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D23's "Final Flight" event really sent DHS' original version of Star Tours off in style

Angela Ragno

Angela is the Walt Disney World shopping queen.

D23's "Final Flight" event really sent DHS' original version of Star Tours off in style

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Sorry, folks! I'm sure I'll do better next time. I'm still getting used to my programming! Hey! Hey!

Photo by Angela Ragno

Sadly for RX-24 (Or Captain Rex, as this AA figure is known to Disneyana  fans), there isn't going to be a next time. As least not when it comes to the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of Star Tours. Which took 240 lucky D23 members on a "Final Flight" to the Moon of Endor.

This members-only event took place last night after DHS had officially closed for the day. After the last Guests had exited this WDW theme park, an honor guard of Stormtroopers led members of The Official Disney Club up Hollywood Boulevard to the Star Tours show building.

Now you'd think that - once all of the D23 members were in place - that those Stormtroopers (especially given how warm it was last night) would have ducked backstage. Gotten out of those hot & bulky costumes and then enjoyed a little air conditioning.

Photo by Angela Ragno

But no. These Stormtroopers were real troupers. They stayed with those D23 members while they slowly made their way through Star Tours' elaborately themed queue. They also happily posed for photographs. And when it came time for that "Final Flight" to leave for the Moon of Endor, a pair of Stormtroopers boarded each of those six StarSpeeders.

Photo by Angela Ragno

I have to admit that it was kind of comical to watch these poor Stormtroopers struggle to fasten their safety restraints. But at the same time, it was still very cool to experience this last flight of the original version of "Stars Tours" with actual characters from Star Wars onboard our simulator.

Photo by Angela Ragno

As for the D23 members who were riding in my particular StarSpeeder, they were a pretty interesting bunch. We had one 20 year-old Star Wars fan who had brought his mother along. Not to mention one couple that was on their honeymoon. But judging by all the laughter & the applause, these folks truly enjoyed their "Final Flight" experience.

Photo by Angela Ragno

Once that cockpit shield went up for the last time and those automatic doors opened, members of the Official Disney Club entered Tatooine Traders through an archway of raised lightsabers. Where they were then given the opportunity to shop for some commemorative "Star Tours" memorabilia. Which even the Stormtroopers had trouble resisting.

Photo by Angela Ragno

Mind you, Tatooine Traders will be staying open 'til January. Whereas DHS' version of "Star Tours" ... According to what we were told last night, work on the remodeling & retheming of this enormous show building is expected to get underway immediately. But as to what exactly is being rethemed & remodeled ... D23 representative Barry Jacobson was (not-all-that-surprisingly) close-mouthed.

D23's Barry Jacobson -- though dressed in an official "Star Tours"
Cast members costume -- still wouldn't dish on "Star Tours II."
Photo by Angela Ragno

Anyway ... Given that "Final Flight" (minus that $5.00 ticket processing fee, of course) was a freebie and that attendees got not only a Goody Bag but also a commemorative "Final Flight" flight patch, I'd say that this D23 event was a great value. Not to mention what a speedy experience it was. Given that those Stormtroopers started walking us up Hollywood Boulevard at 8:45 p.m. and - by 10:15 p.m. --- I was exiting that theme park.

Photo by Angela Ragno

All in all, I'd have to say that D23's "Final Flight" event was a fun if somewhat sad occasion for Star Wars / Star Tours fans. Given that - as of today - we'll never again get to hear RX-24 offer his somewhat infamous pre-flight greeting:

Photo by Angela Ragno

Welcome aboard. This is Captain REX from the cockpit. I know this is probably your first flight and it's mine too.

Copyright Disney Enterprises. Inc. Lucasfilm. All rights reserved

Here's hoping that the Imagineers will be able to do what George Lucas couldn't. Which is create a prequel that will be just as entertaining (if not more so) than the original was.  I guess we'll all know for sure late next year when "The Adventures Continue!" on Star Tours II.

Speaking of D23 ... The latest edition of the Official Disney Fan Club's vlog, Disney Geek, just popped up on the Web. If you want to learn more about the sing-a-long edition of "Beauty and the Beast" as well as Disney California Adventure Park's ElecTRONica, just give the screen below a click.

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  • Looks like a fun night...have to admit to being more than a little jealous!

    And thanks for the tidbit about Tatooine Traders being open 'til January -- I had asked that question on various Star Tours-related posts over on the Disney Parks Blog site but never got an answer.  My guess is that the AT-AT and Ewok Village will be going, too.  While that's definitely sad, I'm excited to see what will be taking their place come next fall!

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