Congrats goes out to Star Tours – The Adventures Continue as it was just announced that the popular Disney attraction has earned a THEA award from the the Themed Entertainment Association. The award for Outstanding Achievement in an Attraction Refresh will formally be presented in March of 2012 at a ceremony held at the Disneyland Hotel. Three other Disney attractions are to be awarded with top honors as well, but here's what the press release had to say about Star Tours in particular.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood
Studios at Walt Disney World (Attraction Refresh) This nomination recognizes the complete reimagining of Star Tours, the first simulator experience installed in a themed environment. The original attraction had been in operation since 1987; new technologies were available that could enhance the experience. At the same time, the Star Wars mythology has remained ever relevant to succeeding generations of fans. The challenge was to remain true to the vivid stories while making use of new technical tools and guest interactive capabilities.
The refreshed attraction has succeeded both operationally and with the extremely loyal Star Wars fan base. For the guests, the most compelling feature is the variable content that affords multiple storylines, locations and characters. This element of surprise is driving multi-generational audiences to return again and again to get a shot at exploring different vistas into many realms of the Star Wars Galaxy.
Comments from the Thea Awards Committee: Today's audience expectations for a high tech science-fantasy world as renowned as Star Wars far surpass the analogue entertainment world that existed back in1987 when Disney originated this granddaddy of simulators that became an industry template. To achieve a breakthrough experience, all new "state of the art" 3D digital media systems were a given, but what really brings Star Tours – The Adventures Continue to life is a unique branching story structure employing multiple destinations and characters. This non-traditional storytelling device evokes curiosity by providing 54 potential show experiences resulting in a dramatic increase in attraction repeatability. To bring a layer of personalization and relevance, image capture systems are used to integrate riders into the varied story branches. All of this is fed into multiple motion programs designed for each random sequence, creating a multiplicity of kinetics for the 54 distinct profiles and unique real-time guest integrations. While the major components create the guest "wows", every nook and cranny along the pre-show queue likewise received new story elements and advanced special effects. This has extended the experience of this "galaxy far, far away" way beyond the doors of the Starspeeder 1000 and repositions the total experience firmly in a new century.
Visit Onlywdworld.com for the full press release which includes details on the other award recipients. Naturally, StarWars.com has coverage as well. I'm sure many of us will be seeing each other in line for the Star Tours update in August of next year. Yet another reason to be excited for Celebration VI!