Kris Van de Sande
Fun Facts

Star Tours is an attraction that speaks to everyone’s imagination. We try to make check all of these, but do please note that some (if not most) of these stories are Urban Legends. If you have a confirmation on one of these stories, you are always free to tell us your take on the events! Also please note that this information may be incorrect, as it is sampled from the internet, emails, books and manuals.

  • When Star Tours opened in Disneyland handed out digital watches to the first so-many people who entered the park. The watch has Disneyland written on it along with Star Tours Inaugral Flight, January 1987, and on the back shows a copyright of 1986 by Disney and Lucas films.
  • The StarSpeeder 3000 is the same type of flight simulator used by the military in training pilots.
  • If there is anything on the entrance or exit ramps (not even some drops of rain), the computer will NOT allow the ride to begin.
  • There was a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of Star Tours on February 28th 1997. First, a Cast Member read off greetings from Tatooine, Endor and Bogden. Then, Threepio, Chewie and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) walked up. She cutted a ribbon with a lightsaber, and stood around for photos. By the way, most people didn’t get the Bogden jokes, because they hadn’t heard of the planet. It’s from the Droids TV series!
  • Star Tours was not only presented by George Lucas, it was also presented by “M/Mars” before Engerizer took over.
  • LucasArts has honored Star Tours in its TIE Fighter game. In the first Historical TIE Interceptor Mission in the game, one of the shuttle the player has to inspect is called “Star Tours” and its cargo is “Tourists”. The mission is also recreated in the new X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter game, as an inspection training mission. After inspecting a YT-1300 Transport (same type as the Millennium Falcon), the next ship in range is an Imperial Shuttle, named STAR TOURS…upon flying to sensor range, you’ll discover it’s cargo of TOURISTS.
  • While waiting in line in the first section, you’ll hear an announcer ask for ;Mr. Morrow…Mr. Tom Morrow Tom Morrow was the animatronic-operations director for “Flight to the Moon” (1967-1975) in Disneyland. He, then, was transformed into Mr. Johnson when the attraction became Mission to Mars. However some claim it is a hint to Tommorowland.
  • The pagings in Star Tours include George Lucas’ name pronounced backwards. (Egroeg Sacul). Also, the wrongly-parked landspeeder has the Vehicle ID “THX-1138”, Lucas’s first feature film and his thesis from college.
  • The 2 repair droids used at Disneyland’s Star Tours are actually stripped ganders from the old America Sings show. Most of the old characters from America Sings are known to have been reused in Splash Mountain (the only one missing is the Old Grey Mare , but before Splash Mountain and while America Sings was still open, you might remember that one gander of the quartet that sang stage right (audience left) was missing from two scenes. The missing bird(s) became the G2 Repair Droids.
  • In the queue line you hear a lot of jabber from C3PO and R2D2. Anthony Daniels, the actor who played C-3PO in the movies provides the voice here as well. also the french version. Plus, one of the PA announcements (the one that’s in Ewokian) is also voiced by Mr. Daniels. This is confirmed by Mr Daniels himself in a Hyperspace Celebrity Chat answering to our question. He also confirmed he did Motion Capture for the C-3PO animatronic droid.
  • While in line, the DROID room (Sector 2) where there is the droid fixing the R5-D2 the music you hear around you is called “The Droid Rooms” which can be found on the CD “The Official Soundtrack of Disneyland and Walt Disney World”, but also in our Media section.
  • In the DROID room (Sector 2) where there is a conveyor belt moving above you, one box should contain a stuffed ewok. It was there in 1999, and I have no clue if it has been moved since. The other boxes contain various star wars jokes, mouse droids, some of han’s tools, etc. I am not sure if these items are real star wars memorabilia. Probably not, but you never know!
  • The crafts people have their initials and birthdates on the baskets that are conveying robot parts overhead as you make the U-turn.
  • In the second room, on the side with the radio playing the station K-DROID, look over by the old computer boards by the hairpin turn of the pathway. There is a small console with a keyboard on the lower section, what looks like an intercom station on the upper left and some other switches and such. This is a prop you could see while watching the discontinued Captain EO. It is in their ship near the ceiling behind IDEE and ODEE and is only visible in a few shots.
  • In the Droid room on Star Tours, next to the the droid listening to K-droid, there it a smaller droid that runs on LGB train tracks, it has flashing lights and goes around in an odd shaped oval. And against the wall on some boxes platform there is some left over track. If you pay attention to the radio that is placed next to him it was set on K-droid but I believe that now its set to Radio Disney.
  • Contrary to popular believe, the C3PO in the first room of the queue always had a silver leg, just like in the movie.
