Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run review

Prepare yourselves: You are about to hop aboard the fastest hunk of junk in the Galaxy. 

Walt Disney World’s newest attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, located inside the spacious Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Land recently opened, and guests are flocking as fast as they can to climb on board this science-fiction fanatics dream thrill ride. Before you get caught up in the excitement, read on to learn a little more about what to expect when you embark on this journey.

Entering Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios theme park, you may be immediately struck by the immensity of the place. Unlike other areas of the park, which take up merely a postage stamp corner of the place, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been allotted a sprawling space.

Walking through the cave-like archways, you will feel as though you have been transported to another planet. From the rolling and craggy peaks, to the truly alien open-air market, your eyes will not know where to take you first. 

While you may be tempted to dawdle through the land all day, you are here for the ride, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, and you should know that it has been strategically placed towards the back of the land. You will have to pick a route to get there, but don’t let yourself get sucked into the magical movie set-style environment. You will want to head straight back to the ride.

So without further ado, let’s dive deep in our Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run review!

A Thrill Ride Like No Other

You will know you have reached the desired destination when you spot the Millennium Falcon parked in front of the queue line. For Star Wars fans, you may feel the tears well in your eyes. I know I certainly did.

Here it is: The coolest ride in the galaxy. Once you have followed the queue line round and round and you have finally made it onto the ride, you should prepare yourself for a great adventure.

Imagine taking some of the best parts of your favorite Walt Disney World Rides: Mission: Space, Flights of Passage, and Test Track, and combining all the most glorious details to create one ride.

If you can picture this, then you will be able to begin to understand what Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is all about. Before you board the star ship, you and your party will be given roles to play. Like in Mission: Space, you may recognize some of the assignments. 

The pilot, the engineer, and the gunner all play important roles in this quest. If you are a fan of the digital beauty created in the world of Pandora while riding on Flights of Passage, you will recognize the same thoughtful details and be able to see how they have been added to this new ride as well.

The bonus perk is that you don’t have to wear 3-D goggles to enjoy the enhanced environment in this ride. Finally, if you love being able to create your own vehicle before riding on Disney’s Test Track over at Epcot, you will punch the air with joy when you realize that you get to interact with the ship and even steer the vehicle while riding Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.

For the Star Wars-loving adventurer, you may feel like you have just stepped into a slightly more sophisticated version of Star Tours. If you get this impression, you wouldn’t be totally wrong. The premise of this ride is that you are a group of travelers who are trying to obtain a batch of coaxium and deliver it on time. In order to accomplish your mission, you must dip, dive, and duck throughout space. 

Each starship is designed to look like the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. The replica feels so realistic, undoubtedly one person in your party will utter the line, “Chewie, We’re Home.” After everyone giggles, the sense of glee will remain. Each space vehicle holds up to six passengers. Two will conduct the mission as pilots, two people will be engineers, while the other two will be gunners. 

The seats are arranged so that the pilots sit in the front, looking out the cone-shaped window. Then, the others sit in a single-file line behind the pilots. The chairs are designed to look exactly like the ones on the real Millennium Falcon in the films, so there’s no need to worry about being uncomfortable. These captain-style chairs are made for the long haul. 

Guests must be 38” (97cm) or taller to ride this attraction. Each guest must be able to sit in their own seat as no lap sitting is permitted. Since each guest has been assigned a job to do while on board the vessel, each person should be able to reach the control panel and look out into space. While the ride is in motion, there is a guide, instructing each person what to do in order to make the mission successful. 

Pilots are told which buttons to push, and which levers to pull in order to make the jump to lightspeed and maneuver the ship away from dangers. Guests working as engineers will see a display light up, letting them know which buttons to push in order to keep the ship working properly. The gunners get to light up the sky when invaders approach and threaten to wreck the mission.

Through orders delivered over an intercom system, gunners are told to fire at the enemies who are in pursuit. By the time the mission is over and the coaxium has been delivered, you and your party may be panting for breath. You will become so fully immersed in the action that you may forget that this is only a ride simulation.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run Genie+

Since Disney has recently gotten rid of their free FastPass system, you now have to pay a fee (per day) to book a ride reservation for Smuggler’s Run via the Genie+ reservation system.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run Wait Times

When Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run first became operational the standard wait time was 50-70 minutes (this time estimate held true even when Hurricane Dorian threatened to sweep through the area for one long week in the month of September 2019.) 

