Episode 11: Star Tours – Featuring Kris Van de Sande

For episode 11 of the Magical Disneyland Paris Podcast Andrew and Simon are joined by self titled Star Wars geek Kris Van de Sande to discuss the recently closed Star Tours attraction at Disneyland Paris.

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Show Notes (as promised!)

From @CafeFantasia. HISTORY In a June 1985 episode of the documentary series “Disney Family Album”, Imagineer Randy Bright first spoke about WED’s simulator project. https://youtu.be/xkWVC6a6iaA?t=24m22s “It’s taking the principle of the flight simulation motion bases that are used to train fighter pilots, and applying it to a miniature theatre, in which 30 to 40 guests would experience (just like they would in real-time) a very visceral experience.” “Can you imagine if we had a simulation experience like that, where we can have simulated Star Wars type fights, in space? We can have all kinds of fantasy adventures.” “This box, that moves and accelerates and does things with you inside of it, can take you ANYWHERE your imagination wants to go.” The flight simulators used in Star Tours were built by Rediffusion Simulation, a company based near Gatwick Airport in West Sussex. Founded in 1946 as Redifon, and renamed Thales in 2000, their simulation business was eventually sold to Texas-based L-3 Communications in 2012. http://atwonline.com/operations/l-3-buys-thales-civil-simulation-business TRIVIA The original Star Tours at Disneyland cost $32 million; almost twice the cost of building the WHOLE of Disneyland in 1955 ($17 million). Imagineer Bruce Gordon wrote a dictionary of what the simulator could do, as Tony Baxter explained in a June 2011 interview with ForceCast: “Unlike a roller coaster that could keep going down a hill as long as you can build tracks going down, the simulator exhausts all its energy after a certain amount of time, of exhausting the hydraulic cylinders. So, you had to then TIME out your story points to meet those beats.” “One of my favourite scenes is being pulled by the magnetic force up to the imperial ship, and we used the Darth Vader theme. We were merely recovering all the energy in those cylinders at that point, but you HAD to do it.” There’s an interesting link between Star Tours and The Big Bang Theory. “The Droid Rooms” track heard in the queue was composer Richard Bellis’ attempt at creating something that SOUNDED similar to the 1982 Thomas Dolby hit “She Blinded Me With Science”. Well, the original theme song (for the initial pilot) for The Big Bang Theory, was “She Blinded Me With Science”. In a 1986 episode of the TV special “The Disney Sunday Movie”, dedicated to George Lucas’ Star Tours, C-3PO first performed his legendary rap. 😂 As long as Paul Reubens’ voice was used in the park (Captain REX in the original Star Tours) he had a free pass to go to Disneyland, anytime he wanted. Naturally he went ALL the time. So, as you can imagine, when The Adventures Continue opened and his voice was taken out of Star Tours, he was upset. The good news is, about a month before the new version opened, he got a letter from The Walt Disney Company saying “do no worry, your pass will be good FOREVER, even though your voice has been taken out of the park”. The French voice of Captain REX (in Star Tours at Disneyland Paris) was provided by Luq Hamet, who is also the French dubbing voice of Michael J Fox and Roger Rabbit. In France, C-3PO is called Z-6PO (at least in Episodes 4, 5 and 6). THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE On 12 April 2012, at his “From Concept to Reality” presentation in Videopolis, Tony Baxter said “the new version is outstanding” and that “I’m sure this will come here to Disneyland Paris in the future”. On 26 July 2010, when Tony Baxter attended the Star Tours Final Flight event at Disneyland, he got emotional seeing the fans’ reaction to the attraction, and their enthusiasm for a NEW version. In an interview with Endor Express, Tony Baxter said how he thinks the ride film for the original Star Tours was much more cinematic than The Adventures Continue, which to him feels more like a video game. However, his favourite segments are Hoth and Tatooine (podracing). Assuming it closes on 17 March 2016 and reopens on 24 February 2017, The Adventures Continue will take 11 months and 7 days to install at Disneyland Paris. That’s actually a couple of months longer than it took to install at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The ride film for The Adventures Continue is projected at 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution, at 60 frames per second per eye. Originally The Adventures Continue had 11 segments, which provided a total of 54 story combinations. However, with the introduction of 2 new Episode 7 segments in November 2015, the number of combinations possible has increased to 96. 2 Openings: Vader, Solo 4 Primary Destinations: Hoth, Kashyyyk, Tatooine, Jakku 4 Hologram Messages: Ackbar, Leia, Yoda, BB-8 3 Ending Destinations: Coruscant, Naboo, Geonosis In a November 2015 interview with MousePlanet, Imagineer Kathy Rogers said that Star Tours will continue to gain new segments in the future. “One of the fun things about The Adventure Continues, is that we can always come back in and add new and exciting surprises and destinations for our guests. So that number will continue to increase, and increase, and increase.”

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