The newly-named Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will replace the existing Star Tours attractions at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios, which will close later this year. Disney has already confirmed that the new version will be presented in digital 3D, and has now revealed further details of the ride's plot at the "What's Next?" event.
The action in "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue" will take place in the period between the the "Star Wars" prequels and the original trilogy, and the ride will feature multiple potential journeys to enhance re-ride value. As well as the pod-racing sequence that was shown in the previous announcement, the simulator ride will also see guests transported to Coruscant. The planet plays a key role in "Star Wars" galaxy, forming its physical center as well as acting as the capital of the evil Galactic Empire and the New Republic at different periods in the movies' timeline.
Star Tours will close at Disneyland on July 27, with Disney's Hollywood Studios' version closing on September 8. The updated version is expected to open in May 2011 at both parks, although Disney is yet to officially confirm this. No announcements have been made regarding the Star Tours attractions at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.
In addition to the Star Tours announcement, Disney also provided further details of the planned upgrades to Disney's California Adventure (discussed in detail in TPT's recent editorial). This will include the construction of the 12-acre Cars Land area, and the new "E-Ticket" attraction Ariel's Undersea Adventure.
Cars Land will open in 2012, and is centered around the $200 million Radiator Springs Racers attraction. Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer and Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering, revealed that the ride will last for approximately four minutes. She also unveiled new artwork showing off the Radiator Springs area and the ride vehicles from the Mater's Junkyard Jamboree attraction.
Ariel's Undersea Adventure will open earlier, in 2011, and will use "clamshell" ride vehicles reminiscent of those used in the Nemo & Friends attraction at Epcot. After encountering an advanced animatronic version of Ariel, guests will travel on a journey under the sea featuring music from the classic "The Little Mermaid" movie. The attraction will also open at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 2012.
Another new addition to Disney's parks was also teased at the World of Color event, albeit indirectly. The talking Mickey Mouse character that was recently shown in test footage conversing with guests at Disneyland took the stage with Disney CEO Bob Iger, showing off the stunning lip-synching technology in public for the first time (as captured in the YouTube video below). Talking Disney characters are widely expected to make their way into the company's theme parks over the coming years, although no firm plans have been revealed.
World of Color is now showing twice-nightly at Disney California Adventure. A full, high-definition video of the show can be seen here.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.