Movie World’s Backstage Tour, “Star Tours”, Reviewed
It’s been around 15 years since there was a tour on offer at Warner Bros Movie World (not including the special event tours for Fright Nights), so barring the promo video, I had no idea what to expect from the park’s latest offering. Let me just say up front, it is absolutely worth every cent of the $299 asking price.
What’s the tour like?
Sure, it hurts getting up so early on a Saturday morning, but once you’ve ascended the 180 odd stairs to the top of the Arkham Asylum lift hill, you’re too busy taking in the spectacular 360 degree views to think about how early it is.
I need to give a shout out here to a few people who have made this possible. Firstly, to Movie World General Manager Greg Yong for dropping in, introducing himself, joining us for the morning section of the tour (and maybe sharing a secret or two, or three). Also, thanks to our expert tour guides Nathan and Matthew, and to my lovely wife for not only getting up early with me to get to the Gold Coast on time, but for letting me drag her along on the tour as well.
Saturday, July 30 was the first officially public Star Tour but you’d never have known it. The knowledge and professionalism displayed by the tour guides was second to none. You could tell these are people who love their job and are proud of what they do.
The tour will vary due to operational requirements, but today’s tour highlights included a trip up the Arkham lift hill, a casual stroll through the Justice League ride, overseeing the daily opening procedure for the Green Lantern coaster, a never-before-seen look at the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, a visit to the kitchen (those cookies are amazing!) and a meet & greet with the Showtime Entertainment cast of Hollywood Stunt Driver 2.
Every single person we encountered along the tour was so friendly and welcoming and you just got the impression everyone loves working for the park. Never before have guests been able to experience these areas of the park, or any theme park in Australia for that matter. From the newly remodelled kitchen where they prepare most of the days’ food (trust me, buy a cookie) to witnessing the pre-opening safety procedures on the Green Lantern coaster and the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, this tour is for everyone.
Movie World is very heavily DC Comics themed so after scaling the heights of Arkham, we headed to Justice League for a morning track walk. Movie World in conjunction with Sally Corp have done an amazing job on this ride, but it’s not until you walk through it that you can really appreciate the intricate detail that has been put into the theming. From hidden speakers, to flexible ears and mouths, you learn the true amount of detail that has gone into this area with even the teeth of the mannequins being medical grade dentures.
A massive fan favourite, and rightly so, is the never before done walk into the “disco room” of the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster. It’s amazing to see the ride from a different perspective and learn a few things about how it all works.
This tour will teach you different things about the inner workings of the ride systems, different features of each ride and what goes into making them run day in and day out. Rides aren’t the only thing you’ll experience on the tour though as you’ll also take a walk back stage of Showtime Entertainment’s Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 and get to chat with the cast and crew. Taking everything into account, you certainly don’t need to be an enthusiast to appreciate and enjoy this experience of a lifetime.
All this adventure sounds like something that would make anyone hungry, right? They’ve got you covered there too, with a nice morning tea thanks to the Village Bean Café, and lunch from Dirty Harry’s Bar. Recently the park has been putting a lot of effort into the food and beverage options available to guests and, having never actually tried Dirty Harry’s before, wow, I really have been missing out all this time. The food is top quality and not what you’d expect from a theme park. After seeing a sneak-peak at what’s to come, the food is only going to get better and it won’t be long before they’ll need to open an in-park gym (along with the multiple Pokémon gyms they have for all you Pokémon Go players) to balance things out.
The tour portion of the day concludes with lunch, then you’re given front of line access to most rides via Fast Track, along with a Fast Photo wristband to save the moments before returning to a special VIP section outside the Roxy theatre for the parade.
There’s a many other experiences and things to see on the tour, including the opening procedures for Green Lantern and a very close up look at the ride, but where would the fun be in spoiling all the little details for you? You’ll just have to jump online and buy yourself a ticket and find out for yourself.
From an enthusiast point of view, the only the only down side to the tour, whilst completely understandable, was not being allowed to take photos of certain areas of the park (Scooby-Doo for example). Otherwise, and maybe it was due to the pure excitement of being able to have such an experience, I couldn’t find anything to fault.
Too Long; Didn’t Read
Overall I’d give this tour an outstanding 9 out of 10 and I’m already looking at booking another one.
Tours run every Saturday and commence at 7:30am
Pricing at time of writing is $299 for ticket holders or $350 including a park entry ticket.
Tickets are currently available for Saturday 30 July – Saturday 24 September 2016.
Ride experiences may change due to operating requirements so each tour may be slightly different.
Surprisingly, you really don’t need to be a theme park enthusiast to enjoy Star Tours.
Jason Topfer is a new guest contributor for OurWorlds. For over a decade he’s journeyed theme parks far & wide. This marks his first review on OurWorlds, and we couldn’t be happier to share his thoughts and incredible imagery.