Farewell to Captain Rex – D23’s Last Flight to Endor Celebration

Star Tours Last Tour to Endor

He's smiling on the inside, right?

Many of you may have heard about the Last Tour to Endor party associated with the Star Wars Celebration V that took place at the Orange County Convention Center last month. I know I was disappointed that we couldn’t get it to work out logistically, so when I saw the D23 event for the Last Flight to Endor (which was an essentially free event save for the $5 per ticket processing fee), I was all over it! What’s more, this free event was going to take place on the actual last night of Star Tours operation before it closed for refurbishment and would be limited to the number of guests that could fill the speeders in the attraction for the actual last flight. It was too cool to pass up. I am so glad I didn’t.

{I apologize in advance for the photo quality. I was using my cell all night – convenient, but not so great at night and when you are pretty much constantly moving. Hopefully the spirit of the evening comes across in the pictures, despite the blurriness! }

I make no claims to know all there is about Star Wars, but I know enough to make obscure references or movie lines when needed and get suitably excited when our escorts for the evening turned out to be some of the 501st Legion‘s finest Stormtroopers (even though my first response upon seeing one of them was “Aren’t you a little short to be a Stormtrooper?”). It was great to see so many excited fans and fellow bloggers/Disney media people there as well as meeting some twitter friends. We all checked in and were given a commemorative boarding pass and FastPass for the evening, and the first 100 guests received a limited edition Star Wars coin set as well. Soon the Stormtroopers arrived and we were on the march to our destination: Star Tours.

Star Tours Last Tour to Endor

The FastPass says: Another FASTPASS ticket will be available in 2011

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

I wish I could say this was the first time armed guards escorted me somewhere...

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Walking down the Boulevard

The Stormtroopers were great fun and wonderful at what they do best – scaring civilians into submission of course! It was quite an experience to be walking along a deserted Hollywood Boulevard and glance back to realize you are being followed by a guy all in white plastic with a helmet and gun…and he’s pointing it at you. The Stormtroopers were great sports about posing for photos and helping to make those photos pretty funny. We eventually made it over to the ride and began the walk through the queue. Soon, we were all lined up by our speeders and ready for boarding. Our cast member was a college program student named Caitlin (apologies if I’m spelling your name wrong!) who extended her college program stay just so she could be on the closing team for Star Tours. She warned us that she might shed a tear, and she did. It was really sweet and endearing and a reminder that cast members with that much love for what they do, are the reason why there is still magic within the gates of every Walt Disney World park. We all were treated to a ride-along Stormtrooper for the last flight, which was also just hysterical in and of itself. I can’t imagine having to ride Star Tours in a Stormtrooper costume!

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

You know what he's saying, right? "Move along."

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Can this happen with every ride when it re-opens? Please?

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Caitlin gets us ready to go!

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Where's Waldo? Er...something like that.

When the ride commenced we all cheered and as it ended we all cheered as well. There wasn’t sadness or dismay at the closing, just genuine appreciation of what Star Tours was and excitement for when we’d all be able to ride it again in 2011. As we exited, the remaining cast members were all giving us a lightsaber salute in Tatooine Traders, and we all just mingled and took pictures and got some more quality time with the Stormtroopers. It was then that I witnessed one curious Stormtrooper looking at the tiny Stormtrooper helmet (banks?) on display. He picked it up like some sort of futuristic Hamlet moment. He put it back and hung his head. I asked him if he was sad and he nodded yes. Then he put his head on my shoulder and I hugged him, telling him it would be okay…I didn’t know what to say to comfortΒ  a Stormtrooper, so I told him they would be fine and regenerate into new Stormtroopers soon. I think that creeped him out because he shuddered and then walked away. Oh well. Be glad I’m not a counselor in real life I guess?

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Farewell, speeders!

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

New friend Shelley throwing down the D23 signs!

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Take 1

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Take 2 - I swear I tried to stop him!

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Alas, poor TK1138, I knew him well. I think.

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

This just might be my holiday card this year...sorry kids! {notice Darth Vader looking on disapprovingly in that poster!}

On our way out we bought some of the LAST POPCORN IN ENDOR (a bargain at $4.50!) and waited to be escorted out. It was a truly magical experience and I am so very glad we went. I have to give big thanks to Shelley Caran, a twitter friend who was un-shy enough to come say hello as we waited to check in and we instantly hit it off and laughed together all night. The fact that she let me post pictures of her eating popcorn on the internets should tell you a lot. πŸ˜‰

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

Shelley enjoying The Last Popcorn in Endor {just heard it's still available, so not really I guess!}

Thanks for the ride and see you in 2011, Star Tours! For more blurry pictures of Stormtroopers and some in-ride shots, check out my flickr stream.

Star Tours Last Flight to Endor

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About Suzannah Otis

Boston girl living and blogging in Walt Disney World's backyard. Wife, Mom of 3, coffee addict, lover of travel and adventure.