Saturday, May 21, 2011

Star Wars Days At Disneyland!

Well, it's almost time for the opening of the revamped Star Tours at Disneyland and all I have to say is....IT'S ABOUT TIME! Personally, I think this redo of the attraction should have happened much sooner instead of waiting 24 years! Even the Matterhorn got a complete revamp before it was that old!

Anyhoo...for today's post we're going back to 1997, when Star Tours was only 10 years old and the park was celebrating the milestone anniversary with "Star Wars Days At Disneyland"!

Today, guests can meet with Darth Vader, his Stormtroopers and even Darth Maul over at Tomorrowland Terrace, but for a short time back in 1997, park guests could meet with Chewbacca and a real-life Ewok.

This special banner hanging above the entrance to the attraction reads, "Celebrating! 10 Years Of Star Tours, Now The Adventure Is Real."

A banner facing the other direction reads, "Star Wars Days At Disneyland." Note the tarps and fencing up along the old PeopleMover beam. Work had already begun on the destruction of Tomorrowland.

Here is the entertainment guide/park map from that weekend.

Below, is a clip of some home video that I shot of the meet and greet area. Chewbacca was getting ready to take a break, so we get to see both him and an Ewok posing together briefly.

***As a last minute addition here to this post, I'm going to include some pics that I took at the park just last night. Star Tours was open yesterday for special guest previews only, but it ended up "soft opening" to the general public at some point during the day. Unfortunately, I got there 15 minutes after they had closed the line, which was around 7 p.m. Oh well!

Here's the new attraction poster that hangs under the train tunnel at the park entrance.

The Star Tours mural in Tomorrowland has been repainted to reflect the new color scheme of the Starspeeders.

The new marquee over the entrance.....

Now here's something that I was really glad to plants around the Star Tours entrance. The plants remind me of the succulents that used to be at the entrance to Tomorrowland prior to 1998. I think these look much more futuristic or Tomorrowland-ish than the edible landscape that's there today, but that's just my opinion.

As this sign indicates, the Star Tours Fastpass machines are located over by Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters. Actually, they have replaced the Buzz Fastpass more Fastpasses for Buzz! :-(

As guests leave the Esplanade area, this sign is encouraging them to make a return visit.

I hope everyone enjoyed this little peek at "Star Wars Days" from fourteen years ago. May The Force....and Jar Jar Binks, be with you!


Snow White Archive said...

Great coverage Tokyo! It's pretty wild seeing Chewbacca and the Ewok posing together. And then to see Chewbacca just walk off without another cast member support person to deflect the guests. If he walked through the park today unattended, he'd probably get mobbed.

Major Pepperidge said...

Too bad you didn't get to ride it, I'd love to hear your opinion! Connie should have a report for us. 24 years, wow. And how long ago did we first start hearing about a possible reboot?

Thanks for the fun video!

Dan Alexander said...

Bummer that you did not get to see the new Star Tours. I'm glad they finally updated it, and it sounds like it's pretty popular. I'm enjoying your videos, too!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

LOL about Jar Jar, yup he' really in it! Its a gratuitous appearance too, while underwater on Naboo he just shows up standing on a rock with that dumb look on his face and says "yous a better follow me"... Then he appropriately gets bumped out of the scene by the Speeder and hes gone.

Great vintage Star Tours post, love that we see Chewbacca and a Ewok together, strange bed fellows indeed!

I hope get to ride it soon!

Unknown said...

Found your blog through Dismarks and really enjoyed the article.

Never knew about a Star Wars Day at Disneyland - wish they would do something like that again!

Glad to have found your blog :)

Jason Schultz said...

Star Wars Days lasted from February 28, 1997 to April 6, 1997 (probably just on the weekends). I have photos from Sunday, March 2 and Friday, March 7 that I'll need to get around to posting (they look a lot like yours!).

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you everyone, for the comments!

VDT, I was completely joking at the end of the post when I mentioned Jar Jar Binks! I had no idea he was actually in one of the versions until I read your post about the A.P. preview. I finally got to go on it two days ago during "soft opening" and that was one of the versions we had....but yes, people did laugh at him!

Days In The Park, thank you and welcome!!!

Progressland, thank you so much for that information! I just corrected the info in my post. I was just going by the date on the guide/map and since it was so long ago, I didn't remember that Star Wars Days went on longer than just one weekend. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I could very well be your Chewbacca. I was a costumed character at Disneyland and got to play him along with a couple others during the celebration and anniversary. I got a back stage photo of me in costume.

TokyoMagic! said...

Anonymous, wow! That's pretty cool that you got to portray Chewbacca, long before there was ever a "Star Wars Launch Bay" or a "Star Wars Land," with SW character meet and greets!