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    Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

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Description And Comments

The first attraction to open inside Galaxy’s Edge lets guests fulfill their childhood fantasy of flying at the helm of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

Guests approaching the attraction will see all 110 feet of the Falcon parked outside the spaceport, periodically venting gas as technicians tinker with the temperamental craft. (You can look at the full-sized Falcon, but not walk under or touch it.)

Before boarding the bird, you must first be recruited by Hondo Ohnaka, a pirate familiar to viewers of the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons, who has cut a deal with Chewbacca for use of the Falcon in his sketchy Ohnaka Transport Solutions company. After ascending to a second-story catwalk with wraparound views of the ship, visitors enter Ohnaka’s command center, where Hondo and his astromech assistant R5-P8 explain the setup, while the Falcon can be seen through the video screen “windows” behind them preparing for launch. Ohnaka is one of Disney’s most advanced A-1000 animatronics, with electric motors capable of 50 functions, and his movements are eerily fluid.

At this point, riders enter the Falcon through an umbilical bridge and are handed boarding cards that assign them to a six-person flight crew. While awaiting your turn, you can relax in the ship’s instantly recognizable main hold, complete with a holographic chess board to pose behind (though not play) and a plethora of familiar props.

When the time arrives, your group of six guests walks down the ship’s curving corridors and appears to enter the Falcon’s one and only cockpit, thanks to a patented carousel system that keeps the small simulator cabins hidden from each other. Each rider is assigned his or her own station— a pilot and copilot up front to steer around obstacles and activate the hyperdrive; two gunners in the middle to shoot down enemy fighters; and a pair of engineers in the rear to repair the ship when the pilots and gunners mess up—and computer-generated scenery is projected on an ultra-high-definition dome outside the windshield.

What separates this ride from other simulators (like Star Tours) is that its graphics are generated in real time by an array of bleeding-edge Nvidia processors, creating cinema-quality images that react instantly to the guests’ actions. There are 200 buttons, switches, and levers in the cockpit, and every one does something when activated; watch for indicator rings to illuminate around certain controls, cluing you into the correct moment to punch them. Your randomly selected mission (there are reportedly three, but only one was working when the ride debuted) may see you running guns to the resistance, escaping the maw of an interstellar leviathan, or hijacking a trainload of Coaxium on Corellia, Han Solo’s homeworld.

Smugglers Run’s queue and preshow represent some of Disney’s best work, and simply walking into the cockpit is a not-to-be-missed experience for any fan. But some members of our team were let down by the ride itself, reckoning it a marginal improvement over older simulators despite the time and technology that went into it. Everyone loves being one of the pilots, who have the most say over how successful—or motion sick—their team ends up (Pro Tip: go easy on the oversensitive steering). Gunners can pick “automatic targeting” to make it easier on themselves, while Engineers just bash blinking buttons and get blasted with air. The latter two positions must use controls mounted 90 degrees to their side, making it awkward to focus on the screen, and although the ship will never destruct due to your incompetence, there’s no way to opt out entirely from the interactivity.

If you have a team who can communicate and coordinate, flying the Falcon can truly feel like the Force is with you; if not, it often ends in fighting and frustration. However, even if the simulator finale is somewhat of a D-Ticket disappointment, the attraction as a whole marks a milestone in themed entertainment.

Touring Tips

  • This attraction has a Single Rider line.

The mere sight of the Falcon in all her glory is enough to make grown fanboys weep, and you can expect Smugglers Run to be mobbed from the moment the park opens. The full queue and preshow are well worth experiencing your first time through, but the single-rider queue (which skips the preshow and goes straight to the holochess room) can save you significant time on follow-up flights, as long as you don’t mind being assigned to engineer. There are seven six-passenger cabins on each of the four carousels, plus two stationary simulators that allow disabled guests to experience the attraction without interrupting operations for other guests.

Be careful how you fly because your flight team’s collective success or failure will be remembered by characters you encounter later around the land. If you badly bruise the ship, you’ll see the results in the wrecked exit corridor as you disembark, and the cantina’s barkeep may give you the cold shoulder when you stop in for a cold one. Make sure your Play Disney app is open as you exit in order to receive credit for your mission.

Attraction Photos

Special Comments

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