ANAHEIM, Calif.--After being closed for more than a year for a major redesign, the 24-year-old Star Tours ride at Disneyland reopened this past weekend as Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Disney and Lucasfilm have equipped the re-imagined ride with new 3D technology, HD screens, and improved audio animatronics, so CNET strapped into the simulator to test the the new attraction.
Since the original Star Tours based on the first three "Star Wars" films ("A New Hope," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi") opened in 1987, George Lucas and company released a second trilogy of films introducing new characters and locations into the Star Wars universe. Meanwhile, improved audio technology and animatronics, HD screens, and 3D imagery have made their way into popular consciousness. The new Star Tours joins of all those elements together into a more modern entertainment experience.
While I managed to get a look at the new attraction with a press pass, park visitors waited in two-hour lines. As they wove through the traditional theme park wraparound lines, new high-def screens presented themed messages about possible destinations and the ride's security procedures. A new and improved animatronic C3PO and R2D2 bicker while they prepare your shuttle for travel through a galaxy now ruled by the Galactic Empire. While the ride remains similar in feel to its predecessor prior to boarding that shuttle, its art direction and technology got a serious upgrade. … Read more