Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run

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Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
SmugglersRun.jpg
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run allows guests to pilot the iconic ship.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Theme Star Wars
Opening date August 29, 2019
Ride duration 4:30 minutes
Type Interactive Motion simulator
Fastpass + Yes (Group A)

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is an attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Attraction History

The attraction that would eventually become Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, was initially announced at the 2015 D23 Expo along with the rest of Disney's planned Star Wars Land. At this time, details of the attraction were not revealed, however it was made public that the new land would feature an attraction that would allow guests, "to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission" [1]

When Disney set out to create what would eventually be known as Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, they knew that they needed the Millennium Falcon to be a centerpiece of the new land [2]. The fact that the ship had become an iconic character in the franchise's lore, combined with the ability to fulfill guest's fantasy of actually piloting the vessel, made it a natural fit. In order to turn visor's dreams into reality, Imagineers wanted to create a fully interactive experience that put guests in control of the Falcon. According to Imagineer Steve Goddard, this presented a unique set of challenges:

It’s a completely interactive game, which is a big technology jump for us because that means we’re rendering everything with real-time graphics, real-time motion cues. It’s not something that we’ve done before....When we started this, the technology for doing our rendering of graphics didn’t even exist. We’re filling an enormous screen with theatrical quality graphics in real time, and that technology didn’t exist when we started. So we found ourselves just kind of looking over the horizon, trying to figure out what’s going to be there when we need it, and what isn’t there, that’s what we’re going to invent" [3]
Concept art showing Chebacca loaning the Millennium Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka.

In the end, the attraction that Imagineers created was part motion simulator and part video game. Due to the interactive nature of the attraction, there are thousands of possible ride combinations, as every action guests take affects the ride experience [4].

When designing the Millennium Falcon that guests would boarding, Imagineers combined aspects of the various Falcons created for the Star Wars film franchise, to create an "iconic" version. In order get the ship just right, the team spent three years studying, creating, and tinkering with the vessel's various details [4]. In addition to visiting the real Millennium Falcon set in London, the team also poured through the Star Wars films to get every detail just right. According to creative director Asa Kalama:

"Making sure that walking into that cockpit, it didn’t feel like a toy, it felt like a real, honest spaceship,” Kalama says “We spent an incredible amount of time just playing with the feel of the buttons and the switches and the hyperspace handle to make sure it had that heft that made it all feel not like a simulation of being in a spaceship, but an authentic experience.” [4]

The name of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run was revealed on November 17, 2018, along with new ride footage [5].

On August 29, 2019, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run officially opened along with the rest of Phase I of Stars Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

On September 10, 2019, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run was updated to include new screens which display the "Maximum Profit" guests could have earned (a number that is impossible to reach due to "Hondo always taking a cut", as well as a new ranking system. At the end of the attraction, guests are now given a rank such as: "Pirate", "Hot Shot", "Marauder", or "Scoundrel" depending on the success of their mission [6].

Attraction Plot

Hondo Ohnaka briefs guests on their mission.

Backstory

Like all events that take place in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the story of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run takes place in between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker films.

According to the attraction's backstory, Chewbacca has lent out the Millennium Falcon to Hondo Ohnaka in exchange for new parts. The trader is now using the vessel to smuggle goods across the galaxy. As business has been booming, Ohnaka hires guests to help him make the runs.

Queue

Guest's begin their adventure on Smuggler's Run by entering Ohnaka Transport Solutions. Inside, they pass through Hondo's maintenance shop, where they can see the various ships in repair, as well as some of the tools that Hondo and his men use on their smuggling runs. After making their way through the shop, guests reach a holding room, where detailed panels of the Millennium Falcon line the wall. In this command center, guests meet Hondo Ohnaka and his R5P8 droid, who give them a briefing of their mission.

After being briefed by Hondo, the Millennium Falcon is lowered down allowing guests to board the ship. At this point each rider is assigned a boarding card which describes the role they will take on for the mission. The three roles guests can be assigned are: Pilot, Gunner, and Engineer.

