I have some info on the Disney Park Star Wars Attractions
Star Tours: The original Star Tours attraction In Tomorrowland at Disneyland opened on January 9th, 1987, just short of ten years after the release of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. It replaced a ride called Adventures Through Inner-Space, which has since disappeared from all the parks. Star Tours was the first ride to not be based on a Disney owned franchise to be in a Disney Park, and George Lucas himself oversaw most of the project. The ride became an instant hit and when plans for the Disney-MGM Studios park at Disneyworld (Now called Disney-Hollywood Studios) began, Star Tours was one of the first rides they wanted to put in there. Unlike with Disneyland's Star Tours, they were not forced to hold back on what they could and wanted to do with the entrance to the ride in Florida. At Disneyland they had to put the ride in the limited "Inner-space," if you will, of the previous attraction. This time, they were able to make an elaborate entrance to the ride based on the forest moon of Endor from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. The Star Tours attractions continued to be a hit at DLR and WDW, and later was added at Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland (Come on HKDL get the picture! Hong Kong fans want Star Tours too! lol). The Queue Lines are Pretty much the Same for all the versions, you first see C-3PO and R2-D2 working on a Starspeeder, than you continue further in the space station and see two "G2" Droids (which are actually skeletal versions of animatronic Geese form the former "America Sings" attraction in Magic Kingdom) preforming more maintenance around the area, and through out all 4 you will see Mon Calamari, the species of Admiral Ackbar in Episode VI, but they are in different places in each.. The Disney's Hollywood Studios Version deviates slightly right before you enter the main queue where it has signs referring to it as a "Hot Set" so it seems more like your on the set of a Star Wars film than actually in the Star Wars Galaxy, it even has two Directors Chairs with the names C-3PO and R2-D2 on them. The Tokyo one, however Deviates a bit, making the queue more like an Intergalactic Airport. After the initial 3PO and R2 Section, the G2 Droids are in it, but in different location, continuing there is a video featuring a Mon Calamari speaking to the droids, including one that is not in any other Star Tours version, but fans of the former EPCOT attraction "Horizions" might recognize him. Another exclusive to Tokyo is another Animatronic character at the exit of the ride, who bares Similarities to Sonny Eclipse from Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in WDW's Magic Kingdom, though he seems more like a Flight Coordinator than lounge singer. Also, another bit of info that i find rather funny about the attraction is that in the English versions Paul Reuben, best know for his character Pee-Wee Herman on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse," is the voice of the robot pilot, Captain Rex a.k.a RX-24.
Tatooine Traders: As you Exit the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you will enter a gift shop (Big Surprise there, Disney) with a building Style similar to the buildings on Tatooine in the Star Wars Films. Also in it are several Concept Sketchs from Star Wars: Episode I (Which Premiered about a Year and a half after the Attraction and Shop opened). At one time, when the ride was sponsored by Energizer, there was a energy Cell that would show some power fluctuations that would eventually turn into the Energizer Bunny.
Build Your Own Lightsaber: At the "Once Upon a Toy" Store, in Disney World's "Downtown Disney," there is a small stand where you can build your own Lightsaber. The parts to build it are from the set, under the same name, that was sold in all store in 2005. Unlike the set however, with the purchase of the Lightsaber you receive Batteries to run it and you get to choose either a Jedi or a Sith Pin, for free. As of 2008, There is also a replica of this in the Tatooine Trader Store at the Exit of the Star Tours Ride.
