While Star Wars is set to become an even bigger part of Disney World in 2019, the Star Tours ride has been there since 1989. The ride saw a major overall a few years ago, but now that version of the popular attraction is about to change in a big way. In effect, the ride is actually about to become two separate rides, as the elements that reference the current Star Wars trilogy are set to be separated from the elements of that make up the pre-Disney era of the franchise. The changes are reported to also include the Disneyland version of the attraction.
In 2011, Star Tours received a major update that allowed for multiple ride scenarios. The guests, as riders on a Star Tours sight-seeing trip, found themselves embroiled in a conflict between the Empire and the Rebellion that could take them to a combination of different places. Different 3D videos could find the spacecraft pod racing on Tatooine or navigating AT-AT Walkers on Hoth. This gave guests a good reason to get in line multiple times, in order to see all the potential scenes. Two years ago, a sequence was added to the ride that saw it visit Jakku, and starting Friday, another sequence will be added that will include the Star Wars: The Last Jedi world known as Crait.
According to Walt Disney World News Today, when the new sequence is added on Friday, guests will be treated to a new opening sequence as well (previously the opening either featured classic trilogy Stormtroopers or Darth Vader), then they'll see the Jakku sequence, followed by the Crait scene. However, at some future point, the exact date is apparently undetermined, the ride will split into two separate lines, one that will feature the elements of the current trilogy and another that will include the original and prequel trilogy locations only.
It's certainly true that the randomness of the ride led to some odd combinations. It was possible to see Darth Vader, BB-8, and Jango Fett all on the same ride if the right pieces came up at once. Separating the new trilogy aspects from the previous stuff will certainly help prevent that. At the same time, it is just a theme park ride, it's not like anybody claimed the events in it were canon. And the fact that one of the lines will still include elements from two separate trilogies means that there will still be some odd timeline moments in one of the rides.
On the plus side, if you're a frequent Star Tours rider who has seen everything there is to see in the ride before, it means that it will be easier to see the new stuff by separating it into its own line. One assumes that more ride segments will be coming as new Star Wars movies get released, and these will likely all get added to the side handling the new trilogy. Perhaps there is additional new material already being worked on, so that side of the ride won't be identical every time, though that's just speculation.
Exactly when Star Tours will be split in two is unknown, though it will likely be a few months, as the ride will be focusing on the new trilogy material as part of the build toward the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Image courtesy WDWNews.com/Disney