Main Ride

Inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

After entering the Millennium Falcon, guests stop in the "main hold". Here, they can see the ship's Dejarik board (hologram chess) which was first featured in A New Hope.

After entering the Falcon's cockpit, riders fill the seat assigned to their role. The Pilot is tasked with steering the ship, the Gunner at shooting various targets, and the Engineer with fixing the damage incurred on the mission.

Although the attraction's experience varies, on every ride guests travel at light-speed to the distant planet Corellia, where they are tasked with obtaining Coaxium by robbing a train. At this point the pilot needs to get the Falcon behind the train, while the Engineer lowers the grappling hooks, and the Gunner fights off the TIE Fighters escorting the shipment. After collecting the cargo, the team must make their escape back to Batuu and collect their reward.

While the attraction's beginning and end are always relatively the same, the adventure that guests have on the attraction is directly related to how well the perform their tasks. If for instance, the ship's pilot causes too much damage, riders may find themselves stranded in a meteor shower. After arriving back at Batuu, Hondo will either reward the team if they have done well, or threaten them with a bounty for having damaged the ship.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • Inside Hondo's maintenance room, guests can see and abandoned game of Sabacc has been left on a shipping container. This is the game that Lando lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo in [7].
  • Next to the rack of blasters in the queue, guests can find Jyn Erso's blaster from Rouge One [7].
  • Inside the maintenance room, guests can see a T-47 Airspeeder on a create. This is the same weapon used by those aboard Rebel snowspeeders in the Battle of Hoth [7].
  • Nearby, guests can see a Storm Trooper helmet being used as an oil pan.
  • Just outside of the command deck, where guests meet Ohnaka, there is a garbage can which reads "Trash to sector 33263827" in Aurebesh. This is the designation of the trash compactor that Chewbacca, Han, Luke and Leia get trapped in during A New Hope [8].
  • Inside the Millennium Falcon's main hold, riders can find a training helmet and seeker droid, similar to the one Luke used when learning the ways of the Force [7].
  • Throughout the main hold, riders can spot various Porg nests.
  • Corcellia, the planet where guests travel to complete their mission, is the home planet of Han Solo.
  • While on their mission, guests can spot a StarSpeeder 1000. This is the transport used by the Galactic Tourism Bureau on Star Tours [7].

Chewie Mode

While riding Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, the team is often give verbal cues by Hondo throughout their mission. If however, prior to the attraction's seat belt check, the entire team enters a "Konami code" (pushes a series of buttons), they can replace Hondo's commentary with Chewbacca. In order to "unlock" this mode, the team must:

  • Have the Pilots push their joystick to the extreme left/right or up/down before hitting their activation button.
  • Have the Gunners and Engineers hit one of the white buttons on their console before they hit their orange activation button
  • Complete the aforementioned tasks prior to the time the attraction's cast member checks rider's seat belts and hits the all clear button.

References

  1. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/08/star-wars-themed-lands-coming-to-walt-disney-world-and-disneyland-resorts/
  2. https://screenrant.com/millennium-falcon-ride-galaxys-edge-explained/
  3. https://collider.com/millennium-falcon-smugglers-run-interview-steve-goddard/
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-galaxys-edge-millennium-falcon-smugglers-run
  5. https://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/star-wars-land/news/17nov2018-star-wars-galaxys-edge-attractions-get-their-official-names.htm
  6. https://wdwnt.com/2019/09/photos-new-maximum-profit-and-ranking-system-updates-added-to-millennium-falcon-smugglers-run-at-star-wars-galaxys-edge-in-disneys-hollywood-studios/
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 https://blooloop.com/features/millennium-falcon-smugglers-run-easter-eggs/
  8. https://www.polygon.com/2019/6/5/18651009/disneyland-star-wars-land-map-easter-eggs-millennium-falcon-smugglers-run-guide-galaxys-edge