Okay, so I just got home moments ago, grabbed an Orange Soda, and jumped on the computer from my trip to the CM preview of Star Tours: The Adventure Continues. Before I start writing the review I will let you know that there will be lot's of spoilers and I only rode twice so I wasn't able to see all the destinations. But from what I did experience, I was really impressed. For the most part.
Once entering the queue, you go through a few outdoor switch-backs and then you are led into the updated extended queue room. I am really disappointed in the part of the line. Gone is backside of Ackbar's tower, futuristic walls, and hanging posters of planetary destinations. Those have been replaced with bland dark gray walls with a mural that surrounds the entire room of planets and Starspeeder 1000's. Also the back wall is just a brushed stainless steel wall with an illuminated Star Tours sign that spans the length of the wall. I really wish they did some sort of lighting effects on the sign but it's just plain white. Then you are led back outdoors to the front of the Star Tours spire. You then enter the normal way.
The first room of the queue is not really all that different from it's prior incarnation. The most significant change is the giant screen. Now it is just a single large projection surface that shows destinations, shows a outside view of the "space station" and introduces you to the new robotic characters. R2D2 and C3P0s spiel is pretty much the same with the hyper drive malfunction and what not. But they do talk about security alerts for a rebel spy in the building. Admiral Ackbar no longer has head movement but the display panels in his room and throughout the rest of the queue are brighter and more vivid than ever.
The 2nd room is where the queue really shines. I am blown away by the new additions. Once you enter the 2nd room directly to your right is an old malfunctioning Rex figure from the old ride. Who occasionally blurts out lines from the past ride which are staticy and have speed and pitch malfunctions, that is a really neat throw back from the past attraction. Unfortunately the little storage tracks that traveled around in circles above you are gone. I am sad about this, but the new additions are so good that I would gladly trade it. The two maintainance droids from the past attraction are back and better than ever. Their movements are so much more fluid and lifelike. The first droid that is under you now is running baggage checking. Behind him is a box where you see certain packages travel down a conveyor belt, then stop, then a laser turns the luggage transparent and you can see inside the baggage. This effect is SO COOL. Also keep your eye open when you see the inside of the luggage, WALL-E is inside one of them. The shadow of the droid on the end of the switchback has been replaced by a projection effect, where shadows of famous characters and droids are seen walking by. The very last thing you see in the 2nd room is the other Maintenance droid who is definitely voices by Patrick Warburton. The animation on this droid is so fluid and quick it's really impressive. Behind him is a screen that projects video from a thermal imaging camera of the guest right infront of him, similar to TOT's "Wave goodbye effect", Very fun and very interactive! The two droids also received an external make-over. They look less like Johnny 5 and have more of their own identity with new body panels and what not.
Then you enter the area where you wait to board. The tv panels have been replaced new LED TV's. Which is a needed upgrade and it shows how ACE and C3P0 get switched. Basically C3P0 is called into the Starspeeder due to a problem with the motivator and takes the place of the ACE droid. Then the door behind him shuts and he gets locked into the drivers seat. That is pretty much it. I was hoping for something slightly more climactic but it's okay. The new video shows the loading and unloading of passengers and the woman who did the original spiel is the first person you see in the speeder. Another really nice throwback to the original ride. Then you see a CGI Aly San San, and she briefs you. Then you board.
The inside of the Starspeeder is basically the same. The screen that lowers is slightly different with the new logo on it, and the TV to the right is now an sideways LCD screen. Once boarding is finished the CM tells you to put you 3D glasses on and the ride begins. The lights go out and you hear C3P0. "R2, R2 stop this at once, the pilot is not here!". But of coarse the ride goes on. Then you see the main shuttle bay (i got the same version on both rides). You then see a group of storm troopers who run up to your speeder and tell you to stop! Then a droid attaches itself to the screen and does a laser scan of the cabin (another really cool 3D effect). Then you see an image of a rebel spy who is somebody inside of your car, and the storm trooper says "This is the Speeder, STOP THEM!" and begin to blast you. You then take off into an imperial battle with star destroyers and tie fighters all over the place. C3PO then warns R2 not to jump into lightspeed but of coarse you do.
On both times I rode, I got
Storm Troopers - Kashyyk - Leah - Naboo
Storm Troops - Tatoine - Yoda - Naboo.
What are the odds? I wont give too much away from Kashyyk and Tatoine. But midway through the ride C3PO states that there is an incoming transmission. You either see a young Princess Leah or Yoda. Leah tells you than her home planet is in grave danger and she is in vital need of help. She then says "Help me Star Tours, your my only hope". Which I am not sure if it was in there to be funny or serious. But it definitely got a lot of laughs. Or you receive a transmission from Yoda, in which he states that the rebel inside of the cabin is vital to the rebel alliance and must arrive safe. Then C3PO responds saying "It looks like we have just joined the rebel alliance!"
The ending I got on both times I rode was Naboo. Which starts off when you jump from hyper speed into the battle that takes place above naboo with the Trade federation vulture droids and the Naboo pilots. You then see a Naboo pilot on the screen who says "Star Tours what are you doing here, we will lead you to our hanger". You then follow 3 Naboo Star Fighters into the planet and you speeder is hit by gun fire once you reach the surface, and you dive into the the water and see the Gungan city, and jar jar binks. You nearly hit him and the Gungan general tells you to follow the Bungo through the planet core to reach the queen. The first thing you see after you begin following the Bungo (I think that is what it is called, I cannot remember), is the giant Gooba Fish who then gets eaten by the giant godzilla looking fish. Then you see the dragon looking fish and he bites onto the Starspeeder and shakes you around a bit, C3PO then shocks the fish and he lets go, then you surface and see the Naboo hanger in front you and you skip on the water before crashing into the hanger, in which your windshield gets lanced by the tail of a Naboo Starspeeder which is completely scary and got lots of screams. C3PO does say "Breaks, BRAKES! Where are the breaks?!" which is a nice throwback to the attraction. The exit is pretty much the same. There's a few panels on the wall that will have posters on them but they were blank during the preview.
The ride is really well done. It's a new experience. Star Wars fans will enjoy it, weather your a fan of the prequels or not. The CGI in the ride is pretty good, but not the strongest at times. It does feel like the prequels at time. The 3D is REALLY good. Best i've seen ever. Really. It's that good. The glasses are comfy and fit almost any size head. I was glad to be able to ride it before the lines get really bad. But it's absolutely worth the wait.
Next weekend, we go under the sea.