Piloting the Millennium Falcon at Galaxy’s Edge is a lot harder than you think


Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run allows riders to experience what it’s like to pilot the iconic ship, and let us just tell you it’s harder than you think.

When I walked in to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on opening day at Disneyland I had no idea what to expect but I sure was excited. I wanted to do everything all at once, but one thing was calling my name- being able to pilot the Millennium Falcon. The ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs was now being used by Hondo Ohnaka to go on a special mission and I was invited!

Looking out to the Millennium Falcon from the queue (Credit: Visit Anaheim)

When you enter the line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run you are met with a massive transport system that Hondo seems to be working on but can’t get quite right. There’s still a long way to go until it’s perfect and as you walk by it tries to start up but can’t quite muster up the power to do so. You’ll pass by the Millennium Falcon, the ship you’re about to pilot, with some incredible views of the entire top of the ship and Black Spire Outpost. If I’m being quite honest, this is my favorite part of the whole queue. Yeah, you can sit at the infamous dejarik table inside the Falcon, but nothing beats this view, only visible from this one spot inside Galaxy’s Edge.

Queue for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Credit: Visit Anaheim)

When you finally get to see Hondo in the pre-show room he’s telling you all about your mission. Be sure to pay attention. This whole attraction is based on how well you can listen and follow directions from Hondo. The pre-show really does help you to understand what you’re going to be doing and what each position inside the Millennium Falcon is meant to do.

Pilot Cards for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Credit: Visit Anaheim)

Once you step foot into the ship you’ll be handed a card with your position. Pilot is the most desirable since you sit in the first row and have the most responsibility while riding. Pilot is also the most difficult of the three positions, so it’s not for someone who just wants to enjoy the attraction and sit back and watch the experience.

You’ll be divided into groups of is by the color of the position card you’re given. I’ve been on the purple and green squad. Each color has the exact same ride experience, it’s just Disney’s way to keep each group of six distinct from other groups of six. You’ll all enter the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon together and sit in your assigned position. This is where I started to get nervous because I was a designated pilot, who sits in row one and has a lot of tasks to do.

Inside the queue for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Credit: Visit Anaheim)

As you takeoff out of Batuu you’ll need to learn very quickly how to operate the ship. Each of the buttons on your dashboard will light up when it’s time to push them, but you will constantly need to have a hand on the joystick control, and your eyes on the window out of the Falcon. Since there are two pilots, one controls the ship going left or right, and the other controls the ship moving up and down. You need to be able to work together with your other pilot to control the ship. I was able to ride with a friend so our communication was good even in the somewhat stressful situation.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Photo Credit: Visit Anaheim

When your crew arrives on Corellia (a planet from the movie Solo: A Star Wars Story) things really heat up. This is when I wished my co-pilot and I had known the other people on our mission better so we could “communicate with” (a.k.a. yell at) them with what to do and how to help us help them. The absolute thrill of the ride as a pilot was being able to make the jump to lightspeed, something I’ve wanted to do for many years!

When you complete your mission Hondo gives out your credits, only after taking his share and taking the credits he needs to repair the ship. As you exit the cockpit the exit queue will either look clean and ready for another mission, or broken and is desperate need of repair depending on how you did.

Outside near the Millennium Falcon for the new Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Credit: Visit Anaheim)

As a whole the attraction is immersive and absolutely incredible. Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with Industrial Light and Magic (Lucasfilm’s VFX and animation studio) to create a fully functioning flight that feels hyper-realistic and is challenging for adults and kids. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler Run has the thrills of Star Tours or Avatar Flight of Passage with the gameplay of Mission: Space or Toy Story Mania.

If you’re ready for a challenge while on vacation Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run might be the right thing for you. Be sure to bring people you know if possible, or just try not to get to upset at the rest of your group as the ship begins to crash.

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Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is now open at Disneyland Park, and will open August 29 at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World.