Having recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, Star Wars fans will be hyped that Disneyland Paris has revamped Star Tours and renamed Space Mountain, "Hyperspace Mountain".
Hyperspace Mountain: a good idea that doesn't quite work
The ride’s configuration is the same as it was before and that’s a good thing, because the French version is way better than the others. Only the decor has changed: it is now a space battle in which the shuttle dashes at full speed between laser beams shots and ships exploding. It is a pretty good idea, but the actual thing is rather messy to be honest.
It is a pity that the whole thing wasn’t created from scratch. It was a quick job though, as Björn Heerwagen, the head of renovations and work on Disney attractions, explains:
"In fact, it was not planned, they decided at the last minute to add it, to coincide with what we did on the Jedi Training Academy, the Star Tours and the Discoveryland Theater. This version already existed in Hong Kong and other places. We took the opportunity to close the ride for six months, in order to change the vehicles to start with, and add this new show."
We are nit-picking though, as we still got the rush of the ride, with the added pleasure of the Star Wars anthem in the background, which is indeed cool.
The new Star Tours is a real treat. The sense-defying simulator finally got updated. Abandoning their aging video technology, Disney is now using new techniques that work so well with our American friends, with striking new images and 3D elements.
So here we are, ready for an adventure that, on paper, is rather similar to the previous version. The ship takes off, with C-3PO at the controls, we get arrested by clones, or Darth Vader, before fleeing towards various adventures.
Yes, I said clones or Dark Vader: the great novelty in this ride is that it doesn’t follow a unique script but a succession of random sequences, allowing the visitors to get on the ride many times without necessarily experiencing the same thing twice.
First there's the arrest mini-sequence and then, once light speed is engaged for the first time, another random sequence starts. So you can end up on Hoth, on Tatooine for the pod-race, on Kashyyyk (the Wookies’ planet) or on the Gungans submarine world. Before you finally get out, you receive a transmission from Yoda, BB-8 and maybe even others. This prompts you to head to a Rebel Alliance base.
Well, the end sequence is supposed to be more or less different each time, but we tried it four times and always got the same. It's hard to say whether you will one day get to Coruscant or not. This being said, the experience is even more thrilling than before, and that’s quite an achievement.
The quality of the visual elements, coupled with well-crafted 3D graphics, make this experience a truly unique moment, a total immersion in a Star Wars adventure that is perfect in every way.