Part of the beauty of Star Tours – The Adventures Continue is how easy it is for Imagineers to update the attraction. Since it relaunched in 2011, Star Tours has been updated three times. The first was after the release of The Force Awakens. The second was after the release of The Last Jedi. Now, it has been updated again with the release of The Rise of Skywalker. However, unlike the last two updates, this one is much more thorough – read on for SPOILERS for Star Tours and The Rise of Skywalker! Note – no photography or video is allowed on Star Tours. All photos below are courtesy of Disney.
The Rise of Skywalker updates to Star Tours doesn’t kick off right away. The attraction begins with one of two scenes featuring Kylo Ren or Storm Troopers like always alerting everyone on board that a rebel spy is on the ship, but after the opening scene, everything is different.
The first planet you end up on is Kef Bir. Kef Bir is an ocean moon in the Endor system where parts of the Death Star ended up landing after being destroyed by the Rebellion in Return of the Jedi. The location is important in the movie, but on Star Tours, it is merely a stopover. You go skipping through the waves before ending up in the bowels of the Death Star wreckage where you encounter a Dianoga or a similar species, which many will recognize as the trash compactor monster from Star Wars: A New Hope.
From there you blast back into space and a transmission comes through from Lando Calrissian played by Billy Dee Williams. He alerts the ship that a battle is taking place on Exogol and the Resistance needs all the help it can get. Exogol is the Sith planet that Emperor Palpatine has been hiding away on all these years.
Of course, you have to answer Lando’s call, so the ship heads to Exogol and here’s where you get the biggest spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker. Unlike other updates, no characters show up while you’re on the planet, but the battle that you’re thrust into is enough of a spoiler. In the movie, the Resistance makes their final stand against the Emperor and the First Order on Exogol, but things are looking very grim as members of the Resistance are picked off one by one. Their fortunes change and they are ultimately able to start making an impact on their fight against the First Order. You enter the battle just on the cusp of the Resistance starting to defeat the First Order, which you always expect the good guys to win, but it’s not always guaranteed.
After you help take down the First Order on Exogol, you actually head back to the port you left from with a bit of a bumpy landing that almost felt like a nod to the original Star Tours. Overall, the update is pleasant, because it really does give you a big dose of The Rise of Skywalker, but it’s not my favorite combination for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. You didn’t ask, but my favorite combination begins with Kylo Ren looking for the rebel spy, then Jakku, followed by BB-8, moving on to Crait, and ending in Batuu.
If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate The Rise of Skywalker at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can see props and art from the movie at Star Wars Launch Bay, and scenes will be added to Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular when it returns in January. Also, you can go ride Rise of the Resistance and celebrate the best way.