Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
In a galaxy near, near away...
Disneyland has the ticket to ride for new adventures in space or in the deep
ARE the kids complaining that they never get to go on inter-galactic holidays?
Maybe they'd like to make friends with a certain red-headed mermaid? Either way, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim has the ticket to new adventures.
Star Tours -- The Adventure Continues, opened in Walt Disney World on May 20 but June 3 was the first flight of the remodelled Star Tours attraction at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif. The attraction was powered down for less than a year to reopen to thunderous cheers from fans that waited for hours in the pre-dawn air to be the first to visit galaxies far, far away like never before.
"The original attraction was 20 years old and was feeling its age", says Tom Fitzgerald, executive vice-president and senior creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. "We knew we had to send it into a new age of entertainment."
Once guests are settled into the Starspeeder 1000 almost every similarity to the old ride slips away. Of course bumbling C-3PO has to be the captain of the ship as it ventures to destinations including Tatoonie and Hoth, but don't expect the same ride over and over. The new attraction can morph into any of the 54 sequences programmed into the computer -- that is as soon as the rebel spy in the ship is identified -- and it could be your portrait plastered on the screen.
Yoda, Princess Leia, Jar Jar Binks and yes, even the dreaded Darth Vader are brought to life with 3-D glasses. When Yoda looks you in the eyes and says, Yoda -- I am... you could be convinced he is pleading for your help to save the empire. Faster than the speed of light your Starspeeder blasts into inter-galactic battle. The 3-D doesn't bring the action into the cab but rather creates a believable world beyond the windshield. For five fleeting minutes you tip, turn and swerve to miss 3-D attacks by vivid alien foes. When a sea creature from Gungan starts sucking on the glass with a tongue the size of a sloppy, soggy yoga mat you will be glad the effect stops there.
As those first riders stumbled back onto terra firma they howled with delight saying the update was worth waiting for. Expect long lines for Star Tours for years to come, or take advantage of the Fastpass system.
For a tamer experience, drift into The Little Mermaid -- Ariel's Undersea Adventure in Disney's California Adventure Park. After decades of wanting an attraction based on Ariel, the creators are thrilled with the results that opened the same day as The Star Tours Attraction. Aimed at a younger crowd, but still something everyone can enjoy, Ariel's Undersea Adventure has guests settling into colourful clamshells to float through the movie with the major scenes brought to life.
-- Postmedia News
If You Go
Calgary has a new faster option for getting to Disneyland resort.
WestJet now offers direct flights into John Wayne international airport in Anaheim. The airport is only 25 minutes from the theme parks.
For more information go to www. disneyland.ca.
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