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Disney's Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a fully realized 'Star Wars' toy

Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Travel News

Thus, Smugglers Run is a ride that warrants repeat visits. My guess is that it will take at least two runs to get a firm grasp of the controls, but if you're playing with a group of five friends, that shouldn't matter. Pilots will be yelling at engineers to push the buttons to fix the ship and engineers will be yelling at gunners to push the buttons to destroy enemy TIE Fighters.

This is, in all honesty, a blast -- an immersive, theme park equivalent of the zaniness that is the brilliantly ridiculous mobile game "Spaceteam." But expect to be in a group that's mixed and matched with strangers. When I rode the ride -- or controlled the Falcon, rather -- with strangers, I found myself too restrained to shout orders and wished there was a way to unhook my seat belt and show the pilot that pushing forward was continually destroying our ship.

That all being said, this ride is detailed. Mess up, and expect to receive a lecture and walk through an exit in which the ship's hallway is bursting with static and alerts. Succeed, and see a more jokey video with Ohnaka noting we brought back some as-yet-unidentified creatures to the Galaxy's Edge planet of Batuu.

Both, honestly, were fulfilling. Disney has promised that your success or failure on the ride will follow you throughout the Batuu city of Black Spire Outpost, but even at this press event it's still unclear how this will happen. A cast member, speaking reluctantly to a member of the media, said this functionality will live at Disneyland on the Play Disney Parks app (the app's full functionality was not available during the media preview).

The belly of the Falcon will be an Instagrammer's paradise, where guests will crowd around a holographic chess table. No holograms, but Luke Skywalker's Jedi training materials can be spotted, as can multiple porg nests. Additionally, there are games to discover while waiting to enter the cockpit. Don't expect a traditional queue in the moments before boarding, as visitors are allowed to enjoy photo ops or try to trigger some of the unexpected surprises in the ship.

Also impressive is the Ohnaka animatronic -- and quite frankly the amount of animatronics present throughout Galaxy's Edge. The story goes that Chewbacca has lent Ohnaka the Falcon for his questionable smuggling runs in return for some supplies to help the resistance, but it's clear that was a bad idea as we make our way through the line.

Once inside Ohnaka's warehouselike shipping center, we'll walk up what appear to be rusty ramps and see a smattering of rundown equipment, droids and a ship that stutters and stops as it tries to power up. The audio will fill in the backstory of the place, as we'll listen to Ohnaka's workers fight with one another, along with alerts that Stormtroopers are coming by for an inspection.


A couple of particularly choice details include a "Star Wars" radio, which looks like a cross between a child's toy and a '70s subwoofer, and a preboarding video with graphics that look to be a nod to the early-'80s "Star Wars" coin-op.

Just make sure you come ready to play.

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