Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (left) talks with Star Wars creator George Lucas as they walk through Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. May 20, 2011 during grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the “Star Wars” films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. Photo by Todd Anderson.
Pictured, L-R: are James Arnold Taylor, voice actor from Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Dave Filoni, director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Iger; Lucas; Star Wars character C-3PO; Anthony Daniels, the actor who portrayed C-3PO in Star Wars; Ashley Eckstein, voice actor from Star Wars: The Clone Wars; and Daniel Logan, who portrayed Boba Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Photo by Kent Phillips.
Walt Disney Co. president and CEO Bob Iger (left) “Star Wars” creator George Lucas (center) and actor Anthony Daniels, who portrayed C-3PO in Star Wars (right), pose with “Star Wars” characters May 20, 2011 inside a “Star Tours” ride vehicle at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. during grand opening ceremonies for “Star Tours — The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D attraction based on the Star Wars films. The attraction, which features more than 50 possible random ride experiences, opened May 20, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Florida and will open June 3, 2011 at Disneyland Resort in California. Photo by David Roark.
Photos and video courtesy Walt Disney World Resort
Star Wars Creator George Lucas and Disney’s Bob Iger Launch Star Tours Attraction at Walt Disney World
Star WarsTM creator George Lucas and Disney President and CEO Bob Iger wielded lightsabers amid a legion of stormtroopers Friday to open “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” a new 3-D adventure at Walt Disney World Resort.
A cast of hundreds of Star Wars characters and performers – including Anthony Daniels, who has played the golden droid C-3PO since the first film debuted in 1977 – converged on Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the launch of the attraction destined to send millions of guests on virtual journeys throughout the Star Wars galaxy.
Fittingly, the launch of Star Tours anchored the opening day of Star Wars Weekends, a popular event in the park celebrating the Star Wars legacy with special shows, presentations, motorcades and memorabilia. Star Wars Weekends continue each Friday-Sunday now through June 12, 2011.
And on June 3, 2011, “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue” will open at Disneyland Resort in California.
“Star Tours immerses guests into the Star Wars universe like never before,” Iger said. “The innovative technology and storytelling take guests on thrilling new adventures, bringing George Lucas’ iconic characters and locations to life in a completely new way.”
With eye-popping digital video leveraging Dolby 3-D to deliver a vivid and realistic visual experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests are immersed in a Star Wars adventure like never before on a theme park attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering worked with Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Industrial Light & Magic – the groundbreaking visual effects division of Lucasfilm – to bring the out-of-this-world attraction to life.
Star Tours, which had thrilled Disney guests since the 1980s, was “powered down” in 2010 so Disney’s Imagineers could begin work on the new attraction.
In “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,” there are more than 50 story combinations, so guests can find new adventures each time they experience the attraction.
Utilizing the random story combinations, the Starspeeder spacecraft embarks on a wild adventure, visiting several planets made famous in the Star Wars films. Among the locations that might provide haven from the Empire’s pursuit are the icy planet of Hoth, the lush jungles of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan world on Naboo.
And along the way guests may encounter Star Wars characters that offer to help (or hinder) their journey, including Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. “Skytroopers,” a legion of stormtroopers created just for the Star Tours attraction story, might even join in the chase.
In fact, guests will never know where the Force will take them. Flights are now departing during regular operating hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Admittedly some of these tees have been flaunted by Disney Parks already, but many are being seen here for the first time anywhere (as far as we know). They are the collection identified on their sleeve as the ‘Star Tours Launch Collection 2011′ in honor of the introduction of ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’ coming to Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 20, 2011 and Disneyland on June 6, 2011.
The tees, which should be available at both resorts, are likely to also be offered online at DisneyStore.com.
We will continue to offer our unrivaled coverage of the ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’ as more information becomes available to us.
Earlier today, Disney Parks announced just some of the new merchandise coming to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts this summer in anticipation of the grand opening of ‘Star Tours: The Adventures Continue’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (May 20) and Disneyland (June 3). Although some Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise was mentioned and hinted at (and shown in one case), here is additional information on the passholder exclusives:
Limited to an edition size of 2000, this Walt Disney World Annual passholder exclusive Star Tours 2 pin features a hinged door that, when closed, shows the Star Tours logo, and the Starspeeder 1000 when opened. It will retail for 15.95
The following items will be available at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts in limited quantities. They will be available for Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 20th at Jabba’s Hutt and May 23 in Disneyland at The Star Trader.
A commemorative coin (photo not yet available) will be limited to an edition size of 2011 pieces. It will retail for $29.95.
Also not yet available with a photo will be a limited quantity Darth Vader tee that retails for $24.95.
Disney Gallery to Feature Art of Mary Blair as Part of ‘Small World’ Celebration; Exhibit Opens May 13
The Disney Gallery, located at the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, has announced that beginning May 13, it will the art of famed Walt Disney Imagineer, Mary Blair. Blair is best known for her designs that inspired the ‘it’s a small world’ attraction which is celebrating its 45th year inside the Disneyland park in 2011.
