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Star Wars Creator George Lucas and Disney’s Bob Iger Launch Star Tours Attraction at Walt Disney World Resort – Includes photo gallery

Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (left) “Star Wars” creator George Lucas (center) and actor Anthony Daniels, who portrayed C-3PO in “Star Wars” (right), pose with “Star Wars” characters May 20, 2011 inside a “Star Tours” ride vehicle at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. during grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the “Star Wars” films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. (David Roark, photographer)
Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (fourth from left) poses with “Star Wars” creator George Lucas (fifth from left), “Star Wars” celebrities and “Star Wars” characters May 20, 2011 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. following grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the “Star Wars” films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. Pictured, L-R: are James Arnold Taylor, voice actor from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”; Dave Filoni, director of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”; Iger; Lucas; “Star Wars” character C-3PO; Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C-3PO in “Star Wars”; Ashley Eckstein, voice actor from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”; and Daniel Logan, who portrayed Boba Fett in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.” (Kent Phillips, photographer)
(scroll down to see more photos, and comments)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Star Wars™ creator George Lucas and Disney President and CEO Bob Iger wielded lightsabers amid a legion of stormtroopers Friday to open “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D adventure at Walt Disney World Resort.

A cast of hundreds of Star Wars characters and performers – including Anthony Daniels, who has played the golden droid C-3PO since the first film debuted in 1977 – converged on Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the launch of the attraction destined to send millions of guests on virtual journeys throughout the Star Wars galaxy.

Fittingly, the launch of Star Tours anchored the opening day of Star Wars Weekends, a popular event in the park celebrating the Star Wars legacy with special shows, presentations, motorcades and memorabilia. Star Wars Weekends continue each Friday-Sunday now through June 12, 2011.

And on June 3, 2011, “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” will open at Disneyland Resort in California.

“Star Tours immerses guests into the Star Wars universe like never before,” Iger said. “The innovative technology and storytelling take guests on thrilling new adventures, bringing George Lucas’ iconic characters and locations to life in a completely new way.”

With eye-popping digital video leveraging Dolby 3-D to deliver a vivid and realistic visual experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests are immersed in a Star Wars adventure like never before on a theme park attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering worked with Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Industrial Light & Magic – the groundbreaking visual effects division of Lucasfilm – to bring the out-of-this-world attraction to life.

Star Tours, which had thrilled Disney guests since the 1980s, was “powered down” in 2010 so Disney’s Imagineers could begin work on the new attraction.

In “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” there are more than 50 story combinations, so guests can find new adventures each time they experience the attraction.

Utilizing the random story combinations, the Starspeeder spacecraft embarks on a wild adventure, visiting several planets made famous in the Star Wars films. Among the locations that might provide haven from the Empire’s pursuit are the icy planet of Hoth, the lush jungles of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan world on Naboo.

And along the way guests may encounter Star Wars characters that offer to help (or hinder) their journey, including Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. “Skytroopers,” a legion of stormtroopers created just for the Star Tours attraction story, might even join in the chase.

In fact, guests will never know where the Force will take them. Flights are now departing during regular operating hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

Comments about Star Tours – The Journey Continues

from Tom Fitzgerald (Disney creative exec) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)

Tom Fitzgerald, Executive VP & Senior Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering: 

GOOD AS GOLD: C-3PO, the fussy protocol droid from the “Star Wars” film saga, is one of the famous characters guests encounter in “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The attraction also is thrilling guests at Disneyland park at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney, photographer)
POWER OF THE FORCE: Pictured in a scene from the attraction, “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader is one of the famous characters guests encounter in “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The attraction also is thrilling guests at Disneyland park at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.
THE RACE IS ON: The desert planet of Tatooine is one of the “Star Wars” destinations Disney Parks guests can visit in the new 3-D attraction “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue.” “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue” is a new thrill attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. (Rendering/Disney)

On where in the Star Wars timeline the new storyline takes place:

“In the end, after numerous discussions, we decided to place our storyline between the two sets of Star Wars trilogies, giving the project the working title ‘Star Tours 3.5.’ This time period gave our show team the ability to tap into the very best of the Star Wars characters and adventures.”

