Star Tours: The Rise of Skywalker Adventure!
Today, I took my kids to ride the newest adventure added to Star Tours II The Adventures Continue at Disneyland. This new journey to the moon of Endor (Kef Bier) was themed around Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. All of the modular sections of the ride where themed to the new film, just as the previous two installments to the sequel trilogy were.
As for every flight, the point is there’s a rebel spy that needs to be delivered to a secure location by the end of the ride. The randomized locations and heroes we meet change but the story is the same.
After Threepio ends up in the Ace’s pilot seat and ends up controlling the ship with Artoo, I was disappointed to see the same Kylo Ren opening used for this iteration. It is a reskinned version of the Darth Vader opening so there was not anything new for the first part of the ride. Essentially, Kylo wants the spy (a randomly chosen person on the ride). Kylo grabs the ship with the force and shakes it, but Artoo breaks free by shooting some lasers at Kylo forcing him to volley the blasts away from himself, forcing him to let the ship flee or be shot. The droid puts the ship in reverse and the Starspeeder 1000 then jumps to lightspeed.
The Primary Location Endor
The first location you visit is the primary planet where the adventure will take place. Since the version we’re discussing isn’t actually randomized, everything is related to The Rise of Skywalker. In this instance we go to Endor aka Kef Bir.
The ride does a really good job of letting you feel the massive size of the waves hitting the Starspeeder as you experience what Rey must have to get to the second Death Star. I almost wish the film had shots from Rey’s level like these ones but I’m glad they did this in a way the movie did not.
As you enter into an opening of the split apart Death Star remains, it felt a little like a level from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order but inside the ruins of the space station instead of a downed Republic Star Destroyer. The atmosphere is pretty creepy and a lot better than The Force Awaken’s Star Tours addition which let riders enter the remains of a Star Destroyer.
The most fun part of the new adventure is riders are immediately met with a Dianoga, the trash monster that almost killed Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. The monster pulls you under with its tentacles and you see there’s a lot of them in that ocean. If you ever wondered what Luke Skywalker might have seen when he was pulled under the water by the beast, you can experience that without getting wet. Luckily, Artoo pilots the ship out of the water and out of the Death Star graveyard.
For this version, Lando is beamed I to the ship to say hello to his friends old friends Artoo and Threepio. In The Rise of Skywalker, Lando brings reinforcements to end battle and in this scenario, you are on the ships that answers the call. Lando gives the rendezvous point to Artoo and you’re off! It was pretty neat to see an original trilogy actor showing up for a sequence in the ride.
Now, this is an extreme nitpick but it is also a missed opportunity. When all the ships show up for the end battle in the film, the shot of all the ships from series is pretty exciting stuff. It would have been neat had Disney leaned into that moment more and had more of those ships turning up with you as you entered the battle. That said, what they made wasn’t bad and was pretty fun.
Getting to fly to Exegol and seeing the storms and the Star Destroyers was pretty neat. It did feel like a nice link to the newest film that was well done. I noticed a B-wing flying with us which was nice to see after so long of not really seeing those ships used in a big way. Riders also get a good look at the new TIE Fighters introduced The Rise of Skywalker and one gets stuck to the ship for a time before you lose it. I’ve seen The Rise of Skywalker several times and they’re not even noticeable in the new film so it was cool to see it actually featured in this ride.
At the end of this adventure, you return to where you started, which is strange. Ace, the pilot that was supposed to be flying the ship notices you and and is angry with the droid duo for taking his ship. I suppose in this iteration it is okay to return to where you started because The First Order has now fallen. I might be wrong, but I think this is the first time you return to the starting point in a Star Tours adventure since the first one.
I love that they keep adding little adventures to Star Tours to keep it fresh and fun. It can be a little annoying when you cannot experience the other adventures after the freshness of the new one has worn off a little. The Last Jedi iteration was a little more fun and featured, Poe, Finn, and Hux but after a year or two you are a little over it. My daughter loved but my son felt it was too short (even though it is the same length as every other adventure).
It really is kind of hard for Star Tours to compete with Galaxy’s Edge but as long as these tie-ins connect to the larger releases, I think it works. Now, I just hope they make a Mandalorian adventure and beam Baby Yoda into the cabin.