The art represents a collection that has been never before been displayed in public, instead remaining inside the Walt Disney Studios Archive, until now. In addition to the art that inspired the globally loved attraction, the exhibit will feature Blair’s work on Disney animated films such as Cinderella, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland as well as Disney Parks contributions such as the tile murals for Tomorrowland, ‘ Adventure Through Innerspace,’ Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort and the never-realized Western River Ride.
We first mentioned the celebration which is uniting all facets of the Walt Disney Company back in January. In addition to the new exhibit, Disney Living and Nordstrom have debuted a line of infant clothing inspired by never-before-seen art by Blair. Disney Publishing Worldwide will also be releasing a series of childrens’ books inspired by the attraction and Blair’s art, beginning this summer and offering additional titles during the Holiday period.
Just moments before the official announcement, a source has provided us with the official press release announcing and confirming our initial report that Disneyland Resort will be offering the inaugural ‘Tinker Bell Half Marathon’ event in January 2012:
Building on the near-instant success of its Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort, runDisney is staging a second women-specific race – the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend – in early 2012 at Disneyland Resort, giving women and girls nationwide another opportunity to celebrate health, fitness and active lifestyles. After weeks of anticipation fueled by a series of clues from Disney, the Tinker Bell event was officially revealed Tuesday at a news conference at Disneyland Resort attended by celebrities and Anaheim city officials.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon, hosted by the City of Anaheim and Disneyland Resort, will take runners on a 13.1-mile trek through the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks and pass by several City of Anaheim landmarks. The course will be filled with music, entertainment, Disney characters, runners in colorful Tinker Bell costumes and, of course, pixie dust, and will finish at Disneyland. Runners will receive a new Tinker Bell “wings’’ medal.
“We’re proud to be the home of the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend,’’ said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “It is events like this that give a city heart and character. I’m happy to welcome the thousands of runners and their friends and families to Anaheim.’’
As with the four current runDisney signature events, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, Jan. 27-29, 2012, will feature a variety of activities, including the Neverland Family Fun Run 5K. There will also be a health and fitness expo featuring the latest running merchandise, products, apparel and guest speakers – all tailored for women – creating a weekend of camaraderie and wellness, plus a pinch of Tinker Bell’s trademark sassiness and sense of adventure.
“ ‘Women runners’ and ‘half marathons’ are part of a growing and popular trend within the running world – and that’s evident by the rapid success of our Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World,’’ said Kathleen Duran, Disney Sports Endurance Manager. “This new Tinker Bell event at Disneyland embraces that trend and provides thousands of women another unique opportunity to spread their fairy wings and showcase women’s fitness, health and an active lifestyle in a relaxed, fun and family vacation environment.’’
Megyn Price, star of the hit CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement, attended the announcement along with Disney California Adventure and Guest Services Vice President Mary Niven and Mayor Tom Tait. Price was the first person to sign up to run the inaugural race.
“The idea of bringing my family to Disney and running a half marathon with thousands of other women was really appealing for me,” said Price. “Being active and healthy is important for women, so I think the whole weekend is going to be a fun and unique experience for me and my family.”
With the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, Disneyland Resort will be hosting two of runDisney’s five signature events. Disneyland currently hosts the Disneyland Half Marathon during Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 2-4 in 2011). In all, more than 10,000 runners are expected to participate in the inaugural Tinker Bell event, making it one of the nation’s largest endurance races geared toward women.
Registration for the first-ever Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend is open. Registration is currently $120 for the half marathon ($130 after June 12, 2011, and $140 after Sept. 11, 2011)and $99 (includes ‘Twilight Ticket’) for the 5K event. A portion of the registration fees will be donated to the Anaheim Community Foundation. Runners can register for the Tinker Bell event and any other runDisney race online at rundisney.com.
UPDATE #1: Video of the announcement:
UPDATE #2: For more information and to register for the race, visit the official page here
Yesterday, Disney Parks announced that new destinations in the newly revamped ‘Star Tours: The Adventure Continues’ attraction include Naboo, Kashyyyk, Hoth and the Death Star, in addition to previously announced Tatooine and Coruscant, but it’s what wasn’t publicly announced that caught our attention.
Recently, Disney Parks and Resorts registered several domain names, all of which variations on STARTOURSPHOTOS.COM (STARTOURSPHOTOS.NET, STARTOURSPHOTOS.ORG, STARTOURPHOTO.COM, STARTOURPHOTOS.COM) and even the Spanish equivalent, STARTOURSFOTOS.COM (FOTOSSTARTOURS.COM, FOTOSTARTOURS.COM, STARTOURSFOTO.COM).
