I Went to Galaxy’s Edge And All I Got Were Memories To Last A Lifetime, Part 3: Flying the Millennium Falcon

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!

2018: The Year of Escapism


2018: The Year of Escapism

That’s what my friend, Leslie, called it after discovering she had read over 100 books this year.  I can relate.  I set out to read 52 books in 2018.  So far, I’ve read 100 books and 32 graphic novels, and the year’s not over, yet.
To say I’ve been escaping is an understatement.  After a personal tragedy in 2015, my life has slowly been going off the rails, getting worse with each passing year.  The good news is a lot of drama and other stuff finally came to an end this year.  The bad news is the three years of stress finally took their toll.  My emotional and physical tanks weren’t just empty.  They were bone dry with holes in the bottom. 

Being able to finally relax, breathe, and attempt to recharge, I ended up taking it to an extreme.  With my tanks so empty to start, any endeavor seemed to take way more energy than normal.  I’d go for a walk, I’d need to rest.  I’d do a load of laundry, I’d need to rest.   I’d brush my teeth, I’d need to rest.  Oh, I did a few new and exciting things here and there, but they’d take me days, if not weeks to recover.  I spent more and more time resting to the point of inertia. So I sat a lot.  And read a lot.  And ate…a lot.  At the end of this year thanks to all that inertia and lack of energy, I’ve read 100 books, and I’ve gained over 15 pounds.  I had such hopes for this year, of doing new things and focusing on others, finally free of stress and drama.  But  that wasn’t what I needed.  I needed to rest.  To escape into books and stories.  To take a break from things I’d been doing and dealing with for years.  It turns out, what I really needed in 2018 was a fallow year.

fal·low, adjective
1.(of farmland) plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation or to avoid surplus production.

I spent the last decade running several races a year.  After 10 years of constantly pushing myself, a woman who doesn’t really like running to start with (I did it for the people and the costumes, but that’s another post,) I got seriously burned out.  So when Run Disney ended their Disneyland races at the end of 2017 my body, my mind, (and my bank account) were desperate for a break.  In addition, I’ve spent 20+ years at my job, only to have the work steadily dwindling the past couple years, as my job comes to an end at the beginning of next year.  Between all that, and the stress and drama, I didn’t really just HOW much of a break I needed. 

It wasn’t how I’d planned 2018 to be.  I certainly hadn’t planned to be so tired.  But it turns out all that resting is exactly what I needed.  Oh, I kept trying to push myself, rousing a bit of energy for some event, or workout, or whatnot, but it burned out quickly and  there wasn’t any left to sustain me.  All the motivation and determination in the world won’t start a car if it’s out of gas.  And while it took me a few months to really understand it, that’s what I was.  Just completely empty.  So I started to embrace it.  Other than some stress over the summer, I’ve been resting.  And while I didn’t plan on gaining so much weight, that’s exactly what happens when you eat what you want and sleep in.  And oh, how lovely it’s been to do both!  Don’t get me wrong,  I miss being healthy.  I miss my six pack abs.  But nachos taste better than burpees, and sleeping in a nice warm bed feels better than getting up in the cold dark at 4:30 to work out.  I welcomed losing myself in books, and movies, and tv shows and sitting back while some other person’s story played out.  I needed a year to restore and, while I’m not fully there, I feel like I’ve made some serious progress. Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing.

I’m still tired.  I still have to sit after doing something.  I still want to curl up and read books all day.  But the thing is, I finally feel like I’m ready for more.  I’m excited for 2019.  It’ll be hard to break out of the bad habits I just spent a year wallowing in, but I always knew they were temporary, and I have both the motivation and the energy now.  I’m looking forward to finding a new job.  I’m looking forward to getting my health and body back in shape.  I’m looking forward to new adventures, and time spend with friends.  Finally, for the first time in a very long time, I’m looking forward to the future.  But until January 1, 2019, maybe one more book…or two.