On our way over to the Millennium Falcon ride, we took a bunch of photos and played with the Disney play app. We also found, thanks to the discovery of other friends, a fantastic view of the Falcon. To the left of the Falcon is a raised area where Docking Bay 7 is located and it just so happens to be a great place to take photos and selfies with the Falcon looking stunning in the background. Really, there are no bad places to take photos the Falcon, but this was particularly nice.
Photos taken, it was off to pilot her ourselves! At 9:45 a.m. we got in line with what said was a 30 minute wait, but we were heading into the cockpit around 10 a.m. The line is amazing, and we flew through it, much to our disappointment, as it’s filled with all sorts of things to do using your datapad, but also tons of photo ops and details.
The first part of the line has you walking behind the Falcon and you’re going to want to take photos, but there’s an even better place, if you wait just a little bit further. The line slowly ramps up to the second floor, and at one point you are standing behind and ABOVE the Falcon and we all stopped to take photos as you can see not only the Falcon and Battu, but also Big Thunder in the background as well. You get a sense of just how well everything was made to blend together as the black spires seem perfectly normal next to the rusty rocks of Big Thunder. It’s a really beautiful moment that made us all oh and ah, and we were sorry we had to hurry along. It’s the one time we all remarked we’d actually would have liked to wait longer, just to have more time for that.
You quickly enter a room where the famous pirate, Hondo Ohnaka, is there explaining what you’re doing there and why you get to fly the Falcon. Hondo is originally from the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons and it was incredible to see him in 3D. They did an absolutely fantastic job of bringing him to life. If you haven’t watched either cartoon series, I really recommend them. They’re part of the official Star Wars canon, and they’re not just for kids. Chewie also makes an appearance during the briefing, too, and there’s something deeply touching hearing his Wookiee voice right before you enter the Falcon.
After the presentation a CM gives you your color coded card with position assignments: Pilot, Gunner, or Engineer. The CM hands them out as a first come, first serve basis, so whoever is in the front of your group will be the pilots, followed by the gunners, and then engineers. You are totally free to swap with other members of your group. My group, or crew, as we called ourselves, naturally sorted ourselves into pilots, gunners, and engineer, and working as a team REALLY makes a huge difference when flying the ship. When everyone does their job well, it shows in the story lines and action.
You then enter a hallway that takes you to the Falcon and walking into it I started to cry. I was ON the Millennium Falcon and it’s just what I dreamed of. It looks, feels and sounds just like the movies. There’s porg nests, and exposed panels, and blinking lights, the “kissing room,” and the holochess table RIGHT THERE. There were only two downsides. One is you’re there with other people waiting to enter their cockpits so it was a little crowded and not always easy to take photos. And two, we really weren’t there for very long. A few quick shots, and then our group (coded by color) was called and we headed into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.
We didn’t take as many photos inside the cockpit as I’d have liked. They want you to start the ride, but next time I think I’ll take a moment to really get a couple of shots because it’s insanely amazing in there! It’s THE MILLENNIUM FALCON COCKPIT and it’s just as detailed as you see in the movies.
I won’t go into detail about the ride, but will say this: If it’s flashing or turns green, press it or move it. One member of my crew took a video of our first flight, and it’s several minutes of us all screaming and laughing and having an absolute blast. Being the pilot lets you see the screen the whole time as you have to watch it to determine where to fly.
On my second trip I was a gunner, and while you can hold the button down to continuously fire so you can watch the screen, you miss other buttons lighting up at you, and pressing, or not pressing, those buttons can make a difference to your mission. I liked being the pilot first so I could see what happens, and then I wasn’t as worried as watching the second time as gunner, but I recommend riding it and trying all the positions.
At the end, each position and seat has their own score based on how well they did, and you can use the buttons to toggle the screen to see more info on your performance. This is where you really want to have that app going as once we left the exit, some of us (but not all, as the app was kind of tetchy all morning) got notifications from Hondo either rewarding or removing credits. Fly well, earn credits. Fly badly and…well, let’s just say some people OWED Hondo credits at the end, lol.
It’s absolutely incredible and we only got one of the various assignments/missions you can get, so I cannot WAIT to ride it when all of those are available. Having had so much fun, we hit the refreshers (and discovered another easter egg: a Dianoga hiding in one of the tanks!) and then we jumped back in line for another flight. At a five minute wait time we flew on through. We didn’t fly the Falcon quite as well this time, though there was even more laughter than the first flight, and it showed as we exited the cockpit. I won’t spoil anything, but you’ll KNOW if you flew well or not. Also, going the second or third hour into our reservation seemed to be the best time as most people, upon entering Galaxy’s Edge at the start of their reservation, headed there first. So wait, if you can, to fly.
The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride was even more than I could have hoped for. I love that no matter how many times you ride it, it will ALWAYS be different, and you get a chance each time to improve your flying, shooting, and/or engineering skills. Just like the giddy little kid I turn into when I ride Star Tours, this is one ride I will never get tired of experiencing for the sheer joy of getting to board and fly the Millennium Falcon and immerse myself in the Star Wars universe.
Stay tuned for Part 4: Food and shopping!