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Disney has confirmed that a number of popular characters from the Star Wars movies will return in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue when it opens later this year.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, fan-favorite characters that are set to appear in the updated simulator ride include Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. They will join previously-announced returning droids C-3PO and R2-D2, as well as newly-created characters Ace and Aly San-San.

Last week, Disney confirmed Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 20, 2011, before opening at Disneyland in June. It will replace the original Star Tours attraction at both parks, more than two decades after it first opened.

Often referred to as Star Tours 2, the long-awaited sequel to the classic Star Tours attraction will feature an all-new plot, 3D special effects and a host of new characters. The new ride will feature no fewer than 54 different possible experiences, meaning that guests will take a different "journey" almost every time they ride it.

Star Tours closed at Disneyland on July 27, with Disney's Hollywood Studios' version closing on September 8 (the original version continues to operate at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris). The original ride pioneered the use of flight-simulator technology in theme park attractions, with the Star Wars movies providing the backstory. Based on a ficticious "intergalactic tours" operator, the attraction sees guests boarding a spacecraft piloted by an android. The tour soon goes awry - with the craft getting caught up in a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire.

For full details of the highly-anticipated attraction, read our in-depth preview of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.

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.

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