By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Review– Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

By Dave Shute

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is the first of two rides to open in Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios—the second, Rise of the Resistance, opened in December 2019.

Millennium Falcon is an interactive simulator ride. Six folks ride at a time in a spectacular imitation of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit, each with simple tasks to complete—two pilots, each with slightly different jobs, two gunners, and two flight engineers.

You will see much advice that the best job is the pilot’s job, and the next best the flight engineer’s, and related advice that flights with good pilots are better than those with inept pilots.

All this advice is sound for those who take a sort of video game “maximize the score” mentality to the ride, but for those who don’t, none of this much matters.

If you wish to experience either a space ride or a Millennium Falcon ride, and don’t care how “well” your ship does overall, how much you control the outcome, or how well piloted it is, then you will still have fun on this ride. So take the whole debate over best jobs and best experiences with a grain of salt.

If on the other hand, you don’t care at all about either spaceship rides generally or the Millennium Falcon specifically, then frankly there is not a whole lot to this ride.

Flight of Passage in Pandora at the Animal Kingdom presents an interesting contrast. Flight of Passage has a distinctive ride system and an imitated breathtaking journey that is largely independent of the specific content of Avatar. To put it more simply, Flight of Passage is simply a truly great ride, independent of its theming.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is different. It wins—among those with whom it wins—by its specific recreation of the Falcon, but for those indifferent to space flight or the Falcon itself, it is just another ride.

The best comparator among other Disney World rides opened in the last decade (although this is somewhat unfair in a way I’ll come back to in the next paragraph) would be Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland, a ride that charms major fans of the Little Mermaid, but has little to offer those for whom Little Mermaid is not central to their love of Disney.

The big contrast with Under the Sea is in the execution of the theme and setting of Smuggler’s Run, which is spectacular for Smuggler’s Run and so-so for Under the Sea.

Grown-ups can appreciate, celebrate, and be delighted by…

…The reification of human imagination and creativity into the physical setting of Galaxy’s Edge…

…The Millennium Falcon itself…

…The ride queue…

…The astonishing Hondo animatronic…

…and their experience on the ride.

Kids who are fans of the original trilogy will likely love it as well.

Have you ridden it yet? What did you think, and why?


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1 Jeff { 10.23.19 at 10:38 am }

I was 9 years old when the original Star Wars came out, so I’m right in that demographic that is sentimental for the Millennium Falcon and pretty much all things related to the original trilogy.
And while I love Galaxy’s Edge as a whole (the DLR version, I won’t get back to WDW until June), Smuggler’s Run disappointed me. It was great to enter and be inside the Falcon, but the ride itself was just okay. Flight of Passage blows it out of the water 100-fold, and I’ve never been overly thrilled with the movie it’s based on.
Fortunately, I’m very confident Rise of the Resistance will be amazing and make up for the shortfalls of Smuggler’s Run.

2 Dave { 10.24.19 at 11:24 am }

Yeah, Jeff, if Rise of the Resistance is only half as good as FOP, then I will love it!

3 ashri { 10.24.19 at 2:03 pm }

I’m not a star wars fan, so i went into the land knowing nothing about star wars but really enjoyed the land.

your comment “those indifferent to space flight or the Falcon itself, it is just another ride” was SPOT on ! lol the actual ride portion was meh to me. i was an engineer and it felt truly pointless and i gave up looking away to press buttons and just focus on the ride itself.

I am going to say that FOP is way better! MFSR queue was good, and it was amazing being in the ship/hallways, I found hidden mickeys on the falon in the hallway, but the ride was just not that great to me. It left no lasting impression on me, and i can barely remember what happened on that part of the attraction.

4 JD { 11.23.19 at 10:03 am }

We went in mid October at DW…I’m still trying to digest how I feel about the lack of emotional attachment to traditional SW (I was 10 in 1977). I have already forgotten what the ride was like…my wife loved the feeling of being in a video game, while my 15 year old son thought it was kinda okay. Everything other than the ride is very impressive to me. My son and I will always feel very fondly of building a light saber (he was awed and I was very impressed) and the droid build was very cool, also.

5 Dave { 11.23.19 at 2:18 pm }

JD, while I am in your camp on which Star Wars has resonance for me, it does seem to me like this question of when among the films to set the land was a no-win decision, and the call Disney made, while satisfying no one, was probably the least un-satisfying, on average, over the life of the land…

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