Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge has Star Wars fans feeling like kids in a candy store. And even guests with only a passing acquaintance with Star Wars will be blown away by the immersive elements and sheer detail as they explore Batuu’s Black Spire Outpost. One of the first goals for most guests is, of course, a ride on the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – who can resist riding in the galaxy’s most famous cockpit? Before you embark on your mission, here are a few facts about this ground-breaking attraction at WDW’s Hollywood Studios.
1. Famous Voice
The loveably shady smuggler Hondo Ohnaka plays a key role in Smuggler’s Run, and he’ll help guests along as they fulfill their various roles on the ship. Listen closely: do you recognize the jolly voice of Hondo? You should! His famous voice belongs to none other than Jim Cummings, whom you might know better as the voice of Winnie the Pooh. He has voiced Hondo before, in the animated Star Wars shows, and his unforgettable Russian-Caribbean accent helps make the character.
2. State of the Art Tech
Since we’re on the subject of Hondo, it’s worth mentioning that the technology that brings him to life is state of the art. In fact, Hondo is the second-most advanced animatronic on Disney property, after the stunning Na’vi Shaman (the central figure in Na’vi River Journey at Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – the World of Avatar). The animatronics include a whopping 51 functions that work together to bring Hondo to life. He has a bend in his knee, making it look like he’s walking, plus a speaker that creates directional sound, and 10 different functions in his head. Disney Imagineers certainly pulled out all the stops for this one!
3. Easter Eggs
Star Wars fans, rejoice! There are enough Easter eggs scattered throughout Walt Disney World’s Smuggler’s Run to keep you busy for hours. So pay close attention! We’ll let you discover most of these Easter eggs for yourself, but here are a few to get you started. There’s a miniature Millennium Falcon hidden in the cockpit, Porg nests in the ride queue, and a Hidden Mickey made of bolts on a monitor in one of the ship’s hallways. Don’t miss the famous kissing spot from The Empire Strikes Back, and keep an eye open for a garbage can that reads, in Aurebesh, “Trash to sector 3263827” – which is the exact designation of the famous trash compactor that gave our heroes so much trouble in A New Hope.
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4. Levers and Switches and Buttons (Oh, My)
The Disney reputation for attention to detail is well-deserved, and you can’t miss it when riding Smuggler’s Run. In the cockpit alone there are over 200 different levers, buttons and switches that control the ship. And while many of them light up, unlike other WDW rides, they’re not exclusively for show. You’ll be assigned a role to perform on the ship, and you’ll actually be able to interact with these controls. The job you perform while riding impacts the way your specific flight unfolds, meaning that you can ride multiple times and have a completely different experience. Of course, it’s worth noting that the amount of motion sickness possible on each flight also varies, depending on your crew!
5. Holographic Chess
Even the most casual Star Wars fan will remember the holographic chess game played by Chewy and R2-D2 in the Millennium Falcon. Well, Disney Imagineers have even included this iconic game – known to die-hard fans as “dejarik” – in Walt Disney World’s Smuggler’s Run! Look for the chess board in the hold of the ship, inside the ride queue, and let the selfies commence! You likely won’t have much time here as you wait to hear your boarding color, so make sure you’re looking around and ready for your photo opp when it arrives.
6. You’ll be Graded
Smuggler’s Run is different from most Walt Disney World rides because your performance (and that of your crew) really does determine your experience on the attraction – which is why the role of pilot is simultaneously thrilling and anxiety-provoking! If that’s not stressful enough, you’ll be given a report card after your flight, where you’ll be able to see how successful your mission was. How many containers of coaxium did your crew manage to retrieve? Did you fare well, or do you owe Hondo credits for all of the damage caused to the ship during your run? If you’re not happy with your score, don’t be too disheartened – after all, you can always ride again!