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Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run Review

Getting the job done

The ride begins with you taking off from Batuu, the Black Spire Outpost in the distance. Your destination is another planet, with a train, that you need to chase down and tether in order to grab its cargo. And if you and your five crew-mates are amazing at your positions, you'll do just that. But after three re-rides on this attraction, such a perfectly-executed mission has never actually happened. Pilots bump into things, gunners miss their targets, and engineers don't respond to damage fast enough, which all contribute to a branching ride experience that changes depending on how well (or poorly) you do. During one re-ride, our pilots actually fared so badly at navigating around corners that our Hyperspace drive broke and we had to navigate through an asteroid field instead of coming back the fast way!

And though the different skill-based outcomes may entice guests to ride again a few times, what will keep guests returning to this attraction again and again (we think) in the long term, is the ride's scoring system, which tabulates how well a specific guest did in their job, as well as how well the entire crew performed. And if you're a competitive sort, you're going to want to return again and again to improve your score!

But does it feel..."real"?

With the 2017 opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar, Disney began to shift its focus away from attractions where you were simply experiencing what was around you to rides that literally made you the star of your own story. Where classic rides like it's a small world, Big Thunder Mountain and The Haunted Mansion allow guests to observe stories as they unfold around them, Disney is now looking to make guests feel like they are a real part of their own stories inside fictional worlds. Avatar - Flight of Passage accomplishes this goal artfully, allowing guests to really "feel" what it would be like to link with an Avatar and ride a Banshee. But it only goes so far, as this simulation-style experience has a set path that it never deviates from. And this is where Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run really one-ups other recent Disney attractions. 

Sure, you're surrounded by screens in a pretty standard (though highly themed) simulator that moves along with the action of the ride; not exactly a new experience at a Disney park. However, what sets this attraction apart is the way it pulls guests into the experience with details. Hit something wrong with a gun? You'll feel tactile feedback immediately. Accidentally snag a rock on your way out of Batuu? Your whole craft will shake.

This ride may not be the most technically impressive attraction Disney has ever created, but it does a mighty fine job of making you feel like you really are piloting the Millenium Falcon, and that is reason enough to visit Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge this fall. Add in some real re-ride-ability and a queue that has to be seen to be believed, and you can bet that Disney's Hollywood Studios has a hit on its hands. Though we're (of course) still waiting on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to open this December, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run works well as an anchor for this new land, and does a good job of making guests feel like they are truly living in their own Star Wars adventure! 

 

 

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