Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This ride, in Disneyland and Hollywood Studios, is an interactive experience that takes place inside of the iconic Millennium Falcon. In this post, we’ll review give some tips on the attraction. For a thorough review on Galaxy’s Edge and not just Smugglers Run, click here.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an attraction that starts even before getting in the queue for the ride. The land does an incredible job of hiding and then framing the showstopping ship. With the gorgeous spires and mountains behind it and classic Star Wars architecture in front, just getting a look at the Falcon raises the excitement for the actual ride. There’s plenty of places to stop and get a photo or, if you’re lucky, interact with Chewbacca or Rey.
With the Millennium Falcon right in front of you, the entrance to the ride is just to the left. The entrance is a giant building functioning as a port or cargo holder. If there’s one area where Smugglers Run doesn’t feel completely transportive, it’s in this little transition from the outside courtyard with the Falcon to the first part of the queue. Guests wander through the queue with the ship right outside the window. It’s a great looking area but it’s also easy to tell that we aren’t getting on that ship. This is very ‘nitpicky’ and frankly didn’t bother me at all. I think the whole experience is so exciting that it diminishes this small flaw.
After winding through the queue and getting some interesting views, guests enter a pre-show featuring Hondo Ohnaka of Clone Wars. Hondo explains that he’s borrowed the Falcon from Chewy to perform a heist. He lets us know that we, the riders, will be in the Falcon cockpit controlling the ship. The entire pre-show is fantastic. Hondo is a great animatronic and the clear and concise plot is well told.
Once Hondo ends his spiel, guests head into the Millennium Falcon and encounter some beautifully designed areas, including the famous chess board. This area acts as a waiting room of sorts as you’ll have been handed a card that tells your role and what color team you are on. While waiting for the color to be called, you’re free to roam in this little section. Frankly, this was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. If you’re a Star Wars fan then walking into this area will give you goosebumps.
Shortly after entering this area, the group will be called (like a dining reservation) and assembled then walked to the cockpit. There are six people in a group and three positions (two each) to man on the ride – pilot, gunner and engineer. If you really want a certain position just ask the cast member handing out cards and they’ll pull you aside for the next group.
The cockpit is another jaw-dropping section of the ride at first sight. For some, entering that cockpit will be a lifelong dream fulfilled and Imagineers did a wonderful job of replicating it. Once inside the cockpit, pilots take a seat at the front, gunners in the second row and engineers are in the back. All seats have a good view, although pilots obviously have the clearest view.
As for the actual ride, it’s an interactive flight simulator. This isn’t Mission: Space where you just hit a button once and will have done your job, there’s continuous action regardless of your job. Gunner is the simplest job as there’s an auto lock on what you’re firing at. That position can keep their eyes forward, concentrating on the plot, nearly the whole time while pushing their ‘firing’ button throughout the ride. Engineer is similar to gunner, as guests push buttons that light up throughout the ride that will ‘fix’ the ship after it takes damage. This position is slightly more involved in that you have to keep an eye on the wall with buttons next to you as a number of them light up throughout the ride. Pilot is easily the most influential position in Smugglers Run and also the hardest. My first turn at pilot was an absolute disaster and I’ve witnessed several others have some issues. Going in to the experience without any practice or preparation is difficult and, if it’s your first time, you’ll probably suck!
Despite the probability of sucking, I thought the pilot position was the most fun. It’s a surprisingly difficult task but also put me in control of the adventure. Enjoy running into everything and jostling the people riding with you. It can be a little awkward if you don’t know anyone riding with you as they probably think you’ve had one too many drinks at Oga’s Cantina before driving the famed ship. Melissa preferred the Engineer position as it’s easier to just enjoy the ride but still have an active role in the mission. Gunner is probably the position to take if you want less of the interactive experience.
There were several ways the adventure was affected by the performance of guests in the cockpit. Yes, the ride has a degree of autopilot (or gunner or engineer) kicked in. But if you’re deliberately trying to mess up then the ship will be affected. I have rode the attraction several times with people who just did nothing and after a few minutes the system takes it into account and the experience won’t be affected by them. There is a scoring system to the whole ride but it plays a very minimal part in the story or experience.
The plot of the ride is easy to follow and there’s several interesting outcomes and variations. Although there’s interactivity, I didn’t find Smugglers Run to be anything groundbreaking. When talking about just the ride, this feels like Star Tours except guests are driving and you’re in the Millennium Falcon. That makes it a very fun ride but not exceptional. Of course, the whole attraction is upgraded because of the entire experience and attention to detail.
The physical sets of the attraction are all excellent but I didn’t find the screen or simulation inside the cockpit to look amazing. In fairness, I don’t think that’s the point of the ride, as it’s trying to focus on guests interacting and a little more adventure than Star Tours or Flight of Passage. Still, I do think that knocks down the ride a little bit.
As I’ve already covered in the Disneyland and Hollywood Studios Attraction Rankings, Smugglers Run doesn’t quite hit the top marks in either park. The queue and pre-show are top notch in both parks and maybe worldwide but the actual ride isn’t spectacular like some other attractions, specifically at Disneyland.
Outside of our ride position tips (pilot is the most interactive, gunner the least and engineer in the middle) we do suggest using the single-rider line after your first ride through. The only reason we wouldn’t suggest this is if you have a large group. Single-rider line moves quickly and gives you a ride through as the engineer typically. If you do want to ride with your entire group then going first thing in the morning if you can get to the park early or late at night is advised. While Smugglers Run doesn’t generally have the longest lines, we’ve seen it be a walk-on half an hour before closing in Disneyland. It’s hard to pass that up.
Overall, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an excellent addition and solid first entry into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. While we expect and hope that Rise of the Resistance will be the flagship attraction of this land, Smugglers Run is an outstanding second fiddle that has a high capacity and amazing detail.
What are your thoughts on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run? Let us know, along with any other questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland or Disney World? Check out our Planning Guides here. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Attraction Reviews