Disney is launching new, sophisticated Star Tours ride on May 20.

Will Darth Vader show up on the Star Tours ride? Catch the ride and find out. (Photo by Dave Raith).

LAKE BUENA VISTA – Walt Disney World’s long association with the Star Wars movie franchise is about to get even stronger. As Disney prepares to kick off the Star Wars Weekends on May 20, the theme park giant is also launching a brand new attraction that promises a whole new series of thrills for fans of Disney and the George Lucas sci-fi saga alike.
“This is a new attraction,” said Cheri George, who works in Disney’s marketing department. “It’s been a lot of fun to really dive into the Star Wars saga. Now I want to know what happens when two iconic brands come together.”
On Thursday, Walt Disney World hosted the monthly meeting of the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association at the Contemporary Resort. The trade group represents the growing number of business owners in Central Florida who manage vacation home properties, houses that are rented out on a short term basis to tourists.
During the meeting, Disney’s marketing department gave the association members a presentation on what’s new at Walt Disney World – including the introduction of the new Star Tours – The Adventures Continue ride. Flights will be departing daily beginning May 20 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for this simulation ride that takes guests into the wonderous world of Star Wars.
The timing isn’t coincidental. Star Wars Weekends begins next Friday as well, and continues through June 12.
“Get there early, though, because they’re very busy on weekends,” said Adam Parrish, associate manager of marketing strategy for Disney.
Star Tours is intended to be a thrill ride like Space Mountain and the Tower of Tower – get on, then wait for the excitement to build, George said.
“It’s a really amazing attraction,” she said. “You’ve got to get out and see it.”
The flight simulator let’s guests go through the entire Star Wars saga, she said – but in a fun way.
“This attraction was really built with overall families in mind,” she said. “It’s just such a broad audience that we have for Star Tours.”
Along the way, guests will be able to catch a glimpse of every popular character in the series, she said.
“There are such a ton of favorite classic Star Wars characters in this attraction,” she said.
It’s also, she added, a ride that takes advantage of the latest and most sophisticated 3D technology to make it as realistic as possible.
“Obviously, technology has changed a lot since the first Star Wars was launched, and 3D is very hot,” she said of the process that enhances the illusion of depth perception.
“You’re kind of living in the Star Wars movie,” she said, adding that the flights can go to a variety of different destinations – the guests riding on it can never be quite sure where they’re headed.
“The point is on this attraction you never know where you’re going to go,” she said. “Think about the Tower of Terror. If you’ve been on it, there are four different possibilities. With this one, there are 50 different possibilities. It’s going to be an awesome attraction.”

Disney's Contemporary Resort welcomed a local trade association group on Thursday for a preview of its new Star Tours ride.

Awesome, yes – but not quite too scary for kids, she added.
“This is a very family-focused attraction,” she said. “I don’t want it to sound like it’s really scary. It’s just more realistic.”
Disney is launching a new televison commercial promoting the ride, and it starts running in the Orlando media market next week. It shows a family getting on the ride, with an excited young boy trying to calm his nervous father.
“That commercial is so great,” George said. “It really shows it’s fun for the entire family.”

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