  • Once you enter the building in the line up and you see R2 and C-3P0 in front of you, if you look behind you and up to the right of the ceiling, there is a little control room with Admiral Ackbar and other Mon Calamaris inside behind the window (from Return of the Jedi)
  • In the room with the two repair droids, if look way down from the queue you can see the console from Lost In Space. It’s easier to see if you wait until you make the u-turn and look down when you’re about halfway up (it’s almost directly beneath the queue before the u-turn). Another report tells that R4-M9 stands in front of original display pods from Adventure through Inner Space which has been redressed as a control panel.
  • Right when you enter Sector 2 of Star Tours, if you look to the left, you’ll see a long shaft, but in reality it really is connected to a mirror to make it seem longer. There is plenty of use of mirrors in Star Tours. Especialy Sector 2 has a lot of them. Behind some droid tracks at the ceiling, and also the wall behind WEG-1618 (and below G2-4T) is 1 huge mirror.
  • The pipes in the queue area of Star Tours are decaled with the designing imagineers’ initials and phone extensions. but the numbers are incorrect now becouse Lucasfilm as a new phone system with new numbers.
  • The monitor in the instruction video, right before you are about to enter the starspeeder is talking about no flash photography, and the child in blue (front and center) turns around, and takes a flash photo, which aggravates Chewbacca and Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi. Also, there also is a second video that notice of no smoking,and again no Flash photography and then you see a Gran smoking sigarettes…)
  • Right before you go through the turnstiles into the boarding areas, there is a backlit blueprint of the Star Speeder. The plan view (top view) shows the centerline coordinate as zero, with negative coordinates to the left and positive coordinates to the right. The front view shows negative to the right, and positive to the left! Hope WEG-1618 checks their engineering drawings for the critical stuff better than that!….
  • When entering the simulator car, notice that the Star Speeder is painted on and the simulator is really a big box shaped much like a rectangle.
  • The people in the boarding video are Imagineers and their family! The two boys that take a picture during the pre-flight show are brothers and sons of an Imagineer. The one on the right (I believe in a blue shirt) is the older of the two and was originally cast to take the picture. However, he had quite a difficult time making the flash go off at the right time so the younger boy was told to take over. He, as luck would have it, got it right on his first take and was used in the final cut. To this day, they still bicker about how the younger boy’s camera was different and thus much easier to use but I think that the older is just jealous. BTW, they are now (in 2005) 29 and 27 yrs. old!
  • The voice of Rex (RX-24), your robotic pilot, is provided by Paul Reubens, aka Pee-Wee Herman.
  • The reason Rex doesn’t work properly is because he has a red plastic strip attached to his torso that reads “Remove Before Flight”; the strip is easy to see, but you have to be sitting right up close to be able to read it as it flips around during the trip. Not ever RX droid has this, and it depends on the location of the attraction.
  • Just as your ship is about to crash into the fuel truck, a guy in the control booth ducks down. The ship stops, the truck moves on and the guy stands up and picks up the phone. Contrary to popular belief it’s not George Lucas, but in fact an ILM modelmaker named Ira Keeler. You can see a picture of this person here. It is the guy Dennis Muren is making a final check to the person. (Dennis Muren (links) bereitet eine Szene ders Films vor.).
  • The name of the Red Leader you see on the smaller screen in Star Tours is Steve Gawley. He’s a model shop project supervisor at ILM and he did the models for Star Wars. In the book “Industrial Light and Magic: Into the Digital Realm”, he tells the story of how other ILM employees had been inserted into movies, but he never got the chance because he’s bald and has a beard. But since the Red Leader has helmet and chin strap, they let him play the part.
  • When you are sitting down inside the ride, look to the left of the REX. On the wall in the is a glossy black plastic rectangle. Behind the facade is a security camera and the monitor is outside while you are waiting to board the ride. The monitor is covered by paper. A Cast Member explained: there are always kids that want to look at the monitor and since a Cast Member is not always there, kids may go over to the control panel and try to look. The kids could accidently push a button. By covering it, the kids never know it exists. Additionally, there is a control room between the second and third cabin that has a devoted Cast Member monitoring another set of screens. Obviously the Cast Members who work the queues cannot devote much attention to their screens and could miss a potential problem. Newer Disney rides have excellent contraptions for seat-belt detection. At Star Tours, the attendant opens a small hatch on the upper-right wall. Sometimes the attendant is blatant — swings it wide open — other times they keep it open enough for their vision. Underneath the hatch are rows of green LED’s corresponding to fastened seatbelts. Un-lit LED’s are unfastened. The LED system for checking seat belts on Star Tours is actually more sophisticated than simply on or off. I once rode in the front row and when the cast member opened the console, one of the lights was yellow. She then looked up to see if anyone was in that seat. I belive that there are also sensors to check if someone is actually in a seat, similar to those in automobiles.
