Batuu 101: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 14 parsecs. “12!”, shouts a voice from a distance. Sorry, Han! Of course, we’re talking about the Millennium Falcon. The crown jewel of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the life-sized recreation of what is hands-down the most recognizable ship in the Star Wars universe. And now, thanks to the magic of Disney Imagineering, you get to fly it!

If you do nothing else inside Galaxy’s Edge, it is worth the trip just to get your photo taken in front of the Falcon and be amazed at seeing an American pop culture icon brought to life with film-accurate detail. If there’s one thing that sets Galaxy’s Edge apart from the Wizarding World at Universal Studios, it’s the presence of the Falcon.

The Location

The Millennium Falcon is located at the heart of Black Spire Outpost at the Spaceport. All of the paths of entry into Batuu lead here, and for good reason. It’s what everyone wants to see. Not surprisingly, the Falcon isn’t immediately visible from either of the pathways the lead to it. You have to approach the Spaceport, with the ship tucked in just enough that it forces you to come closer.

The Atmosphere

The aura surrounding the Millennium Falcon is a mix of excitement and nostalgia. Seeing the ship of legend before your eyes is truly awe-inspiring. Depending on the day and time you visit, you’ll find the Spaceport either packed to the brim with travelers, or plenty of room to explore all of the nooks and crannies of the ship’s underbelly. Everyone who visits tends to congregate there, so on busier days it can be hard to walk around or to get that perfect photo without tons of people in the background. 

Your best bet to get that great shot is to use the PhotoPass photographers on the overlook across from Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. After night falls, more PhotoPass photographers appear in the Spaceport itself, allowing for great nighttime shots with your Savi’s Workshop lightsaber.

Once you enter the line for the attraction, the experience shifts a bit. Here you get to see the inner workings of Ohnaka Transport Solutions, the “shipping company” that is borrowing the Falcon from Chewbacca for a few supply runs. You’ll get to see their engine repair room where you can overhear several conversations between Hondo’s crew members, as well as get an overhead view of the ship to see just how much detail was put into building the Star Wars icon.

The Ride

The ride itself is a mix of two classic Disney attractions while being an upgrade on both. It combines the simulator style action of Star Tours with the interactivity of Mission: Space. It tells a much more cohesive story compared to Star Tours, one that fits perfectly inside the new Star Wars canon, while also giving you far more to do than just push two buttons at a specific time while trying to not throw up. Thankfully, Smuggler’s Run does not feature the spinning element that makes Mission: Space feel real. No worrying about losing your lunch on this ride!

Prior to boarding the Falcon, you’re treated to a mission briefing from Hondo himself using what has to be the most lifelike audio-animatronic character I’ve ever seen. The Auctioneer at Pirates of the Caribbean has a history of being Disney’s most advanced robot character, but Hondo has taken things to an entirely different level.

Next, you and your party are assigned a color and roles. Each mission has two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers, for a total of six crew members. Parties larger than six will be split up as the cockpit only holds a maximum of six people. Once you have your role, it’s time to recreate one of the best scenes from The Force Awakens and board the Millennium Falcon.

Before you jump in the cockpit, you’re given a few minutes to explore the common area of the Falcon. The dejarik table (holographic chess) and white couch are a popular photo destination. On busy days, a line can build up, which can get a little frustrating because you want that photo, but you also don’t want to hold up the line. While exploring, you will also notice porg nests scattered around the ship, as well as a few other easter eggs relating to the films. Once your crew is called by their color (matching the cards you are given along with your role), it’s time to head to the cockpit.

You’ll be led to the cockpit by a blue-vested member of Hondo’s crew, as there are several ways to get there. You don’t want to get lost and miss your flight! Before you enter, Hondo will give you one last briefing about your specific roles via holovid from his neighboring ship. It is here that you realize just how good the audio-animatronic is because the holovid is performed by a live actor and there’s hardly any difference. Having the same voice, legendary voice actor Jim Cummings, certainly helps sell it, but seeing Hondo make the transition from Clone Wars and Rebels animated character to live-action is really incredible.

Once you board, you’ll get in your seat and strap in. The mission begins as each crew member powers up their part of the ship and selects whether or not their actions should be on auto or manual. For the gunners especially, I recommend auto as you have to aim manually when firing and it’s very difficult to keep an eye on the cockpit window while also watching your buttons. Having experienced all three positions, being the pilot is definitely the most fun, but it’s not the most vital position in terms of the crew’s overall success. We’ll be discussing that in a future article.

During the ride, you are tracked on how well you perform in your role, and what you accomplish on the mission. Each crew member receives an individual score as well as an overall team score. These scores are tracked inside the Disney Play app, and provide you with achievements and titles within the Datapad game depending on your score. While there’s no real-world connection to the credits and achievements you earn yet (at least in Galaxy’s Edge), there are achievement pins you can purchase for other attractions, including Star Tours. Don’t be surprised if special edition merchandise tied to your Smuggler’s Run rank eventually comes to Batuu.

The Story

I’m guessing you don’t need the story of the Millennium Falcon itself, but let’s provide some context to where we’re at with the ride. Galaxy’s Edge exists in the time between Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Han Solo is…gone. Rey and Chewbacca have come to Batuu to repair the Falcon.

Your goal on the mission for Hondo is to “obtain” (read: steal) coaxium from the First Order so that it can be sold and the profits used to help the Resistance. Or the Resistance is keeping the coaxium. It’s not super clear in the moment, but either way you’re definitely helping the Resistance. You’re working for Hondo, but the Falcon is on load from Chewbacca specifically for this mission. Hondo flies in his own ship alongside your crew, directing you and collecting the coaxium along the way.

What is coaxium? In short, hyperdrive fuel. It is explained in more detail in Solo: A Star Wars Story, as coaxium is the very thing Han and Beckett’s crew is trying to steal – first from the Empire, and later from the mines of Kessel. Coaxium, especially in its raw form, is incredibly valuable, which is why Hondo wants it. While he’s gone legit, he’s always scheming.

We’ll be covering the long history of Hondo Ohnaka, who has been around for the entire Skywalker Saga, in a future article.

Adam Soucie
Adam has been a Star Wars fan for as long as he can remember, dating back to watching the original trilogy on VHS and collecting his first action figures with the Power of the Force launch in 1995. His favorite character is Kanan Jarrus, and his favorite piece of Star Wars is the Rebels animated series.