The People Mover Stormtrooper: Taken from EndorExpress.net "One surprise on another popular Disneyland attraction that came out of the arrival of Star Tours in Tomorrowland was the PeopleMover Stormtrooper. And no, this wasn't a Stormtrooper responsible for crowd control in the park (although they probably could've used a few from time to time). The PeopleMover was one of Disneyland's more leisuirely rides, a fairly slow-paced, above-ground tour of Tomorrowland that went both outdoors, and along select paths within some of the Tomorrowland attractions, including the CircleVision 360 Theater, Space Mountain, and Adventure Through Inner Space, which later became Star Tours. Once Inner Space DID become Star Tours, some additional features were added around the area. One of these was a life-size Stormtrooper mannequin. While the PeopleMover was too slow-paced of a ride for it to be fairly stated that this character was a real "surprise" along the way, he did sort of pop up just as you rounded a fairly tight curve in the ride, and seeing him standing there, brandishing his blaster rifle, was something -- unexpected, anyway. And at that point along the ride, the PeopleMover was moving just fast enough so that you initially weren't sure if you'd seen a mannequin, somebody in a costume, or precisely what you had seen. If you DID get a decent look at him, this Stormtrooper was indeed a nicely detailed and precise rendition of the Imperial Stormtroopers from the Classic Star Wars Trilogy -- apparently standing duty over the Star Tours attraction. He was also just about impossible to get a decent photo of unless you knew he was there, got enough of a feel for the ride to plan for it, and were willing to shoot a flash photo in what was otherwise a pretty dark corridor. It took a few tries, but after a few go-rounds on the PeopleMover, I finally managed to get a decent shot of the Stormtrooper, and it accompanies this article. (at left) Unfortunately, the Stormtrooper was retired when the PeopleMover was transformed into the Rocket Rods. Those of you who don't know the history of that situation deserve to know a bit about it. Somebody decided to replace the easy-going PeopleMover with a high-speed ride -- on the same track system as the PeopleMover -- called the Rocket Rods. Same track, differently designed vehicle. I was fortunate enough to ride the Rocket Rods several times. It was a blast, both in the daytime and at night. Not quite a roller coaster, since it didn't have any hills, dips, or loops, it was nevertheless a very cool ride, made somewhat more impressive by the fact that it was such an entensive ride, taking the same lengthy tour all over Tomorrowland -- just at a much higher rate of speed. But there was no Stormtrooper. He'd been removed. Poor guy was probably worried about getting blown over by the new high-speed vehicles. Unfortunately, the ride was plagued with problems from the start. Apart from the fact that I was told by a Disney representative that the cars used on the track burned through their tires at a rather preposterous rate, I always had this feeling -- and I am neither an architect nor an engineer -- that placing a brand-new ride on a track system that was decades old and NEVER intended to be used for a high-speed ride, just wasn't a good idea. Turned out it wasn't, and pretty much for that reason. The ride was notorious for lengthy breakdowns, and after a relatively short lifespan, was shut down permanently. Nothing since has taken its place. As for the fate of the PeopleMover Stormtrooper? Probably standing in a Disney warehouse somewhere, possibly wearing a pair of dusty Mouse Ears, waiting to be called back to duty someday. If the Star Tours ride is at some point overhauled as has been reported, perhaps they can incorporate him into it. I'd like to think so. He was a cool treat on the PeopleMover, and deserves to return to active duty once again."
The Jedi Training Academy: In 2001, the Disney/Star Wars event that takes place in Disney-Hollywood Studios every summer, "Star Wars Weekends," returned for a second year, because of it's immense popularity in the year 2000. Some new things were added including what was then called "The Jedi Training Camp" where young Obi-Wanna-Bes could go up on stage to learn the ways of the Force and fight Darth Vader and the forces of the dark side, all of this happening on a small stage right in front of Star Tours. This became a hit and continued to come back each year with the name changed to "The Jedi Training Academy," but in 2006, fans who were visiting the park were surprised to see the show going on on the weekdays as well as the weekends. Disney had decided to make it a permanent attraction, and then plans were made to turn the small stage they had been using into a permanent stage for the attraction. Meanwhile, in California, Disneyland representatives had decided that they would also have the ride in their park. Disneyland was able to move a little faster and finished their permanent stage first.
Those at Disneyworld continued building their stage. They decided to be a little more creative and they based the new stage off of the shield relay center on Endor for the Second Death Star, where Han, Leia, Chewie, and a bunch of Ewoks had to go to turn off the shield so the rebels in Space could destroy the Second Death Star. Since the front of Star Tours at the Studios has always been based on Endor this works perfectly with it.
Recently, Star Wars.com did an interview with Mark Renfrow, the Director/Writer of the show, and Marcus Hurt, the Technical Director of the shows in Disney-Hollywood Studios. They explain some of the difficulties of combining the "Forces" of Disney and Star Wars, tell the reactions from Participants in the show, their parents, Star Wars Fans, and Celebrity Guest, similarities between Star Wars and Disney, and Reason why they think the show continues to be popular. Read it Here.
