How long will the lines be for Star Tours?

As we get closer and closer to the opening of Star Tours 2 on May 20, more and more I'm getting the same question, "How long will the wait be for Star Tours 2?".  It's a simple question but the answer has been tossed around quite a bit.

There are some that believe the line for Star Tours 2 will be multiple hours long and could stretch as far back as the Streets of America, Pixar Place or even back out of the park.  After all, Star Tours 2 isn't going to be a low key event, with a gala planned to commemorate its opening and the opening coinciding with the launch of Star Wars Weekends 2011.

I tend to believe the lines will be long, but not that long.  There's a couple of factors to keep in mind with the reopening of Star Tours that I think will contribute to keeping the lines smaller than you might otherwise believe.

First, Star Tours has six simulators that can be running at any given time.  In addition it has six pre-show queues that can hold more guests while others ride.  This adds up to a lot of capacity.  Even before Star Tours closed for its update, it was one of the better attractions in all of Walt Disney World for accomodating crowds.  It's large capacity will definitely help keep those lines moving.  If you go with the old Star Tours stats for a moment, that's 40 people per simulator and another 40 in the preshow area.  With six simulators, that's 480 people at once.  The old ride lasted 4 minutes and 30 seconds, so let's assume a new ride every 10 minutes (allowing for guests to load and unload and get situated), which is probably a high estimate.  In essence, that's 2,880 people per hour the ride can handle. That's a lot of people.

The other factor to consider is Star Tours is a thrill ride and while I love them, there are many others who do not or cannot enjoy them.  Unlike Toy Story Midway Mania or Soarin', everyone in the family can't experience Star Tours either due to the height requirement or the motion sickness issue.  There's also those with physical conditions such as back or neck pain. Or pregnant women.  Basically, there's a lot of people who will not be riding.

Another issue is that because it's Star Wars Weekends, there will be lots of Star Wars fans in the park and that is one reason many expect big lines.  The reality is the real Star Wars fans will be much more obsessed with getting autographs from the Star Wars celebrities in attendance such as Anthony Daniels or buying up the Star Wars Weekend merchandise that will be for sale.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm not prediciting 10 minute waits either.  But I do think the predictions of 3 or 4 hour waits or longer are unlikely given the circumstances out there.  Of course, my opinions are based on the assumptions the ride will be operating at full capacity and there aren't any technical issues that cause downtime.  It's anyone's guess what will happen if any unforeseen circumstance occurs but we have to go with the best case scenario at this point for the sake of argument.

Either way, I can't wait to check out Star Tours 2 and Studios Central will provide lots of live coverage of the attraction opening.  Be sure to viist StarTours2Live.com as well for more information and details about the new ride!

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 by