Star Tours 31st Anniversary

Star Tours 1987 Star Tours 1987

Today (9th January in the US, 10th January in NZ) marks the 31st anniversary of the Star Tours immersive ride at Disneyland, Anaheim. To celebrate that milestone, we’ve dug up some vintage newspaper photographs (and their accompanying captions) that were distributed to New Zealand publishers in early January 1987.

Famous Pair (left image) — Famed “Star Wars” Droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are mechanically tested before joining the Disneyland show as part of the all-new ultimate thrill attraction from the imaginations of Disney and George Lucas, “Star Tours”. The exciting adventure through space opens exclusively at Disneyland on Jan. 9.

Welcome (right image) — Mickey Mouse welcomes two new friends to the Magic Kingdom, droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. The world-famous “Star Wars” characters have become members of the Disneyland show in the all-new ultimate thrill attraction from the imaginations of Disney and George Lucas, “Star Tours”. The exciting adventure through space opens exclusively at Disneyland on Jan. 9.

The original versions of Star Tours closed at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2010, to undergo upgrades to second generation instances of the attraction, Star Tours – The Adventures Continues. Those who visited Star Tours in its early days, however, will remember what was, particularly for its time, a ride that mixed impressive animatronic droids as you entered the ride, with advanced multi-axis motion simulation, and familiar big screen characters, vehicles, and visual effects. It was a portentous relationship between Lucas and Disney that preceded the sale of the former’s empire to the latter by more than a couple of decades, but one that reflected George’s passion and admiration for Walt Disney’s creations (Lucas was 11 in 1955, when Walt Disney opened the Magic Kingdom, and George was among the first in line).

Happy Birthday Star Tours, and may The Force continue to be with you!

Read more about the early George Lucas + Disney relationship (1955-1987), as published in the Disney News magazine in 1987.