For this Sci-Friday, enjoy a remastered 70mm version of the Original Star Tours ride. Take a look:
According to Wikipedia, the Star Tours ride was originally considered to be for The Black Hole but the expense and lack of popularity caused the project to be shelved. Meanwhile, Lucas and his team of special effects technicians at Industrial Light & Magic produced the first-person perspective film that would be projected inside the simulators. Star Tours utilized hydraulic motion base cabins featuring six degrees of freedom, including the ability to move 35 degrees in the X-Y-Z plane.
It was not all smooth sailing, however. The original script of the ride ran for 20 minutes, and went through several drafts before ending up with the final 4:30 version. Further, Imagineers were working with a new ride technology that was both complicated and finicky, and the team responsible for programming the motion of the vehicles found it nearly impossible to synchronize the movement to the audio track of the film. This resulted in the custom development of a joystick-based programming system that allowed programmers to design movements in real-time with the film playing on the monitor. Last-minute structural changes were needed to accommodate the full-motion simulators. Everything worked out, and Disneyland stayed open for a marathon 60-hour to celebrate the new ride’s opening. Star Tours ran for twenty three years, from 1987 to 2010, before being shut down to be re-imagined into its current incarnation.
But we can still appreciate the original Star Tours for what it was. Fun fact – the Captain RX-24 droid was played by none other than Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens himself. One more fun fact – the life-size AT-AT walker outside the Star Tours entrance used to periodically shoot “lasers” in the form of water.
I hope you enjoyed this deep dive on a Star Tours. Please feel welcomed to dive down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Have a great weekend! 🙂