Walking into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is unlike anything Disneyland has done before. A bustling market filled with meats and weapons, droids getting built with parts plucked off a nearby conveyor belt, and imperial storm troopers patrolling every alleyway make Batuu feel like an actual set from Star Wars. The transition between the western streets of Frontierland and the entrance to the outpost is barely noticeable as you walk from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to a galaxy far, far away.
When you enter you're in a place that seems separate from the rest of the theme park. Even employees in each shop play a part in the war, as they're either part of the rebellion or faithful to the empire. Ships the size of buildings sit proudly around each corner and little tidbits of Star Wars history hide within all the different hour-long lines. Almost everything within Galaxy's Edge is swamped in the depths of the Star Wars universe. Its only ride, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run, is the piece that ties it all together. Smuggler's Run is hit or miss at first though, with its confusing setup that doesn't prepare you as much as it could for what you're about to see. But have no fear: we're here to help make your first run worthwhile, especially if the long lines make subsequent tries hard to justify.
The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is the main attraction in Batuu and it's unlike other rides that Disney has put in their original Southern California park. It's an incredibly elaborate interactive game that puts riders in the cockpit of the Falcon as they try and steal cargo from the First Order. You'll walk into a short animatronic explainer that welcomes you to the ride, board the ship, fly the mission, and then get a score based on how it went.
Outside the cockpit itself, everything in Smugglers Run is digital. The screens on the front windows of the Falcon display the outside of the ship as you fly around different planets. The cockpit rumbles and shakes as it takes damage from crashes or jumps to light speed.
The pseudo ship seats six and every rider gets an assignment: two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers. The pilots handle the ship, with one controlling vertical movement and the other horizontal, gunners shoot down enemy ships, and engineers handle any repairs that the ship needs. It's a cooperative ride that is only fun if you put effort into the part you have to play.
For the most part, the gunner and engineering roles are comprised of pressing buttons. You don't have a special screen, so you'll have to split your attention between what's happening on screen and looking to your side at the console. It's confusing at first as buttons light up at what seem like random intervals, plus what's going on outside isn't always clear as you'll be experiencing a whole lot of shaking. Your inaugural trip might yield disappointing results, but there are a few things you can try to make the first run a worthwhile one.
Smuggling your way to victory
Smugglers Run is for groups of six, so it's a good idea to go into the ride with five other people. If you're on your own or in a smaller group, talk to the people ahead of and behind you in the ride. It's likely that you'll find other recruits that bring your total to six, or at least close to it.
Before you get into the ship you'll wait in a small lobby where you'll get a role assigned to you via a small card. From the two times I went through the ride the employees hand out pilot cards first, then gunners, and then engineers. The pilots are the most fun, they get to put the ship into lightspeed and they don't have to take their eyes off the main screens where the action is. Try to position yourself closest to the ride's cast member if you're most interested in the pilot, although all of the roles can be enjoyable… as long as your team works together.
While you're waiting for a minute or two in the deck of the ship, talk to your other crewmembers about communicating. It might seem like a bit much for a theme park ride, but it is cool to try and get the best score you can. Mind you, the ride is still fun if you go in without any preparation.
Great kid, don’t get cocky
The ride is pretty simple once you get past the excitement spasms caused by being in a makeshift Millennium Falcon. Your crew takes off, jumps to lightspeed to get to the target planet, and then flies into a cargo train in order to steal some precious supplies.
The pilots are up first, as they'll need to jump to lightspeed and then steer the ship around obstacles as it approaches the cargo train. Then they have to communicate as they try to position themselves behind the train. Once they do, the engineers will need to hit their biggest, glowing red button to shoot two cables and latch onto the back of the train. The pilots need to keep the ship steady while the engineers tap their button to pull the stolen cargo from the train in. Gunners are shooting down enemy ships while all this is happening.
This process repeats itself throughout the mission and the final score you get is dependent on how well your crew performs. It's over in a jiffy and afterwards your score (in-game it's dubbed a payment for your services), is calculated based on how much damage the Falcon took.
All in all, Smugglers Run is a lot to take in. It's as if the interactivity of Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters got cranked up to ten for a quick joy ride in the Millennium Falcon. You're tossed into it head first without a lot of information and there isn't a lot of time to figure things out, so you'll want to prepare yourself in whatever way you can.
Smuggler's Run is actually much like Overcooked in how it's approached. You can just relax and enjoy the bumpy ride for what it is without considering your score, or you can lead a coordinated effort and roleplay flying the spiffiest hunk of junk in the galaxy. In the end, fun should be the biggest priority. It's just up to you where that fun comes from.
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