December 20th, 2019 marks the opening of not only Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but an incredible new journey on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disney Parks around the world. The Star Tours Starspeeder will now take guests to two destinations inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker! I was with the first group of guests to tour this new installment of Star Tours courtesy of Disney Parks. Here is some spoiler-free information that will help you prepare for your own journey.
The Star Tours Starspeeder takes you to Kef Bir and another location you see towards the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Once again you are immersed in the Star Wars universe as your Starspeeder travels through space, and gets dumped in the ocean for the first time! Those with weak stomachs – beware. I do not normally have a problem with this ride, but I found myself getting a little queasy seeing, hearing and feeling ocean waves. If it does affect you, simply close your eyes like Rey tapping into the Force. Then open them to see a classic creature from Star Wars: A New Hope! I was delighted to see this creature in a completely different iteration.
As in previous versions of Star Tours, a famous Rebel or Resistance member delivers an urgent transmission in between destinations. A veteran of the original trilogy appeared, and several of us on that first ride felt emotional. No spoilers here, but if you aren’t careful you may see a Disney-released image of them.
Just as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wraps up the Skywalker Saga, this new version of Star Tours wraps up in a similar way. C-3PO lands the Starspeeder badly, as usual, but he’s getting better. He has returned the ship to the Star Tours launch bay!
For the next few month, Star Tours will exclusively feature the destinations and characters inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. With the new Rise of Skywalker updates, Star Tours now offers you more than 100 storytelling combinations.
John Williams Scores Star Tours!
After our ride, we had an opportunity to speak with Tom Fitzgerald, Walt Disney Imagineer, who has been involved with Star Tours since its inception in the 1980’s. He was eager to talk about the latest addition, and we were eager to ask him questions. The full audio will be available on an upcoming Fangirls Going Rogue podcast. It’s delightful to hear Imagineers talk enthusiastically about their craft.
Tom and his team worked closely with Industrial Light & Magic to recreate locations from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Curious, I asked Tom if Michael Giacchino had stepped in to score this new iteration as he has in the past. I was shocked to learn that the legendary film composer John Williams composed the music with orchestrator Bill Ross. Williams actually rearranged his scoring schedule for The Rise of Skywalker to accommodate Star Tours, and the score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London! Some of the musicians on the scoring stage had even played in the recordings for the original Star Wars Trilogy. After hearing that information, I had to ride again!
So when you board your Starspeeder for a ride on the updated Star Tours, listen closely as the attraction, sound effects and John Williams-composed music immerses you in a galaxy far, far away.
Author Sarah Woloski is host of Fangirls Going Rogue and Skywalking Through Neverland podcasts. Check out her coverage of the Women of Lucasfilm panel hosted by Porsche. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @JediTink