Flying the Falcon isn’t easy. I learned this the hard way. The first time I took the controls of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, I crashed it into spires, into walls, and into an asteroid. Sure, I had fun doing all of these things, but I didn’t quite feel like an ace pilot as Hondo listed off the many systems of the Falcon that had gone offline.

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is an amazing motion simulator attraction that blends ride and video game on a level never achieved before. Because of the video game part, Smugglers Run actually has a bit of a learning-curve. There are three roles, each providing a very different ride experience. Even though the cast members give a brief explanation of each role, your first ride in the Falcon can be a little overwhelming. 

More than any other attraction, it really pays to know a few key tips and strategies before your first ride. After joining the crew on a dozen missions, I’m here with some valuable recon about how to be a pilot, gunner, and engineer on Hondo’s mission to Corellia. These Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run tips will help you perform your role, earn more credits, impress the rest of your crew, and enjoy the attraction even more. Note: This complete guide for Smugglers Run applies to the attraction at Disneyland and at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World (open August 29).

In-Line Tips

Hondo - Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Queue - Star Wars Galaxy's Edge- Disneyland- Guide2WDW

Use the Play Disney Parks App In Line: Before going to Galaxy’s Edge, download the Play Disney Parks app. It’s a few hundred megabytes, so download it at home. Once in the park, open the Star Wars Datapad game. This unlocks a ton of activities and missions throughout the land, and it will add any credits you earn on your smuggling run to your account automatically through Bluetooth. Also, there is a specific mission that you can only accomplish while in line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Accept the “Flight Crews Wanted” mission. This multi-step mission will give you certain tasks, like scanning crates that are sitting right by the line and asking you questions about certain things you can see. This is a good way to earn credits and keep yourself occupied while in line.

Credits - Disney App- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

Request Your Role (Most Likely Pilot): If you are in the standby line, you may be able to request your role as they are giving out boarding credentials. Emphasis on may, as this wasn’t consistent. I was able to do this on a couple of occasions, although it might depend on what Cast Member is handing out credentials and how busy the ride is. If you have your heart set on trying a role you haven’t tried before, just politely ask the cast member, and don’t worry if they won’t let you wait extra time for pilot. All the roles are fun.

Single Rider Line: Single Rider is a great way to reduce your wait time. I found the Single Rider Line to be a walk-on when the standby line was around 30-45 minutes, so this is a great option for repeat rides. You will most likely get assigned engineer, but I’ve also gotten pilot and gunner before while riding single rider. The downside of single rider is that the queue is basically a boring hallway and staircase. You will hear audio of Hondo, but you miss out on all of the preshow.

Tips for Millennium Falcon Pilots

Hondo Falcon Control Panel- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

Pilot is the most involved role. The ride is “on-rails,” meaning that nothing you can do will prevent the Falcon from going to its destination and back. However, it’s your job to steer the ship clear of any obstacles and hit certain buttons at key moments. 

Steering Tips: The Falcon steers a bit like a boat, and I found the best way to fly it is to utilize somewhat gentle steering most of the time. Subtle movements made for a steadier ride. There will be quick obstacles that call for assertive pulling, but most of the time using a steadier hand helped keep the Falcon safe.

Left Pilot Tips: You control left and right. This is probably a more demanding task than right pilot, so it’s best to put the more skilled pilot in the lefthand seat. The ride takes you through wide canyons and tunnels, so generally just try to keep the Falcon towards the center of the action to avoid most obstacles. At the very beginning of the ride, there’s a spire on the left that you need to avoid. 

There are also a few key button presses you need to perform during the ride. These can go by really quickly if you aren’t paying attention. One of the big buttons will flash at the top of your console will flash, and Hondo will give you an audio cue.

Left Pilot Brakes - Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide

  • Hit the flashing button for the boosters as you are about to fly out of Black Spire Outpost and exit Batuu.
  • “LEFT PILOT, BRAKES” As you near the end of the first tunnel after your crew has harpooned the train of coaxium, get ready. Hondo will yell about hitting the brakes as you. Hit the flashing button to avoid careening into the train. This has the smallest window, maybe 2 or 3 seconds.
  • Hit the flashing button for the boosters as you are flying under the crashing Star Destroyer.

Right Pilot Tips: The right pilot controls the ship vertically, moving up and down. However, these controls are inverted, so pulling the flight stick down towards you makes the Falcon fly up, and vice-versa. If you’ve ever played a flight simulator game, you’ll have no trouble, but this can take a little getting used to for new pilots. Right pilot presses the button to take off, so just be ready to press the flashing button after you’ve taken your seat and buckled up.

Getting out of Batuu can be one of the trickiest sections for the right pilot. There is a large spaceship right after you take off. Every ride I’ve taken has crashed into this ship. Push the stick forward to fly under it, and then pull back on the stick to fly above all the rocks in Black Spire Outpost for the easiest path. It’s possible to fly under the rocks if you want more of a challenge.

Right pilot gets to “punch it” to lightspeed, which is something every Star Wars fan should experience. You do this twice during the ride, as you are exiting Batuu and as you are exiting Corellia. It’s pretty obvious when to do it, as Hondo will tell you when and the rightmost lever will light up green.

