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Disney Star Wars ride gets new look (photos)

After being closed for a redesign, Star Tours reopens with better technology, 3D imagery, and new destinations chosen from the expanded "galaxy far, far away."

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John Lewinski
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Star Tours lines

ANAHEIM, Calif.--It was a Star Wars-themed weekend at Disneyland as the new and improved Star Tours ride, called Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, reopened to the public after being shut for more than a year for a redesign. Using improved motion simulators, new art design, and Dolby digital 3D technology, the new ride ditches some of the old comedy elements to recruit riders into the Rebellion.

Riders randomly visit any two of six destinations, including Coruscant, Hoth, Kashyyyk, Naboo, Tatooine, and The Death Star. With three possible opening scenarios and three possible conclusions randomly selected during the ride, visitors can experience 54 different combinations on the ride, all while meeting R2-D2, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, Jedi Master Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca.

Opening-weekend lines ran between 50 minutes and two hours long.

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HD screens

As Star Wars fans wait to board their star shuttle (motion simulator), new HD screens overhead explain how the ride works, and tell them about possible destinations and possible "dangers." All messages and announcers stay in character.

The ride, which first opened in 1987, has reopened at Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California after being refitted.

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Droids entertain

Improved audio animatronics keep C3PO and R2D2 bickering while would-be star travelers pass below. The new ride is set to take place between the three prequels and the original trilogy, sending galactic travelers out into a galaxy ruled by Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire with C3PO and R2D2 piloting your misguided star shuttle.
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R2D2 primes the star shuttle

In a galaxy now ruled by the Empire, the new Star Tours shuttles are crewed by droids like R2D2 and C3PO. Fortunately, there are no more signs of the annoying comic-relief robots from the original Star Tours ride.
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Droid TSA techniques

Audio animatronics and improved visuals keep riders entertained while droids "scan" their luggage.
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Ewoks and company

New 3D projectors create the illusion of alien shadows filing onto their transports.
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Imperial security

Star Tours visitors cooperate with Imperial security. With some clever Disney art design and camera tricks, Star Tours passengers are "scanned" before boarding their flights. The entire ride lasts about 4.5 minutes, and it all flies by in a bouncy blur once you strap into the simulator.
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Star Tours in Dolby

Dolby worked with Disney and Lucasfilm to provide the glasses, audio engineering, and 3D technology for the new Star Tours. With three beginning sequences and three endings, riders can now visit Star Tours a total of 54 times and have a different experience each time.
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Passengers ready to depart

Once belted into their motion simulators, passengers prepare for their journey to any of six possible destinations. (We aren't allowed to show you visuals from the actual trip.)
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Merchandise

Every good Disney ride ends in a gift shop. Star Tours is no different.

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