One more day until Star Wars Celebration 5 here in Orlando, and it is hot and rainy just like the last ten days have been here in Orlando. I will be glad for the four days of indoor activities coming up.
The Last Tour to Endor is coming up this weekend when they will close Star Tours in Disney's Hollywood Studios to begin the refurbishing of it into Star Tours 2.0. And none of the park patrons know that it is going to happen. Since there were no announces in the park about it, I asked a few people while waiting in line. The only waiting though was during the pre-flight briefing before getting on the Star Speeder, the mid-morning time that Trudy and I went there was no queue waiting to get on the ride. Compare that with Toy Story Mania on the other side of Hollywood Studios where the queue line is always over 70 minutes and Fast Passes (shortened queue lines for a timed return) were all distributed by noon. Yes Star Tours needs an updating but I think it will be too bad not to save at least one of the simulators (oh, it is a motion simulator ride) for the original ride that has been there since the park opened in 1989. That might be a way to keep the ride experience fresh for ride goers by allowing them to mix the two ride experiences. According to park personnel, it will take around 9 months to refurbish the attraction. Hopefully it will be complete for next year's Star Wars Weekends, typically mid-May to mid-June of each year.
One more thought about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. This is perhaps the most consistently themed area of any of the parks I have ever attended. Usually designers take the elements for the park as a whole and wrap an area's theme around them. For instance, the exteriors of Toon Lagoon (again at Universal Islands of Adventure) are themed for the Sunday funnies the area is based on but once you get inside the gift shops they look like, well gift shops. Except for a few decorations Marvel Superhero Island and Dr. Seuss Landing gift stores could be interchangeable. But once you are allowed into any of the shops in the Harry Potter Island (yes, even the gift shops have a queue line), there is no mistakes them for anything else. Even the products inside have been themed to fit. We're bringing home a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. They came up with Butterbeer (crème soda flavored with butterscotch and topped with whipped crème. Click here for additional recipes but not what was used in the park.) and Pumpkin Juice (the ingredient list includes apple juice, apricot juice, and pumpkin puree. Click here for additional recipes but again not the one used at Universal). This is an area that some creative thought has gone into.
And maybe that is something the convention scene needs. If you have an idea for a SF/Fantasy/Anime/Horror item that should be included in next year's OSFest, let us know. But be careful, we just might put you on charge of it.