From the Cockpit
The droid RX-24, better known as Captain Rex, from the original version of Star Tours at the Disney parks was on display in the “Inside the Walt Disney Archives” exhibit at Graceland in Memphis.
While the newer version of Star Tours is fun with all of its different sequences, the original version is still my favorite. And part of its charm was the character of Captain Rex, voiced by Paul Reubens of Pee-Wee Herman fame. Because of that, it was really cool to see Captain Rex in this exhibit, even if he just stayed still and did not move or talk any.
I always liked all of the details in Star Tours, especially since I had grown up with the Star Wars movies. But there were lots of little humorous details as well. Although you can’t read it very well in this photo, the strip running down Rex’s side says, “Remove Before First Flight”. As you might know, according to the story of the attraction you were going on Captain Rex’s first flight. Apparently, he had not been fully checked out for flight yet, because his strip had not been removed. But we were all still safe, right?
One of the good things about Captain Rex not moving here was that it was easy to get some good photos of him because that was difficult on the attraction. In fact, I never did try to take a photo of him on the attraction, because I would always put my camera in the baggage compartment underneath my seat. Safety first, after all!
Sorry if this spoils it for anyone, but there were actually several Captain Rexes and not just one, somewhat similar to the Hitchhiking Ghosts that were also on display. There were four in California, six in Florida, and more in the international parks. Since that time, Captain Rex has turned up as a DJ in the cantina in the new Star Wars lands in California and Florida, but it was nice that he is also at the Disney Archives, too.
Seeing Captain Rex up close like this brought back lots of good memories of all the fun times on the ride.
For example, on our first year that Star Tours was open at Disney-MGM Studios in Walt Disney World, our family rode it six times. Fortunately, the lines were not too long for any of those rides. Although we would not have minded waiting a little while for it.
On one of those rides, when it ended, the cast member came in and said it looked like we were all having so much fun that we could stay on and ride it again if we wanted to. How could we pass that up? Some people asked about moving to the front, but the cast member said that the best seats were in the back corners, because that is where you get the greatest extent of the motion. We went back to one of the corners, and she was right! Ever since then, I have felt honored whenever we get to ride on the back row. Yes, it is usually just by chance and not some special honor, but I always enjoy it.
Good times, and good memories!
About the Photos
As I mentioned with the Hitchhiking Ghosts, most of these photos were taken with my camera in completely manual mode. I used manual focus and manual exposure settings. This allowed me to focus on exactly what I wanted, and to be sure I could hold the camera steady.
Those faster shutter speeds caused me to need to brighten these photos just a bit, because they were slightly dark. But that really wasn’t a problem at all. Thanks to Captain Rex for being so photogenic and cooperative for these photos!
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: November 13, 2021
Location: Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee