Is Disney’s Star Tours Scary?  Assessing the Scare Factor

Is Disney’s Star Tours Scary to Ride?  Find out in today's article!
Star Tours – The Adventure Continues” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you love Disney World, and you love Star Wars, then you may be wondering to yourself the following: Is Disney’s Star Tours scary?  Well, we’re going to answer that question today, as we break down this ride’s speed, intensity, loud noises, and whether it has any drops.

How Scary is Disney’s Star Tours?

Theming – Scary Level Zero: Star Tours features outstanding theming and details that are impressive as soon as you approach the ride. The inside queue area is filled with elements that will delight any Star Wars fan. 

Story – Scary Level Zero to One: As with many of the “dark” (inside) attractions at Walt Disney World, this is more than just a simple ride. There is a creative storyline that immerses the guest in the action. What makes the story for this ride particularly unique is that it changes every time you ride it. 

There are over 60 possible storylines that could happen on the ride, and they change randomly thought the day. The story (any version) emphasizes adventure more than any scary element, although the action becomes exciting when your tour vehicle is chased by either Darth Vader, or members of the First Order. There are thrills and narrowly missed disasters, but nothing that is too scary. Smaller children might find some of it a little bit scary.

Ride Speed – Scary Level Zero: Since this is a motion simulator ride, it’s not really moving very fast. The 3D scenes on the video screen, along with the ride movement can make it feel like fast movement.

Drops and Intensity – Scary Level One: There are a few drops during this ride, as well as some bumps, tilting, and jolts. The movements combined with the 3D video create a believable illusion of being on a pretty intense ride. In actuality, the movement isn’t as dramatic as it feels.

Age Appropriate – Star Tours is appropriate for any age, as long as they meet the height requirement of 40 inches tall. The Walt Disney World website rates it as being appropriate for kids, tweens, teens, and adults. 

Still unsure if Star Tours is something you want to ride? Here are more details about this fun attraction.

Disney’s Star Tours Theming and Premise

Although this is an older and smaller ride than the newer Star Wars attractions in the “Galaxy’s Edge” section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this ride is still fun for any Star Wars fan. In the outside queue area, the landscape is meant to resemble the planet Endor, with huge towering trees and an impressive “life-sized” abandoned AT-AT Walker vehicle.

Once inside the building, guests become space tourists, getting ready to board a flight inside this spaceport (like an airport, but for space travel!). There are arrival and departure signs similar to what you might see in any modern airport. There are also travel posters advertising vacations to exotic planets.

There are several animatronic characters in this area, including C-3PO and R2-D2. As you wind your way through the line, you’ll encounter droids who are scanning the luggage of travelers. Take a peek at the scanners to see some of the funny items that show up in the luggage, and listen to the droids joking with one another. As you move past this processing area, you’ll be given your “flight glasses”. These are the 3D glasses you’ll need to see the action on the screen during the ride.

Next, passengers will be directed by a Star Tours Crew member to a waiting area for pre-flight instructions.  In this area, you’ll watch a video screen where C-3PO, who was doing maintenance on the vehicle, has become accidentally trapped in the cockpit.  As C-3PO tries to explain his predicament, the screen switches to safety instructions for all passengers (seat belt instructions, etc.) After the safety instruction, you are okay to board the StarSpeeder 1000 for your voyage!

The StarSpeeder is similar to a small theater room, seating about 40 people. The doors to the vehicle will shut, and the room is somewhat dark so you will have a good view of the screen. At the front of the “vehicle”, you’ll see C-3PO having a conversation with R2-D2 about how he’s not supposed to be in the cockpit. The StarSpeeder takes off as scheduled, with C-3PO along for the ride.

At this point, your adventure begins! The StarSpeeder begins to take off, with C-3PO still protesting that there’s been a mistake and he’s not really the captain. Just before the vehicle is about to leave the spaceport, either Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, or Kylo Ren will arrive, announcing that they are there to apprehend a known rebel spy that is on board the craft. 

