|Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Manufacturer||Sansei Yusoki Co. Ltd..|
|Soft opening date||March 10, 2005|
|Opening date||March 17, 2005|
|Vehicle names||XP-40 Star Cruiser|
|Ride duration||5:00 minutes|
|Replaced||Circle-Vision 360, Rocket Rods (Followed)|
The attractions use a third-generation Omnimover system, and are combination of a shooting gallery and a dark ride. The first ride featured laser guns that were not movable, but later versions featured the guns that are held in a holster and movable with the exception of a cord to keep them in the vehicle after the ride has ended. In 2005, the Walt Disney Company premiered a home version of the ride in the form of an internet video game that allows users to connect with guests at the parks. The scores of each guest from the dark ride are tallied with the internet gamer and increase the points won. There is also an attraction at Walt Disney World Resort's DisneyQuest with the name "Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters", where players ride and control cars while shooting balls at each other. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin was named the 2004 Disney Magazine Reader's Choice Award winner for Best Magic Kingdom Park Attraction for Young Kids.
The back story of the ride revolves around the attempts of Evil Emperor Zurg (voiced by Andrew Stanton, and Thurl Ravenscroft in Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin attraction) to steal the batteries (known as "crystallic fusion cells") used to power the space vehicles of the "Little Green Men." (voiced by Jeff Pidgeon and Debi Derryberry) Participants are "Star Command" raw recruits sent to defeat Zurg. The queue area is awash in the chartreuse, white, and bright blue hues of Buzz Lightyear himself (voiced by Pat Fraley, who does voice for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction). Since Buzz Lightyear is a toy, the attraction is cleverly scaled to give the illusion that one has just been reduced to the size of an action figure, featuring such detail as giant, exposed Philips screw heads and an explanation of the interactive phase of the ride that resembles a toy's instruction sheet, only on a gigantic scale. An Audio-Animatronic Buzz Lightyear figure and giant Etch-a-Sketch (Disneyland) and/orViewmaster (Disney World) provide explanation of the "mission" to destroy Zurg's secret weapon with your blasters. While his body is audio-animatronic, Buzz's face is actually a screen with a projection of computer animation, allowing better lipsync and more expressive features, making him look like a more realistic representation of the character from the films.
"Astro Blasters" and "Space Ranger Spin" are equal parts shooting gallery and dark ride. Visitors board an Omnimover space vehicle featuring two laser pistols and a joystick. The pistols are used to shoot laser beams at targets of varying point values. Targets that are hit while lit up will produce much higher scores. A digital readout on the dashboard shows the player's score. The joystick allows full 360-degree rotation of the vehicle to assist in aiming. During the ride, if the ride slows down or completely stops (this is a result of either a handicapped guest or a ride breakdown) during the ride, this allows for "bonus points" as the pistols and targets do not turn off. There are 4 different shaped targets which are worth different amounts of points: round (100 points), square (1,000 points), diamond (5,000 points), and triangle (10,000 points).
At the conclusion of the ride, the digital score flashes L1, L2, ... L7 displaying the ranking or level achieved for the below scores:
- Level 1 Star Cadet: 0 – 1,000
- Level 2 Space Ace: 1,001 – 10,000
- Level 3 Planetary Pilot: 10,001 – 100,000
- Level 4 Space Scout: 100,001 – 300,000
- Level 5 Ranger 1st Class: 300,001 – 600,000
- Level 6 Cosmic Commando: 600,001 – 999,998
- Level 7 Galactic Hero: 999,999
At one point in the attraction, each visitor is photographed during game play and, at "Astro Blasters", has the option of sending an electronic postcard via e-mail at the exit queue. "Astro Blaster's" photos include the player's score. If the score is in the top 100 highest of the day, the player's ranking is also included in the photo. The Top 10 players' scores are shown on the scoreboard at the exit queue, along with 3 letters that the person chooses to identify themselves. The top person gets their face posted on the screen.
Disneyland's version of the ride is called Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (or BLAB by Disney aficionados), like the Magic Kingdom version, also uses infrastructure from previous attractions. The space the ride takes up was first occupied by the Circle-Vision 360° theater. The space was transformed in 1997 when Tomorrowland received a major makeover, and the Circle-Vision theater became part of the queue line for the infamous Rocket Rods. The Rocket Rods were prone to breakdowns, and ran from 1998 to 2000. After closing, the queue line stood empty for several years until AstroBlasters opened in 2005. AstroBlasters occupies the space formerly used by the Rocket Rods' queue. A key difference between Astro Blasters and Space Ranger Spin is that in Astro Blasters, the laser guns can be removed from their mounts to allow for more accurate shooting (similar to Men in Black: Alien Attack), while in Space Ranger Spin, they cannot be removed from their mounts and have limited movement. Also a point of interest is that Zurg's machine is actually taken from the Walt Disney World version, only half-destroyed, implying that this version is a sequel to the original.
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