Star Tours, located at Disney's Hollywood Studios, is a motion simulator attraction based on the Star Wars movies.
Star Tours thrusts guests, at the Disney-MGM Studios, into the fantasy film-world of an exciting simulated flight to the moon of Endor. Guests, cast in the role of Star Tours "extras," share scenes with R2-D2 and C-3PO. They then find themselves caught up in a high-flying adventure with an inexperienced droid who pilots their Starspeeder 3000 into the midst of an intergalactic dogfight. The encounter between Rebel forces and the Empire is so breathtaking that most guests will probably forget they are only playing a role, in a scene that takes place "A Long Time Ago... In A Galaxy Far, Far away..."
: At least 40" tall
Opening date: 15 December 1989
Official Dedication: 13 Janaury 1990 with George Lucas, Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher and Michael Eisner
Star Tours 2
Information on Star Tours II opening in 2011.
From Disney opening day material
Soundstage 12 on the Backlot of Disney-MGM Studios is the home to Star Tours. This huge set-filled stage has been "equipped with all the props, dressings and special effects necessary to shoot a segment of the Star Wars saga." The story for this production takes place sometime after, Return of the Jedi, the third film in the original Star Wars trilogy. As a result of the Battle on Endor, the Galactic Civil War has unofficially come to an end. The Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader have been destroyed, and the evil forces of the Empire have been scattered throughout the galaxy. The victorious Rebel Alliance has created a fragile new republic. The droids R2-D2 and C-3PO have been retired, with honors, from military service, and are currently on consignment to an intergalactic sightseeing company known as Star Tours. Adventurous vacationers may provide the economic boost that this struggling galaxy so desperately needs. One spaceline, in particular, is eager to expand its business in this area. Star Tours has begun providing enticing new travel packages to prospective passengers that they have discovered on the distant planet of Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy. The attraction script for this exciting "Star Tours" adventure focuses on the intergalactic sightseeing company that whisks tourists around the Star Wars universe in vehicles known as Starspeeder 3000s. The trip should be a perfect, uneventful ride to the moon of Endor. But something goes terribly wrong. Causing all the misadventure is a friendly, but totally incompetent pilot droid named Rex. His presence in the flight cabin brings a humorous touch to the near calamity of his navigational space skills. Guests at the Disney-MGM Studios are cast as "intergalactic tourists" for this production. Their role is to act the part of "extras" on the set, excited about taking part in this Star Tours adventure. The guests will board special effects simulators made up as Starspeeder 3000s. The sets are so realistic that most of these "extras" will forget that they are taking part in a sound stage production, and will assume that they have, in fact, entered the Star Wars universe.
From Disney opening day material
Like most location sites on a Backlot, Soundstage 12, the home to Star Tours is designed from the vantage point of a camera lens. Simply moving the camera about creates intriguing new worlds that look galaxies apart, while setting right next to each other. Part of the exterior façade of the building and the surrounding prop and landscape area is themed to work as an elaborate outdoor set, while the part the camera doesn't focus on, looks just like the outside of most any other studio sound stage. The entrance area to the attraction depicts the forest moon of Endor with an Ewok treetop village under attack by a monstrous AT-AT, a huge mechanical prop whose backside is exposed and used for camera and light rigging. The exit area of the attraction is themed as an Intergalactic Traders Bazaar built on the desert sands of the planet Tatooine. While the outside has been designed for filming, the inside is a merchandise shop that has the look of a typical sound stage where sets, props and equipment are stored in-between shots. The interior of the Star Tours building, on the other hand, is a huge sound stage ready for filming. It is filled with different sets including an intergalactic travel agency, a droid workshop, and a special effects area with Star Speeder 3000 simulators ready for action! The Star Tours attraction is entered through the open doors of Soundstage 12. However, to get there, a behind-the-scenes movie-making experience takes place first, in the exterior queue of the attraction. The queue is reminiscent of the woodland paths in Return of the Jedi that meander beneath the arboreal villages of the Ewoks, on the moon of Endor. However, what the camera and the guests see from the front side, is totally different from the backside. The film crew has built catwalk sets containing photogenic Ewok huts. They are strung overhead among what appear to be real redwoods, sequoias and pines. Step behind the trees and the magic of movies is revealed. The trees supporting the huts are not real, they are props. In the Star Wars movies, similar fabricated tree "trunks" were created to also house lighting and special effects fixtures. These prop trees serve the same purpose here. The real plants in this area, from the Greens Department, replicate the northern California Redwood Forest where the original movie was filmed. Among the prop trees are real 20', and 30' tall redwoods that rise above a cool floor of cinnamon fern, azaleas, purple beautyberry, holly and native Florida wildflower. The outdoor set for the moon of Endor also includes a towering AT-AT Walker - also known as an Imperial All Terrain Armored Transport Walker. This huge stationary prop is situated at the entrance to the attraction as an iconic relic of the battle the Ewoks fought in the Rebellion against the Empire. Recognizable from the Star Wars trilogy this captured Imperial Walker also has the capability of shooting a special effects spray of water on unsuspecting extras. To enter Soundstage 12 guests, in their role of intergalactic travelers, pass beneath the walker and into an area that reveals the utilitarian backside of movie sets. The walls are plain and unfinished, with hurried production notes and safety reminders pinned to them. However, step around the corner and everything changes. The first interior set has been designed as a huge spacecraft Entrance Concourse and Maintenance Hanger. Here R2-D2 and C-3PO, stars of the Star Wars episodes are preparing a large transport craft, the Starspeeder 3000, for an upcoming flight. C-3PO is running diagnostic checks of the vehicle at a raised control panel, while R2-D2 monitors activities from onboard the Starspeeder itself. Vacation tips to exotic Star Wars worlds are flashed across a gigantic information wall, while creatures known as Mon Calamarians, monitor the activities from a raised set-piece that overlooks the entire sound stage.