Final Boarding Call for Star Tours

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Image: StarWars.comImage: StarWars.com

Image: StarWars.com

As a first-generation Star Wars fan, I can easily remember being ridiculously excited heading to Orlando for my first ride on Star Tours, even though I was 20 years old at the time.

Two decades later, the simulator ride is getting an overhaul – it’s scheduled to debut next year – which sets the stage for this summer’s Last Tour to Endor.

I’ll freely admit that Star Tours belongs on the cheesier side of the Lucasfilm galaxy, what with the Paul Reubens-voiced “Captain Rex” and the crashing-through-crystal-comets and all, but the attraction’s attention to detail, its travel-agency-style posters, silly Star Wars-specific gags and inside jokes more than made up for it in my mind. (And the giant AT-AT outside? Rules. Though I will admit I prefer the Orlando version’s original Endor bunker exterior to the revamped Tatooine look of the exit/gift shop.)

I spent a few years working at that particular park back when it was still called the Disney-MGM Studios, and the occasions when I filled in on Star Tours were small slices of Force-sprinkled pie.

And when my daughter was tall enough to board, she took to the ride immediately, too – and still loves it, even though she’s also graduated to the “real” thrills of towering, fast roller coasters. There’s no thrill, though, like seeing your kid’s face the first time they punch to point-five past lightspeed.

Last Tour to Endor is dovetailing with Star Wars Celebration V in August, and even with the $75 ticket price/park admission, it’s a good bet the Studios will pull extra crowds down Interstate 4 for the send-off, which also promises the likes of a “Death Star Disco” and a Star Wars-themed fireworks and music display.

Punch it, Chewie.

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