Star Tours blew up space with a 60-hour party, weird Star Wars ballet, and a slew of aliens and droids at Disneyland in 1987 after the original trilogy in the space opera used it. was released and the film franchise became a pop culture phenomenon.
Disneyland will mark the film’s 35th anniversary Star tour attraction motion simulation in Tomorrowland on Sunday, January 9.
Disneyland threw a massive 60-hour party in 1987 that saw the Anaheim theme park remain open for three days and nights without closing to host crowds that had come to experience the flight simulator New Star Tours.
The opening ceremony of Star Tours on January 9, 1987 featured characters depicting Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Vader along with the Empire’s stormtroopers. and some Ewoks. Disney CEO at the time Michael Eisner and Star Wars creator George Lucas were on hand to cut the ribbon for the official opening of the new Star Tours attraction.
Eisner and Lucas used a Star Wars light cutter for the Star Tours ribbon-cutting ceremony where Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse looked wearing rainbow colored space suits.
The 1987 opening ceremony featured Han Solo and Princess Leia dancing together in what would later be called the “Darth Vader Ballet” in Star Tours lore.
The launch of Star Tours at Disneyland in 1987 kicked off a series of partnerships and mergers that would see Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise eventually become part of the Disney company in 2012.
Since then, Disney has opened up Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed lands at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019 with a Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser The hotel will open at Walt Disney World in Florida on March 1.
Star Tours has grown and expanded over the past 35 years with new versions of its Star Wars attractions being built at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris.
The release of the “Star Wars” prequel gave Walt Disney Imagineering the opportunity to update Star Tours with new 3D storytelling, technology, and visuals in 2011. Extensive renovations have resulted added new destinations and the C-3PO droid protocol as the pilot of the StarSpeeder 1000. The fantasy people used a “slot machine approach” to storytelling allowing for multiple story combinations.
Star Tours added a scene featuring characters, spacecraft, and locations from “The Force Awakens” during the 2015 “Season of the Force” event. The Galactic planet Batuu was added to the Star Tours itinerary in 2017.
Imagineering introduced two new scenes in 2019 of the venerable motion-simulated attraction inspired by “Rise of Skywalker” that took riders to the ocean moon Kef Bir in Star Wars and An epic space battle between hundreds of Terminators of the Stars.
Today, after a flurry of updates, Star Tours-goers can experience more than 100 different storytelling combinations on the venerable 1987 attraction.
Imagineering reviewed behind-the-scenes footage of Disneyland’s Star Tour for 10 episodes “Behind the attraction” The series premieres on Disney+ in July.
The Star Wars ride addition came in the ’80s and ’90s when Disney introduced attractions based on non-Disney intellectual properties like Indiana Jones Adventures, Toon Cars Spin by Roger Rabbit and “Captain EO” by pop singer Michael Jackson.
Disneyland was grappling with new ride ideas in the 1980s following a flurry of Disney mediocrity when Imagineering turned to Lucas and his hugely popular Star Wars franchise for creative inspiration, will eventually lead to Star Tours to Tomorrowland.
“I want to be in Tomorrowland,” Lucas said in the Disney+ series. “I think that part of the park is always a little less than it could be.”
That certainly helped Lucas, who is a lifelong Disneyland fan, visited the Anaheim theme park on the second day it opened in 1955. Star Tours gave Disneyland access to the trio’s pop-culture phenomenon. The original Star Wars just ended in 1983.
The alliance between Lucasfilm and Imagineering has proven wildly successful. The huge fan base of Star Wars forced Disneyland to stay open for three consecutive days when Star Tours launched in 1987.
Disneyland staffers Annette Gonzales and Mike Gibson both worked on the 60-hour grand opening party for Star Tours in 1987.
“The guests were really excited because it was something that was definitely different from any other attraction we’ve opened,” Gonzales said in a Disneyland staff newsletter. “It was a flight simulator, but they didn’t know it until they got into it. Our line actually begins at Main Street, USA next to Emporium. ”
Gibson, who put Lucas and Eisner on their first flight on Star Tours in 1987, said Imagineering joined Disneyland employees in the construction of the park’s first Star Wars attraction.
“We all have a say in how we will operate the attraction, with guidance from the Imagineer of course,” Gibson said in the Disneyland staff newsletter. “It got us even more excited, as we were all watching this thing go from nothing to a spectacular attraction.”
Gonzales currently works on the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure while Gibson still works on Tomorrowland at Disneyland.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/07/disneyland-launched-star-tours-35-years-ago-with-an-epic-60-hour-party/ Disneyland launched Star Tours 35 years ago with an epic 60-hour party – San Bernardino Sun