Tips for Both Pilots: Right after you capture the first container of coaxium, you’ll be chasing a second train for another container. Capturing this container can be tricky. You will want to fly directly behind the train. There are glowing white rings in the tunnel for this second train chase: just fly between these rings.

Also, it helps your gunners out if you position yourself behind TIE fighters so they can easily shoot them down.

Score - Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

Tips for Millennium Falcon Gunners

Pew Pew - Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

The first thing you should note is that there are two modes for gunners: Automatic and Manual. The default mode is automatic, where the ship does the aiming for you. You just need to press the button to fire. This mode is easier and a great option for kids. However, it will earn you less credits.

In manual mode, you have three buttons. Press the top button to shoot high, the middle button to shoot in the middle of the screen, and the bottom button to shoot low. While these buttons are to your side, it’s easy to just lay your middle three fingers on the buttons while you ride so you never have to look away from the screen. 

Manual Control- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

You can select which mode you want on the screen directly next to your seat. Once the Falcon has taken off, your gunning buttons will light up in Batuu. There are some red explosive barrels you can fire at in the rocks in the Batuu section, but I don’t think this affects your score. It’s almost like the target practice section of Toy Story Mania. 

You can press your gunning button once to shoot once, or just hold down your button for a continuous stream of laser fire. You will not run out of ammo. However, if you want a high score, be strategic with when you press your buttons. Your score is based on your accuracy, so just constantly firing will lower your score. Your main goal is to shoot down TIE fighters, so try to only shoot when you see a TIE on screen or when otherwise instructed. 

The other times you should shoot are after the train cars have been harpooned. You will be instructed to shoot the cars free. This is a good time to just hold down your firing button, as the train is an easy target.

The final thing you should note is that you have a missile button that you will need to press toward the end of the ride, right after the gunship arrives and Hondo says “Ah yes, a distraction.” There will be a large orange button just in front of your firing buttons. Just be prepared to press that at the right time. 

Side Control Panel for Engineers and Gunners - Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide

Tips for Millennium Falcon Engineers

Your role as engineer is to fix anything that breaks in the Falcon. While this role has been unfairly derided as the worst position, engineer can be a ton of fun, and there are some cool effects that only the engineer experiences. Basically, your job is to press any flashing buttons or levers. You’ll get your first taste of this in the docking bay, as Hondo tells you to turn on the ship. After that, your button presses will be in response to the Falcon taking damage.

Glowing Button- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride Guide- Guide2WDW

Usually, you’ll have 2-5 buttons to press or levers to switch. However, all of the buttons are on the wall, 90 degrees to your left or right. Don’t just stare at these buttons the whole ride. You can watch the action without paying attention to your buttons for most of the ride, because it will be really obvious once something needs your attention. You will hear a loud sound effect, feel a gust of wind, and see blinking lights in your periphery. At that point, try to press all the buttons as quickly as you can. For what I can tell, you are judged on speed more than accuracy, so I don’t think it hurts just to “bear paw” at the panel of lights.

Your other job as engineer is to fire the harpoons on the train. This happens twice during the ride as your ship approaches the train. A large orange button will light up when you can do this. During the first time, just press the button as soon as it lights up. 

During the second train chase, hit the button as soon as you are lined up behind the Falcon, and then press the button as fast as you can to reel in the traincar. It took me a few rides to realize that you needed to do this. You’ll see orange pulses of energy on the harpoon line as you press the button. You will earn extra credits for reeling.

How do you unlock the Asteroid Scene?

After you jump to lightspeed for the second time, there is an optional sequence where your hyperdrive fails and you find yourself in the midst of an asteroid field outside of Batuu’s atmosphere. This scene is really cool, but sometimes the ride skips past it. I’ve read several accounts that you can unlock this scene based on your team’s performance, but my personal experience has been mixed. I’ve had good runs where the asteroid scene is skipped and good runs where we are right in the middle of the asteroid field. I’ve also had bad runs where the same is true. From the best that I can tell, the asteroid scene is a way for the ride to vamp and add a short sequence in case you need some extra time to “catch up” to the simulator in front of you. My best guess is that if you perform a lot of the actions really quickly (i.e. get the train car detached, punch it to light speed, hit the boosters), you might have those extra 15-30 seconds available for the asteroid scene. But as far as I can tell, there’s no way to ensure that this happens.

The Most Important Tip

Have fun! Flying the Millennium Falcon can be a chaotic adventure, as it should be. There will be times where your pilot crashes into a wall or your engineer doesn’t repair something in time. Take this all in good fun.  I’ve been lucky to fly with many crews who took the whole thing in the right spirit, excitedly whooping when we jump to lightspeed or saying “look out!” as an asteroid hurdles toward the ship. While it’s satisfying to earn more credits, don’t yell at your other crew members if they aren’t “doing their job.” (Maybe send them this article instead). I’ve heard several other guests saying that they went on the ride and one person was barking orders at the rest of the crew and getting upset when they weren’t maximizing their score. It’s not a real spaceship, and these aren’t real credits. It’s a game that can be just as much fun when you do poorly as when you fly smoothly. If you see someone completely confused, politely tell them what they should do. Just have fun and have a good attitude, and your flight crew will appreciate having you on board.

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Ride - Tips and Complete Guide


James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Rise of the Resistance, Spaceship Earth, and Tower of Terror.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Atlanta, GA.

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