Disney has revealed new details of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, which is set to open at Walt Disney World and Disneyland within weeks.
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. It is due to debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 20, 2011, before opening at Disneyland on June 3, 2011.
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. Disney claims that different combinations of story elements will be generated at random, helping to keep riders guessing what will happen next.
Spoiler warning: readers wishing to keep all of Star Tours: The Adventures Continues' plot elements a secret until they experience the ride should not read any further.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will be based on a similar premise to its predecessor, which saw guests boarding a spacecraft piloted by an android. In the original ride, the tour soon went awry - with the craft getting caught up in a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire.
The action in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will take place in the period between the Star Wars prequels and the original trilogy. This actually makes it a prequel to the original attraction, which took place after the events of Return of the Jedi. This is reflected in the naming of the ride vehicles, with the original ride's Starspeeder 3000s being "downgraded" to Starspeeder 1000 models.
As was the case for the original attraction, the queue for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will be themed around a bustling spaceport. R2-D2 and C-3PO, the droids who have featured in all six Star Wars films to date, will greet guests as their Starspeeder 1000 vehicle is prepared for its journey. Antony Daniels will voice the character, as he did in the movies.
During the wait to board, guests will also be introduced to Ace (otherwise known as AC-38), a "Tour Droid" who will lead guests on their journey through the Star Wars universe, and Aly San San, a "Waitress Droid" who will act as a "spokesbot" for Star Tours.
After boarding their Starspeeder 1000 for Star Tours Flight #1401, riders will soon find things going wrong. As previously revealed, C-3PO will find himself in the pilot's seat instead of Ace. The craft will then be pursued by the Galactic Empire, aided by a bounty hunter hired to hunt it down.
The chase across the galaxy will take in several well-known planets from the Star Wars universe. Disney has previously announced that these will include Endor (the home of the Ewoks, as seen in Return of the Jedi), Bespin (and its floating Cloud City) and Aldeeran (the ill-fated home planet of Princess Leia). Guests will also be transported to Coruscant, a planet which plays a key role in the 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.
Disney's new press release reveals that the ice planet of Hoth, the Wookies' home planet of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan planet of Naboo will also appear.
The press release also reiterates that several fan-favorite characters are set to appear in the updated simulator ride, including Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. A new legion of stormtroopers, dubbed "Skytroopers", are set to make their debut appearance in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
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.
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.