Pop quiz: what ship made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? It’s the Millennium Falcon, of course … or at least, that’s what Han Solo claimed to Luke Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi when they first met in Mos Eisley Cantina. And if that sounds like the kind of vessel you’d like to pilot yourself, you’re in luck! Fast forward a few decades, and you too can go to hyperspace in the Falcon. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to prepare for your ride on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
Read on to learn more, or if you want to skip to the meat of the matter like where to find the ride and whether or not there’s a Lightning Lane, go straight to the Nuts and Bolts section.
1. The storyline involves smuggling.
If you guessed from the attraction’s title that “smugglers” (that’s you) are making a “run” that may involve doing something sneaky under the nose of the First Order, you’d be right. In this case, the “no duh” conclusion is dead on.
An animatronic Hondo Ohnaka has recruited you. Chewie has made a deal with him to use the Falcon for this run. Be he needs a crew. The mission: steal some coaxium (used to make the jump to hyperspace, so it’s valuable!) from a First Order train on Corellia. Sounds simple enough, right? Crews of six are needed to make a single run: two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers. The tricky part (read: “fun”) is for the pilots to get the Falcon behind the train by working together to steer the ship. This enables the engineers to fire the harpoons to grab the coaxium. And with the mission completed, you’ll land back on Batuu, safe and sound.
You might be wondering: who the heck is Hondo Ohnaka? Hondo appears in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Star Wars Rebels animated series. He’s one of those characters who’s often on the wrong side of the law and mostly motivated by money, but somehow seems to only help out the good guys.
2. You’ll be crewing the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.”
During boarding, you’ll be assigned one of the three roles: pilot, gunner, or engineer. The seat you’re in becomes the role you play; it also determines the tasks you have to perform in order to successfully complete this mission. From front to back in the cockpit, there are two pilot seats, two for engineers, and two for gunners. Because each role has a different “job” to perform, an engineer’s ride experience will differ from the pilots’ or the gunners’, and so on.
The pilot seats are most coveted and thought to be the best by some. First, they’re closest to the simulator screens and their job involves watching the scenery pass by. Other roles may have some tension between watching their buttons and watching the action. Adding a degree of difficulty: both pilots must work together to steer the ship. The left pilot controls the ship moving left and right while the right pilot controls the ship moving up and down. If you’re thinking that this is not the easiest way to steer a ship, you’re not wrong. For that “Punch it!” moment, you’ll want the right seat as it has the lever you pull to jump to lightspeed.
The gunner seats are next closest to the screen. Their job: shoot down approaching enemy craft. Gunners can choose one of two modes. In automatic mode, gunners just push buttons to fire upon enemy vessels, no aiming required. Manual mode is a little more difficult: the gunner uses three buttons to shoot high, centered, or low. It’s worth noting that you can’t run out of ammunition, so if a gunner wants to watch the screen for the whole time they can just keep their finger on the firing button.
The engineer seats are farthest from the screen. The engineers pretty much just push the buttons in front of them as fast as they can when they light up. This repairs any damage the Falcon may have sustained. Engineers also fire the harpoons to help retrieve the cargo you’re after.
The good news is that there isn’t a whole lot you can do to screw up the mission. No matter what you do, the scenario projected on the screen doesn’t vary widely – which makes sense, since you have to get back to Batuu to disembark. Even if you crash the Falcon somehow along the way, you’ll still get home. At the end of the run, you’ll get a cut of the profits, pro-rated based on your performance and adjusted for any damages you may have incurred to the Falcon. (Maybe crashing it wasn’t such a good idea after all.) If you’ve logged into the Datapad App in Play Disney Parks, your cut will show up in your credits.
Riding the Falcon isn’t as bumpy as Star Tours, but it is still a motion simulator. I was told by friends that the engineer was the position least likely to experience any motion sickness, and I found that to be good advice. I very seldom looked at the screen but stuck to pushing buttons as fast as I could and I didn’t experience any motion sickness. Others advocate for the pilot’s seat to keep busy and avoid turning sideways. For the full motion-sickness rundown, see A Ride Chicken Review of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
3. The queue is filled with Easter eggs.
The queue begins next to an actual size Millennium Falcon in Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You’ll enter Ohnaka Transport Solutions and traverse some catwalks through a room where damaged ships are being repaired. Don’t miss all the details the Imagineers have included here. Things like oil leaking from crippled vessels and more. And when you’re facing the right direction, you’ll have terrific views of the Falcon snugged up to the building just outside.
If you’re playing in the Play Disney App, this is your chance to pick up your “job” while you’re in the queue. If not, don’t worry – Hondo will take you on anyway.
From here, you enter the hold of the Falcon itself. The Imagineers have replicated exactly how it looks in the original Star Wars trilogy. I have to admit it was pretty incredible. You can see the holographic chess table, lots of familiar-looking items from the trilogy, and even the hallway where Han and Leia kissed. (Who knew what trouble that would lead to down the road?) You really feel as if you’re in the real deal.
4. There’s a special Chewbacca mode.
In the usual way of things, Hondo barks orders at you throughout the ride, “helping” you to snare your cargo and accomplish the mission. But if you can get a team of six to work in concert, you can unlock “Chewie mode” to replace Hondo’s narration with Chewie’s gentle yowls.
Here are the steps, courtesy of the FreshBaked! YouTube channel:
- Once seated, do not choose manual or automatic flight mode.
- Have the left and right pilots push their controls to the extreme left, right, up, or down.
- With the controls pushed, the pilots can press the flight mode activation button.
- Engineers and gunners should press any one of the white buttons at their stations prior to pressing the orange flight mode button.
- All these steps need to be completed before the Cast Member finishes checking seatbelts and starts the attraction.
5. The Nuts and Bolts
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is a simulator ride and lasts about five minutes. You’ll find it in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with the entrance just to the left of the honking big Millennium Falcon. The main queue is indoors, so the weather doesn’t affect its operation.
Guests must be at least 38 inches tall to ride, and as with all rides that have a height requirement, Rider Switch is offered.
You can board in one of two ways: wait in the standby line or purchase a Lightning Lane via Genie+. Smuggler’s Run does have a single rider line if you don’t mind being split up from the rest of your party, but it skips over the whole pre-show and most of the queue. If it’s your first time on the ride, you may want to avoid the single-rider line for this reason.
Seats on the Falcon are padded chairs with no armrest and an individual fabric lap belt, arranged in three rows of two. In the gunner and navigator positions (rear two rows) the controls you’ll use during the ride are to the side of the seat. If turning sideways is an issue for you, ask to be the pilot or choose the side that you can work with most easily.
Guests in a wheelchair/ECV must transfer to experience the actual ride portion of Millennium Falcon. If you’re not able to transfer, you can still experience the queue and pre-shows. Cast Members will provide details and instructions on how to exit before boarding the ride itself. Note that service animals are not permitted.
Because of all the different motions you’ll experience, Disney advises that to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.
To make the attraction accessible to as wide an audience as possible, the following aids are available from Guest Services for a refundable deposit: Handheld Captioning, Audio Description, and Assistive Listening.
Smuggler’s Run is open for Early Theme Park Entry.
The Bottom Line.
We think Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is not to be missed. While not nearly as immersive as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, it offers you the chance to yell things like, “Never tell me the odds!” while piloting the ship. Where else can you do that?
What did you think of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run? Which role did you play? Let us know in the comments.