50-70 minutes might seem like a pretty decent wait, considering that other relatively new attractions, like Flights of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, can sometimes reach over the 300 minute mark. Unfortunately, as time has progressed, and the dreadful hurricane season has slipped away, it is entirely possible that the wait time to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will be at least 300 minutes. This is especially true on Saturdays and Sundays. 

No one wants to wait in line for 300 minutes. I find this to be the case, no matter who you are and how dedicated you are to riding all the rides. 300 minutes is especially troublesome when you also factor in the idea that Disney Parks will not allow guests to leave the queue line for a bathroom break.

Once you and your party are in line, you must remain there for the duration. So, if 300 minutes in line isn’t sounding quite so appealing to you, there are ways to get around the madness. I would of course recommend booking a Genie+ reservation, but if you don’t want to pay that additional fee (on top of your ticket price) to have the right to book the reservation, here are a couple extra options worth considering:

1) Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel: While there are hundreds of reasons to spend the dough and stay in an on-site hotel, one of the biggest perks is that Walt Disney World Resort guests are granted “Extra Magic Hours” at the Disney Theme Parks.

This can mean receiving anywhere from one to three extra hours of time before the park opens to the general public. Showing up at 6 a.m. might not sound like the greatest way to relax on your vacation, but picture the park at 6 a.m. You and your party may be the only ones there! 

If that’s not entirely true, you can be certain that the ride lines will be drastically reduced, and you will have the chance to explore the park long before the general public even rolls out of bed. (My tip: Get up early. Be there at 6 a.m. Play in the park from 6-9 a.m., and then head back to your hotel for a nap.

You will have already been on all the great rides, including Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run before the average Walt Disney World guest even parks their car in the lot.) 

2) Once you enter Hollywood Studios, go straight to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run: I know it can be tempting to stop for photographs or a cup of coffee along the way, but if you can dash back towards the ride first, you will be miles ahead of other guests.

Until approximately 9:30 a.m. each day, you can get onto Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run with a 50 minute or less wait time. That’s not too bad, if you are willing to give up spending time in other areas of Hollywood Studios first.

3) Miss the nighttime shows: Hollywood Studios does an amazing job with their nighttime spectaculars, so this might be a hard one for you and your travel party to negotiate. Whether someone in the group absolutely must see Fantasmic or you have heard about the spectacular Star Wars- themed laser light show, it may take a bit of convincing to get others on board with this idea but hear me out.

If you can live without the nighttime shows for one evening, maybe you can catch them on a different night, you will be able to spend time back in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge without a herd of people surrounding you.

Most visitors will want to see the evening shows, because they are remarkable. That means they will be vacating the land and heading towards the exit. This will leave Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run open for your business. 

4) Arrive at the attraction around lunch or dinner time: Most people are creatures of habit. Their bodies let them know around noon each day that it is time to eat. If you and your crew can sneak in a meal ahead of time, or wait until later in the day, then going for the ride at midday might be the solution you need.

5) Use the My Disney Experience App the entire time you are in the park. This app does an outstanding job of updating attraction wait times. It can tell you, almost precisely to the minute, how long each ride queue is estimated to take. By checking the app before you head for the line, you and your family can best determine if you are willing to wait in the line for the allotted amount of time. If you feel like you may have a better chance later, check back on the app regularly to see those wait times shift. 

It should be noted: This ride is worth the wait. Whether you must stand around for fifty minutes or 300, this is one of Disney World’s best rides, and you and your travel party should not miss it.

Children: Hop Onboard!

This new Disney World attraction isn’t designed with kids in mind, but it certainly appeals to them. With the minimum ride height at 38” (97 cm), this guarantees that even little kids in your crew will be able to buckle up and enjoy the experience. 

Walt Disney Parks does consider this a thrill ride as it includes some small drops, the cockpit is mostly shrouded in darkness (we are riding through space, after all), and the systems operating through the ride can be on the loud side. But, this should not deter you from allowing your children to go on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. If anything, the interactive nature of the ride should entice your children to join in the fun. 