  • Sometimes people wonder how they get such realistic movement on Star Tours. Here’s a secret: the hyperspace effect is made by tilting the seats WAY back. The reason you don’t realize it is that your ship is going straight on the movie screen. The slammed-on-brakes effect is made by tilting the seats forward.
  • If you want the most motion in Star Tours, ask to sit in the back row. You get more motion in the back as you do the front. If you have small children or get motion sickness, it is adviseable to sit closer to the front of the ride. Regarding sitting towards the front of Star Tours if you are prone to motion sickness. You’ll actually feel the least motion if you sit near the simulator’s center of gravity. It’s likely this would be near the center seats but may be sightly offset depending on the mass distribution added by the cockpit set and the robot animatronics which are in the simulator with you. As for the suggesstions of where to sit on Star Tours, I can confirm that the closer you sit to the center the smoother your ride will be, and sitting on the isles, or the front and back rows will move you around more. In fact, if this has not been changed, the seats in the back row are raised a little higher than the rest.
  • Prior to the opening of Star Tours, the marquee above the entrance read “George Lucas Presents: STAR TOURS”. Either shortly before or shortly after the ride had its opening day, the marquee was changed to read “STAR TOURS … from the imaginations of Disney and George Lucas”. George Lucas’s top billing was dropped because of a disagreement between him and Disney regarding the Star Tours merchandizing deal.
  • After the Death Star is blown up and the ship is heading back to the Star Tours station, the Death Star can be seen blowing up in the small window to the left of the large screen.
  • The film you watch while in the ride was made by Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). The animated lasers were contracted out to a small effects animation house in Burbank, CA called Available Light Ltd. ILM animators were too busy working on their masterpiece “Howard the Duck.” Available Light also has done animation for “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”, and “Captain EO.”
  • The projector is special, because it doesn’t touch the film, so no scratches or dust can get on the film, so the film should in the same pristine condition as 15 years ago… The movie is starting to wear on several spots tough. The projection system is 70 mm/30 frames per second. The reels for the movie are in the backside of the cabin and the film strip is running under the cabin to the frontside projector!
  • Audio/Video System: Videodisc player. The videodisc is used for the screen on the right side of the vehicle. It may also be responsible for the soundtrack as well as animatronic, special effects lighting, and vehicle movement.
  • There are 40 Seats per Starspeeder:
  • Vehicle Weight with Payload: 26,000 lbs. (approx.)
  • The unkle of Master-Diorama builder Niubniub was an imagineer, he designed the hydrolics on the ride, he deceased in 1996.
  • SK-Z38 was originally one of the animatronic birds found in the Splash Mountain attraction. Its avian skin was removed, and the droid was retooled for use in Star Tours. Disney maintenance crews commonly refer to SK-Z38 as the”bird droid”
  • The video screens behind C-3PO were originally drawn using an Atari ST computer.
  • The designer of the final RX-24 look is Imagineer Chris Runco.
  • From the book “Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality”: At Disneyland in California, the computers that had been controlling the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction had just been replaced with more modern ones. These old computers were going to be sent to the scrap heap. “We’re talking about huge machines measuring ten feet tall that had been used since Walt Disney’s time,” Steve explains. “Each one of them controlled one of the animated figures. The Archives had saved the one that controlled the auctioneer character, but the others were to be discarded. Since I needed technical-looking set pieces for the Star Tours queue area, we decided to rescue them. Today they can be found in a corner of the Droid Room.
  • 4 Starspeeders can take up to 1600 people an hour.
  • Star Tours was opened on following dates:
    1. Anaheim, California: Januari 9, 1987
    2. Tokyo, Japan: July 12 1989
    3. Orlando, Florida: Decelber 15, 1989
    4. Paris, France: April 12, 1992 (Opening Park)
  • The Star Tours Print is a 70 mm film reel, displayed at 30 frames a second.
  • Early concepts for RX-24 depicted him as Crazy Harry, a gung-ho veteran of the Clone Wars. It was Tony Baxter who suggested turning the aged pilot into a rookie-droid.
  • Star Tours took a little over 2 years to complete. Construction along took 3 months.
  • The Star Tours music used in Star Tours was sampled by Tony Baxter, who listened the soundtrack of the original trilogy over and over again. He took bits and pieces of music that seemed to suit the Star Tours action. Those selections where then carefully re-scored by Richard Bellis, to perfectly match the new film. When the score was complete, it was digitaly recorded using a full 60-piece orchestra.
Kris Van de Sande
As an international commercial photographer with a passion for themed entertainment, Kris encounters and captures many sides of the entertainment industry. Passionated by Star Tours, he founded EndorExpress in 2002.