Also In the StarWars.com "Homing Beacon," the weekly newsletter from the site, they showed a few more questions from the interviews, this time more on the concept and the challenges of the new WDW Jedi Training Academy Stage.
StarWars.com: "The Jedi Training Academy at Walt Disney World in Orlando has a new stage: a replica of the Endor bunker. How did you decide to build the bunker as opposed to another set piece?"
Marcus Hurst: "In the end, it just made the most sense. We had to consider the existing location, the existing backdrop, the available space, the requirements for the show, in addition to every other issue a company needs to weigh in making a decision on what to build. The sliding doors to reveal Darth Vader, and a ramp and steps to get to the stage -- those were the starting places. We tried other options, but the bunker allowed us to create something that was obviously from the Star Wars universe, and fit the other parameters we needed to exist within.
At Walt Disney World, the stage had always existed as a temporary installation -- a stage built over a planter, with speakers hung from a billboard and a control area built the same way. For the new bunker stage, we started with designs that fit our show needs of look and functionality. Our Principal Art Director worked with our Entertainment Show Director to make certain the exterior, and interiors, would withstand the scrutiny of our guests. Next we brought in our audio designer to place the speakers in the best place to support the music, dialogue, and sound effects. He was followed by our lighting and effects designers to punctuate Darth Vader's dramatic entrance. Once our designs were done, a team of engineers worked with us to take care of power, structure, etc. We had outstanding partners managing the removal of the planter, and creation of the stage and backbone to the bunker set, as well as the construction of a new control booth. Several artisans later, the bunker took shape in the shadow of the Ewok Village. I stood in the park on the morning the construction wall came down, and our guests were able to see the set for the first time -- their excited reactions made the long journey from concept to finished product very worthwhile."
StarWars.com: "What were the challenges?"
Marcus Hurst: "From my perspective, the greatest challenge was in replicating a scenic element that we have all grown up with. Even non-fans of the Saga know the Endor bunker from Return of the Jedi. Designing and building a stage and set that provided all of the "real world" requirements, and could stand up to the discriminating eye of the Disney guest and Star Wars fan was a daunting, but very worthwhile, task. It helps to have great team of talented designers and engineers to make it all come together. Disney Parks is known for attention to detail, and we're proud of what we accomplished with the set in front of Star Tours."
The Great Movie Ride: The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios Celebrates the Greatest Movies of all time, so it is no Surprise that there are many Star Wars References on it. The first ones are in front of the attraction where they have Famous Handprints, and even some Footprints, of several Star Wars Stars, Including R2-D2, C-3PO, Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson (though at the time he made his prints he wasn't a Star Wars Celeb), and Pee-Wee Herman (A.k.a Paul Reubens, A.k.a Capn. Rex from Star Tours). Also, scenes from Star Wars: Episode IV are currently the Final parts of the Film Montage at the end, including the Millennium Falcon Jumping to Lightspeed just as your vechicle starts moving again. Past references have included the Dejerack (a.k.a Holo-Chess) Board scenes on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Episode IV, and Scenes From Star Wars Episode VI in the ending Film Montage, though those are no Longer Part of the Attraction.
The Studio Backlot Tour: Also in Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Backlot Tour brings guest to some Backstage areas for a look into how movies are made, as well as how the Park is Maintained. It also shows off some large Props from different movies, which is where the first Star Wars References come in. There is a Bantha-II Model Cargo Skiff from the Sarlac Scene in Star Wars: Episode VI, and a T-47 airspeeder (a.k.a Snowspeeder) from the Hoth Battle Scene in Star Wars: Episode V. As you exit the attraction through the (literally) Must-see American Film Institute 50 Greatest Villains Showcase the first thing you see is a Star Wars Section with a Scale Model of a Tie-Fighter and Life Sized replicas of Darth Maul and Darth Vader (or as i like to call him Manikin Skywalker) wearing actual costumes or the Film Characters. On the actual List of the 50 Villains, Darth Vader places 3rd, and Darth Maul is sadly Absent... (Come on! Darth Maul is a better Villain than Freddy Kruger!!). The Final Star Wars References or at the end of the Exhibit where it shows a list of those who have received AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award, Including Harrison Ford (2000 Recipient) and the Maker Himself, George Lucas (2005 Recipient)