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Here's What REALLY Happened Inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on Opening Day in Walt Disney World

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is just plain, blasted fun

Millennium Falcon surrounded by crowds

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Our visit to Batuu ended up playing out somewhat backwards. Whereas most guests went straight for Smuggler’s Run, we really got caught up just exploring Batuu. However, as the day went on, we knew we absolutely didn’t want to leave without flying the Falcon. By around noon, the massive 300 minute line had shortened to 150 minutes. The land’s trademark “Bright Suns!” greeting had become a little too literal as the sun pounded the land with heat. We didn’t particularly want to stand in another 2 hour line if we could avoid it, and crowds were continuing to swell as the land grew busier and busier.

The single rider line proved a lifesaver.

Most guests likely didn’t even realize that Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run has a single rider line, located to the left of the stand-by entrance. You can’t even see if unless you walk right up to it, and it did close on one or two occasions in the morning. However, if you want to ride in the Falcon without waiting for 2-5 hours, it’s a real gem of an option.

There are some drawbacks to riding Smuggler’s Run as a single rider. For one thing, you don’t get to enjoy the ride’s immersive queue or play the app that accompanies it (Datapad still works, but not the location-specific games). You completely miss the pre-show with Hondo Ohnaka, and you also don’t get to pick your crew position. I ended up being an engineer twice while my husband was a gunner once and an engineer once. Despite this, it was well worth the adjustments since we didn’t wait more than 15 minutes either time.

Smuggler's Run 150 minutes sign

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Seeing the inside of the Millennium Falcon is definitely a captivating experience. It’s not a perfect replica: the blueprint of the actual Millennium Falcon is more circular in its design, and you don’t get to see or mess with the ship’s gunner turrets from A New Hope—an experience which we think may have been a missed opportunity on Disney’s part. The Falcon’s holding area also gets pretty crowded while guests wait to board. You may or may not be able to get to the Dejarik table, and we noticed some guests who were used to a more traditional theme park experience seemed annoyed with the boarding process and crew assignments. Still, the cast members got us through incredibly fast.

The cockpit of the Falcon feels a hair smaller than I expected, but it is still an awesome experience to take in. Naturally, pilot is the go-to job everyone wants, but your chances of getting it will always be slim, particularly if you ride with kids. The ride is definitely a video game on steroids. There are elements of the graphics that I could distinctly tell had the motion-enhancement elements common to video games, but this ultimately didn’t take away from the experience. Engineer ended up being quite fun as you have so many buttons and switches to interact with, and the more the pilots bang up the ship, the more you have to do. I was fortunate to have pilots both times who really were into the experience—one of which was a couple who had a blast and the second time with two kids who did surprisingly well.

My husband and I found quickly that a positive experience on Smuggler’s Run is all about attitude. If you end up with people having a good attitude and you keep one yourself, it stays fun. If you get upset about the performance of your fellow crewmates, you’ll foil your own experience. On my husband’s first ride, the pilot position went to a confused woman who didn’t speak English well. The crew’s gunners were two girls who were extremely competitive and ended up screaming at the poor woman the whole time trying to force a better performance out of her. Needless to say, while the ride was fun, it made the experience extremely uncomfortable. His second ride was a much better as he ended up with a mixed group who just had fun with the experience.

If you are most interested in a ride with extreme-realism and epic scope, Avatar: Flight of Passage still edges out Smuggler’s Run. I would say the Falcon could do with some slight tunes to the graphics as well as louder audio to make the experience more immersive (Hondo is hard to hear at times). However, for an extremely immersive attraction that is undeniable, raucous fun, you cannot beat Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The interactivity of it is absolutely cutting edge, and you can’t help but smile the whole time you ride it. It definitely has made the list of our favorite Disney attractions of all time.

A second chance for Disney

Crowds around Imperial Fighter

Image: Jett Farrell-Vega

Only time will tell how Galaxy’s Edge does in the coming weeks (especially with the looming arrival of Hurricane Dorian), but the sense we got is that the Black Spire Outpost is going to be an overwhelming success at Walt Disney World. Paired with Toy Story Land, Galaxy’s Edge has breathed something entirely new and exciting into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We already know Rise of the Resistance is coming on December 5th, and Disney has already dropped hints about other upgrades coming to Galaxy’s Edge, from downloadable Datapad expansions to a sit down restaurant.

Especially with the recent announcements from D23, it seems very likely that attendance at the Most Magical Place on Earth will be going up, and that will hopefully mean good things for the future of Galaxy’s Edge. If you visit in the coming months, arrive at the park early, hydrate regularly, make sure your phone is charged, and definitely get in the stand-by line for Smuggler’s Run quickly.

Were you there opening day? What was your experience?

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