This strongly suggests that photos will become an option on the attraction, although exactly how, is unclear at this time. Certainly one of the key elements to a proper ride photo is a physical reaction to a moment of surprise such as sudden acceleration or drop, so that doesn’t immediately seem to lend itself to the Star Speeder vehicles we already know. Or, it may be possible that a special photo-op may be available involving some sort of special effect, only time will tell.
Time will also tell if the ride photo (should it even exist) will be part of the Disney’s PhotoPass system. Currently only two attractions between both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort use PhotoPass, and both (Test Track, Space Mountain) are at Walt Disney World. As it were, Space Mountain initially used Kodak’s system which is completely separate and even now requires an additional purchase to place it on PhotoPass. The existing contracts and play-nice-with-Kodak mentality have made it difficult to incorporate PhotoPass on additional attractions, but if photos do come to Star Tours, the fact that its content is licensed from LucasFilm may give it additional leverage to be free of Kodak’s restraints. Then again, it may not. The fact that Disney has registered domain names specifically for this apparent functionality could also suggest that PhotoPass may not be involved at all, but that photos may be purchased separately online, post-vacation.
‘Star Tours II: The Adventure Continues’ is scheduled to re-open on May 20 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World (for Star Wars Weekends) and June 3 at Disneyland.
In an email to annual passholders, Walt Disney World continued to spread news of the May 20th launch of ‘Star Tours — The Adventure Continues’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Associated with the news item was this image which features the StarSpeeder 1000 tour shuttle on the run from Boba Fett who’s actively firing at the ship. In the background looms what will become the impenetrable Death Star.
The news nibble also alludes to a special annual passholder event to-be-announced tied to the re-opening of the attraction as well as links to the attraction’s official page which promises that a confrontation with the popular bounty hunter is just one of the promising opportunities in the attraction.
‘Star Tours — The Adventure Continues’ is scheduled to re-open at Disneyland on June 6.
As families prepare for their 2011 summer vacations, the Disneyland Resort announces grand opening dates for several, highly-anticipated new attractions and family experiences.
The all-new “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” will bring a new beat to the streets of Disneyland Park beginning May 27. Also at Disneyland park, guests will once again visit galaxies far, far away with the opening of Star Tours, The Adventures Continue, on June 3.
At Disney California Adventure Park, the expansion continues with the June 3 grand opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Guests will also find some exciting changes at the Disneyland Hotel this spring.
May 27 premiere: All new for 2011, “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” officially steps off for Memorial Day weekend with an explosive musical score, thrilling rhythms and bold percussion that will have guests dancing to many of their favorite Disney tunes. Live musicians will amplify the fun, and colorful dancers will entertain guests to the beat of a syncopated drum line, twinkling cymbals and steel drums. Mickey Mouse and his pals will be jamming like never before, riding down Main Street, U.S.A. on whimsical float units.
Grand opening June 3: At Disney California Adventure park, get ready for an all-new voyage with one of Disney’s most beloved characters, Ariel. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure will invite guests to take a magical journey under the sea to experience all the fun and adventures in Ariel’s world. From the great songs to state-of-the-art animatronics and special effects, guests will become a part of her world in a way that’s never happened before.
The experience is a musical retelling of the classic motion picture as the best-loved songs come alive in magnificent scenes. Guests will sing along with Sebastian and Flounder, keep an eye out for the evil Ursula, and watch the Little Mermaid fall in love.
The Little Mermaid attraction represents the next big milestone in the expansion of Disney California Adventure park. “World of Color” debuted last year and continues to wow guests every night with magic that combines choreographed lights, lasers, music, animation and Disney storytelling. And beginning in 2012, guests will explore the new, 12-acre Cars Land.
Grand opening June 3: For those who dare to venture into the deep, dark corners of the universe, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue officially launches in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, taking guests on interstellar adventurers to Coruscant, Tatooine and other destinations in the “Star Wars” galaxy. With the return of favorite Star Wars characters and the addition of more familiar faces and destinations, guests will experience Starspeeder travel in an all-new way . . . in 3D! This attraction also launches at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on May 20.
Disneyland Hotel Enhancements: As part on an exciting renovation project, the Disneyland Hotel gets a retro theme with a contemporary twist. Along with beautiful new décor in the rooms, guests will enjoy historic and nostalgic elements of Disneyland park, circa the 1950s. In keeping with that spirit, the new Tangaroa Terrace restaurant will open this spring, along with the new bar called Trader Sam’s. The tiki-inspired design and storyline for this restaurant and bar tie in thematically with the mid-century modern architecture of the Disneyland Hotel and the adjacent Dream Tower, soon to be renamed Adventure Tower.
Guests will enjoy these exciting additions and more at the Disneyland Resort this summer. To learn about the continuing expansion at Disney California Adventure park, guests can visit the Blue Sky Cellar preview center located within the park. The Blue Sky Cellar houses concept drawings, models and other exhibits from Walt Disney Imagineering that allows guests a sneak peek of what’s coming next to Disney California Adventure.