There are no jump scares or major drops that occur while the ride is in motion. There are small drops, as the space craft weaves through outer space, but little ones might not even notice the extra motion because they will be so absorbed in playing with the buttons at their command station. Being allowed to reach out and touch the control panel, as well as pull on levers will have your child laughing with joy and wanting to keep the ride going even after the ship has landed. 

Say Cheese: It’s Time for A Picture

While you might be disappointed to learn that there is no in-flight photograph or video snapped (I know I certainly wanted a picture of myself piloting the Millennium Falcon), you will feel only a little disheartened by this because you already got your fill of photographs leading up to the ride. 

As soon as you round the corner and spot the Millennium Falcon, you will also spy a massive line with other space travelers preparing to have their pictures taken in front of the space craft. This is a Disney PhotoPass opportunity, so have your MagicBand or your card ready to go.

Anticipate waiting anywhere from 15-30 minutes to get your group’s picture taken in front of the Millennium Falcon. That is quite a hefty wait time, but it is more than worth it. The Disney PhotoPass photographers really seize the moment and allow you to set up multiple different poses in front of the fixture.

Once you enter the queue line, you will be surrounded by further opportunities to take photographs using your own electronic devices. Have those cameras ready because at almost every corner, there will be alcoves and nooks for you to dive into for a quick selfie with your crew. 

Once the queue line wraps inside of the building, you will find yourself in something that looks a bit like a space garage. There are parts and pieces of abandoned ships. There is even a life-size speeder in the middle of the line that is being tested. Your group will definitely want to pose in front of all these set pieces. 

As you near the end of the wait line, you will come into a holding area. Fans of the films may recognize this as a living room kind of place that exists on the Millennium Falcon in the movies. You and your party are welcome to sit at a table and have your photo taken while you are waiting for your flight to be called. 

You will be given a color-coded assignment and helpful Cast Members will let you know when it is time to board the space craft. In the interim, you are free to take as many pictures as you like and truly immerse yourself in the experience. 

Once you exit the ride, you will see even more opportunities for capturing those memories on film. Whether you line up to stand near a TIE fighter or you want to take a photograph with the Stormtroopers who are hanging around the land, there will be plenty of chances to fill up that camera roll.

Do I Need to be a Star Wars Fan?

On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the absolute best recommendation I could give this ride, I would give it a 5, indubitably. I felt so exhilarated just being in the captain’s chair, that I could not wait to have the chance to ride again. I needed, I wanted, I had to be able to have my chance to play the roles of engineer and gunner, too. I was wonderfully captivated by the immersive qualities in this ride, and I couldn’t stop smiling as I exited.

With all that in mind, I think you should know that this ride is best for people who are actively engaged with the Star Wars franchise, but it so good that you don’t have to know a thing about Star Wars to appreciate it. The ride is based on a storyline that is unique, so it is not like you are being thrown into the middle of a film and expected to understand what is happening around you. 

Some fans will think the storyline is similar to the one presented in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but they will most likely delight in that fact. For those who have no clue who Han Solo is or what kind of ship he flew, you will still be able to hop aboard this vessel and relish the time you get to spend being a member of the crew of the Millennium Falcon. 

May I Recommend. . .

Before traveling to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and lining up for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, familiarize yourself with the Star Wars Universe. I’m not suggesting sitting down this weekend and having a Star Wars marathon, although that does sound like a lot of fun. What I do think you should do before spending possibly all day in this new land is watch one or two of the films. 

Watching Solo: A Star Wars story would certainly give you a good sense of what to expect when riding on this attraction as it features Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. If you are not really interested in watching one of the stand-alone movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens might be a good substitute. There are many moments in this film that play like a bit of a love letter to the original film trilogy and its space ship, the Millennium Falcon. 

My opinion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is written expressly for those who are going to see the world that exists in Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios, located in Orlando, Florida. If you are looking for information about the park, as it can be seen in Disneyland over in California, you may need to check out this article, published by the Los Angeles Times. If you have children, like my own, who love to preview the ride before going on it, head over to this blog and read the article while your kids check out the video. 

If you can’t get enough Star Wars into your vacation diet, and you are itching to know more about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I would recommend glancing over this preview of the next attraction set to open in the park, Disney’s Rise of the Resistance.  

At this time, Rise of the Resistance is slated to be operational at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 5th, 2019. In the meantime, make your way over to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and buckle yourself in for an adventure you will want to experience time and time again. 

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