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Defending Star Tours

Since Star Tours officially opened last May, there's been quibs and remarks made to the effect that the new Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a disappointment in terms of the crowds Disney hoped to generate.  If you recall, Disney was anticipating massive crowds that could have very well extended out of the park. That didn't happen but there's plenty of reason to believe that the new Star Tours is stlll a tremendous success.

For whatever reason, gargantuan lines seem to be the way many guage if an attraction is popular or not.  If you think of the really long lines that persist at Toy Story Midway Mania or the long lines that coincided with the opening of the Subs with Nemo and Friends in Disneyland or the long lines typically found at Soarin, you get the idea of what we're talking about.  The hitch in that thinking is long lines do not represent popularity as much as it represents ride capacity.

Quite often, the rides with the longest lines are the rides with the lowest capacity.  Soarin, Dumbo and the Disneyland subs are all rides with very low ride capacity.  Star Tours, however, has a much higher guest capacity and can move guests through faster than other attractions.  In fact, the Disney's Hollywood Studios version has two more simulators than Disneyland's version.  Nevermind the fact that Star Tours is a thrill ride, which in itself alienates a segment of the park guests from even considering riding it.

It irks me to hear that Star Tours isn't a run away success because quite frankly, I think it is.  While some people may have a nostalgic yearning for the old Star Tours ride, it's hard to find someone that would prefer the old ride to the new one.  The new ride system is great and certainly more exciting and fun.  Let's also point out that nearly a year later, the effects on the ride and in the queue are still working and the attraction has never looked better.  In short, it's a really fun ride.

By looking at a ride's line length and labeling it a failure or success based on that is silly.  There is no question guests are intrigued by the new ride and have come to check it out.  And it behooves me to mention that the average Walt Disney World visitor, unlike the average Disneyland visitor, is not local and comes down perhaps once every 3-5 years and quite often does not do much research into what's new and happening.  Therefore, Walt Disney World does not draw the ungodly crowd sizes to new attractions like have happened out in Disneyland. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, we can look upon the new Star Tours as nothing but a resounding success.  While it did not generate lines that could eclipse Toy Story Midway Mania's, it's the ride content that really counts.  This quality attraction should be looked at for what it is and not what the current wait time says.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 by