not welcome?
    Maybe the problem is not our perception is wrong. Maybe the problem is you really don’t want us to go.

  6. There’s a Santa Fe style hotel? Oh my! Will have to go back and stay there! Only hotel I had time to see on my first visit was the Disneyland Hotel on my way into the park to see Captain Eo after it re-opened in June 2010. I was on a one-day visit via the Eurostar from London (on holiday there from Australia) so very limited time – too limited. But I loved it.

  7. I’ve been 4 times to Disneyland Paris in the last 3 years and each time the service has been absolutely dredful and not even apologetic – would love to see how this changes.

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  12. Also my question:-) Is there a way to buy something although i’m not working at Disneyland Paris?

  13. So, so sad to see this icon show close! I first saw it in California in 1987 and was blown away by what was then incredible 3D technology, as well as Michael’s performance. When I visited Disneyland Paris for the first (and thus far, only) time on 24 June 2010 I was on a EuroStar day trip to the park from London which I was visiting for Michael Jackson 1st anniversary events with his UK fans. When I heard that Disneyland Paris and other Disney Parks were re-opening the film as a tribute to Michael, I HAD to make the journey across the channel to see it again. Needless to say, I made the most of the opportunity for repeat screenings on that day. And though I’ve since seen it repeatedly in Anaheim and Tokyo (shortly before it closed there last year) I’ll never, ever forget seeing it on the big screen for the first time since the 80s at Disneyland Paris. I’m not sure I want to go back now. 🙁

  14. It’s a shame this classic has to go, really!
    I’m glad I got the chance to experience it once again with the tribute performance.

    It was not quite the same since many of the original effects and the look and feel of the cinema were missing, still the old 3D glasses/technique and and analogue! print/and projector was used, which was and is kind of lazy from Disney. Also, the print was very worn out the last time I’ve seen it and should have been replaced long ago.

    But, still better than no Captain EO.

    Since Captain EO will never return to the Disney parks, please release a worthy blu-ray of this classic masterpiece (in 3D and 2D). I’m sure plenty of Disney-, Michael Jackson-, Anjelica Huston, Franics Ford Coppola- and George Lucas-Fans would buy it in an instant!

    I sure would!

  15. Why oh why is this closing?

    Have seen it several times at Disneyland Paris in the last couple of years and and each showing was packed out! Judging by everyone’s reaction on the way out, the audience clearly loved both the film and its effects.

    Bad decision, Disney 🙁

  16. The reason it has closed is that jardly anyone watches. Figures have dwindled and have been for years. It has been declining in the mast few years. Everyone moans and groans but it costs Disney to keep it running and if the audiences ain’t coming, who can afford to keep it.

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  19. We used these just after Christmas. Such a vast improvement since our last visit in summer 2014. Well done! I still had to wait from about 9am to get a good spot in the queue, but then we only waited about 10 minutes in the actual pavilion, as opposed to 70 minutes last time!

  20. We had a wonderfull new years evening at euro disney 2015 – 2016!!!!
    It was fantastic!!
    Thank you!

  21. Will the foliage be refurbished? Many leaves and small branches are missing and spoil the attraction so hopefully these will be refurbished.

  22. Hello We are a family of 4 with my husband and 2 children.I am 32 weeks pregnant.With the easy access card will I have access to attractions with my family.

  23. would changing the perception around DP to attract adults or a particular age groups not be at the expense of other age groups eg kids, teenagers.

  24. What a shame that they cast aside the park’s heritage, people’s memories and their love of DLP by destroying the named stones and replacing them with bland slabs.
    There were a few broken and loose ones, but surely they could have been kept and relayed to a better standard than they had previously.
    It has really dampened our DLP experience. What next? Removal of the castle?

  25. it’sasmallworld is more beautifulthan before.

    I will ride to it’s a smallworld during go to disneyland paris.

  26. i come to disney land for 20 years every year 2or3 times
    i am a real disney fan i collect it also but my complain is this year
    when y order to stay in the hotel why did they not mention
    that there is so many attraction close in the park you mention about the hotel but let also know about what happen in the park
    i hope you understand why i writhe this
    i hope that you will reply
    thanks yolande

  27. I want cast menbers . business chaienge back stage new shw works
    my challenge .
    U.S.A I want art work project menbers.

  28. Hello, I am staying at the Hotel on 9/23/16. That day is my daughter’s birthday. Do you have the opportunity to purchase a cake?

  29. Can anyone help with getting in touch with photopass for Disneyland Paris. Tried sending email through contact us but email keeps coming back undeliverable. All photos are not coming up and need them to find my photos.

  30. Not Impressed! Big Thunder mountain is one of my favorite Disney Rides! Shut! Simlarly, the Star Wars events are apparently unavailable.No mention of these attractions being shut when my booking was made in June. My grandson, for whom we arranged this trip, has extatically reached the height limit, and a star wars addict/devotee will now be denied these pleasures. Will there be a refund/discount offered?

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