“But turning the clock back also required some interesting changes for the Star Tours show. The Starspeeder 3000 would need to be an earlier model, the Starspeeder 1000, with a new pilot (especially since Rex, the original pilot, opens the original show saying it’s his first flight!)”

On filming scenes on a Hollywood soundstage:

“We occupied a large soundstage in Hollywood to film a key sequence of the new show. Anthony Daniels flew in from London to bring C-3PO to life on the stage, as well as workshop the script with our writer Steve Spiegel.”

“On the immense soundstage, our production team re-created – full size – a portion of the Starspeeder 1000, so we could film it from multiple angles. Later, the effects wizards at “Industrial Light & Magic,” under the direction of Bill George, completed the scene, adding in a whole range of droids and characters, and expanding the scale and scope of the scene.”

On new characters created for the attraction:

“All Star Tours Starspeeder 1000s are flown using the latest AC-series Tour Droids. And in fact, our initial plans were for our flight to be piloted by AC-38 better known as ‘Ace.’ However, in discussions with George Lucas during the course of our production, we decided to take the story in a very different direction. So while AC-38 is supposed to be our pilot, by the time we actually take off, the droid sitting in the pilot’s seat will be none other than C-3PO!”

“We also created a new ‘spokesbot’ for Star Tours, modeled after the WA-7 ‘Waitress Droid’ from the Attack of the Clones. George Lucas suggested the name ‘Aly San San,’ in reference to Allison Janney, the wonderful actress who provides the voice for this new character. We had a terrific time with Allison in the recording sessions for the show – she brought a lot of warmth and humor to the part.”

On Star Wars characters included in the attraction:

“One of our goals for the new Star Tours show was to pack as much Star Wars into the attraction as possible. That meant traveling to different planets, and meeting up with classic characters from the saga.”

“R2-D2 and C-3PO are back, reprising their roles in the pre-show, and taking on bigger roles (especially C-3PO) in our Starspeeder adventures.”

“It wouldn’t be a Star Wars adventure without Darth Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith will be accompanied by legions of stormtroopers and some new “skytroopers,” designed especially for our show. Boba Fett, everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, also will be after us, as well as an assortment of nasty droids and creatures.”

“Balancing out the villains are some classic good guys – and even a princess! Master Yoda, Admiral Ackbar and Princess Leia will appear in the show to help guide our adventures. We may even run into Chewbacca along the way!”

On Star Wars destinations included in the attraction:

“We’re going to Tatooine for the Boonta Eve Podrace and to Coruscant. Additional destinations include a visit to the beautiful planet of Naboo, a rare tour of the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk and a trip to the icy planet Hoth.”

“Of course, no Star Tours adventure would be complete without an unexpected visit to the Death Star, this time above the planet Geonosis. These destinations will be combined in more than 50 different story adventures, so you’ll never know where the Force will take you!”

Anthony Daniels, Actor (C-3PO):

“Wow! Back in the gold suit for the first time since ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ but on this occasion in front of a beloved Starspeeder, a bit like the one R2 and I’d repaired every day since Disneyland first opened the Star Tours Spaceport all those years ago. I’d enjoyed being a part of the original Star Tours, one of the most wonderful jobs I ever had. I’d been alerted that amazing things were in store for passengers on the new Starspeeder, and for me too, and so here I was again, working with many of the same creative teams, with even more spin and excitement than the first time.” 

OUT IN THE COLD: Pictured in a scene from the attraction, the icy planet of Hoth is one of the famous “Star Wars” destinations guests can visit in the new 3-D attraction “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue.” “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue” is a new thrill attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif.


“Professional grit stopped me from yelling the glorious new storyline from the rooftops. It’s fun having secrets like this, waiting to share them at the right time.”

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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