They even have a photo of the spy – which then shows on a small screen like a “wanted” notice. Who is the spy? It could be anyone on the ride! Just before boarding the ride, a photo will secretly be taken of one random passenger, and at this point in the story, their photo will be shown on the screen as the rebel spy. The “spy” doesn’t have any active role to play, but it’s fun to see who in the crowd gets chosen.

The StarSpeeder then flies off at a high rate of speed, trying to evade the Imperial forces and protect the spy. From here on, the details of the story have many variations. In fact, there are 66 possible versions of the storyline that could occur, and they don’t repeat themselves throughout the day.  

You could ride Star Tours several times a day and the experience will be different each time. The story variations all involve traveling to different planets, encountering different characters from the Star Wars saga, and of course, there will be a crash landing, an ambush, or some other element of danger no matter what planet the StarSpeeder visits.

After escaping some catastrophe, your craft will then receive a holographic transmission from one of several famous Star Wars characters. These characters are portrayed by the actors from Star Wars movies. A fan favorite is the transmission from Princess Leia Organa, which was created from unused archival film footage of Carrie Fisher. The hologram message will confirm that there is indeed a spy onboard, and transmits coordinates to transport the spy to where they are needed.

Then, your StarSpeeder is off for the last part of this adventure. Your craft will travel to one of five possible destinations, engaging in a battle to safely deliver the spy to the Rebel forces. After safely completing the mission, your StarSpeeder returns to the Star Tours spaceport, where C-3PO thanks you for choosing Star Tours for your travel needs.

You’ll exit the ride through the “Tatooine Traders” gift shop, where a large variety of Star Wars merchandise is available. 

Disney’s Star Tours Ride Speed

Star Tours doesn’t actually move at a fast speed, although the 3D video technology gives an impressive illusion of flying through space. The speed is not constant, and there are several moments where the ride will jump into hyperspace, then seem to slow down or momentarily stop, according to the storyline. 

The 3D imagery is effective, but it has been known to make some people feel a little bit dizzy or even nauseous. If you feel dizzy, momentarily shutting your eyes or looking away from the screen usually helps. 

Disney’s Star Tours Drops and Intensity

While the individual seats on Star Tours don’t move, the entire room does tilt, shake, jostle, and move about. The ride is actually supported on six huge pistons that are distributed at different points in the room. Depending on the story you’re experiencing, there are a couple of moments where the spacecraft seems to drop, but it’s a relatively small drop. 

While the craft is fleeing the Imperial forces or engaging in a battle, the craft will tilt from side to side and shake quite a bit.  Coupled with the 3D video, this experience can be moderately intense. Passengers seated in the back row will feel the motion more pronounced than those sitting in the middle of the room. If you are concerned that the movement will be too intense for you, ask a cast member if you can be seated in the middle part of the ride. 

Conclusion

Star Tours is an exciting 3D adventure ride that is a favorite of Star Wars fans. But you may still be leery and wondering the same question we started with: is Disney’s Star Tours scary?  

Well, the premise of the ride certainly isn’t scary; it’s the physical experience that can be a little unsettling. The motion from this ride, enhanced by the 3D video technology, can be uncomfortable if you’re prone to motion sickness. Younger children might be a little bit scared of Darth Vader or the Stormtroopers, or during some of the battle scenes, as well. 

The action moves quickly, so the “scary” parts of the story are quickly overtaken by excitement and the surprise of encountering favorite characters. Since there are so many possible story variations, Star Tours is a thrilling new experience each time you ride it.

If 3D movies give you a headache, you might want to reconsider riding Star Tours. Taking motion sickness medication ahead of time is helpful, and there are many brands available that have no drowsy side effects.

Guests have to be 40 inches tall to ride this ride. Any guests who are using an ECV (electric convenience vehicle) will need to transfer to a wheelchair in the queue area, then be able to transfer to the ride seat. The Walt Disney World website cautions that guests who ride Star Tours should be free from high blood pressure, and heart, back, or neck problems. Expectant mothers should not ride Star Tours.

This article was written by Kimberly and edited by Michael.

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