Since we happen to be in Japan at the moment, I’d like to switch gears a little bit and talk a bit about our experience going to Tokyo Disneyland — in particular, the new “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue” attraction, which just opened last month. It’ll be photo-heavy, so I’ll put the majority of the pictures on the individual page for this post (that means you’ll have to click through to see them if you’re on the site’s main page).
I never went to the original Star Tours, so I can’t really make any comparisons. The whole building seemed to be vaguely based on R2-D2’s design and colors.
This was the line for Star Tours (well, part of the outside section of it, anyway). My son and I had hoped to use the park’s “Fast Pass” system to reserve a time for the ride, allowing us to do something else and come back later, but when we arrived at 11:45, the earliest Fast Pass time was 8:00pm that night. I also discovered that Fast Pass people still do have to stand in line — just a shorter one. In any case, the estimate for the length of the wait was 80 minutes, but we didn’t have much choice. Of course we didn’t come just for Star Tours by any means, but as Star Wars fans, we had to go. I think it ended up being more like 90 minutes.
In true Disney fashion, after you get inside the building you still have a lot of waiting to do. But at least here you were out of the sun and had some things to look at.
I haven’t bothered trying to translate these, but I assume they’re different galactic destinations. There was a gargantuan video screen above us that played a variety of animated “ads” for things in the Star Wars universe, including “Tatooine Transit,” which is a Sail Barge tour company.
Here’s another section of line, where we capture our first glimpses of actual Star Wars characters in the “flesh.” Ackbar is up in a control room on the left, while C-3PO and R2-D2 have a little conversation with each other.
I’ll have to say, C-3PO in Japanese loses something… His voice just isn’t like Anthony Daniels’. And that brings up the point that the most of the ride is in Japanese. There is some English on the screens and for the safety warnings and so forth, but the actual “plot” of the ride and the character’s dialog is all in Japanese, which made it a little hard for my son to understand.
It was quite dark in here, so the photos may not be ideal.
R2’s voice seemed about the same… 😉
You encounter a number of other ride-specific droids while in line, such as these hitchhikers.
Or this guy who was x-raying baggage (the idea being that you are in a spaceport about to take a trip). He discovered an “alien weapon” that was obviously a camera.
The one below was in charge of scanning people as they got on — something that actually happened to me when we entered Japan. The people in the quarantine section were using some kind of thermal scanners to detect elevated body temperatures.
Finally, we entered the departure area.
But of course we couldn’t forget our “flight glasses” (they bore a suspicious resemblance to the 3D glasses used in other rides in the park. :))
Each ship seemed to seat about 40 or 50 people, but that’s just a guess.
Once the ride starts, the curtain goes up in front and you see a real animatronic C-3PO next to a 3D screen. I didn’t bother trying to take pictures during the rest of the ride, since it would’ve been annoying to people and they wouldn’t have turned out anyway because of the 3D effects. But (spoiler!) the basic idea is that R2 sort of commandeers the ship you’re in and takes you on a wild ride through several planets. I believe our first stop was Kashyyyk and then we went to Naboo, but I can’t recall for sure if there was anything else. As soon as the ship started pitching and moving around, my 7-year-old son exclaimed that the wait had been worth it. It was pretty exciting.
Five minutes later, when the ride ended, we were both a little taken aback. (“This is outrageous!” he said, echoing my own thoughts.) It’s a fine ride, don’t get me wrong, but after an hour and a half in line we had expected something a bit longer. On the bright side, it made the waits for other rides seem reasonable. I think the main reason it was so long was just that it was new, as opposed to Star Wars being exceptionally popular.
They had variety of Star Wars merchandise available, but I couldn’t find anything that really captured my interest (and certainly nothing Jabba-related). Unlike the things that were produced for Star Wars Weekends (many of which targeted hardcore Star Wars fans), these were aimed squarely at general audiences. Pen cases, pens, towels and the like were available decorated with Disney characters dressed up as Star Wars characters, and some other stuff like Star Tours cookies and crackers, as well as other merchandise that’s available outside the park (LEGO, plastic lightsabers, etc.). The only thing that really appealed to me at all were the small plushes of Disney/Star Wars characters, so I picked up Donald as R2 and Goofy as C-3Po as souvenirs.