Forgot Your Password Or Login?

Having trouble logging in?
Try clearing your cookie:

Disneyland Article
I Flew The Millennium Falcon Ride Operator Describes Experience On Star Wars Galaxys Edge Attraction

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
ID:
TMS-4314
Source:
Orange County Register
Author:
Brady Macdonald
Dateline:
April 18, 2019
Posted:
April 26, 2019
Status:
Current
Increase Font Size
Disneyland ride operator Mark Diwas is one of the few people -both real and fictional - who can say they've flown the Millennium Falcon, the iconic starship from the "Star Wars" films that will be a marquee attraction in the Anaheim theme park's new Galaxy's Edge themed land.

"If you think about it, it's only been Han Solo, Chewie, Lando, Rey and now me," said Diwas, 36, of Fullerton. "So that's pretty cool to say right now until we open and then everybody is going to be able to fly."

The Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator coming to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will put riders in the cockpit of the fastest ship in the galaxy as they battle Imperial TIE fighters during a mission to bring back a pile of loot for a vengeful space pirate. The new themed land will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the remote planet of Batuu, located on the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy.

Diwas never gets tired of talking about his intergalactic flight status aboard the biggest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

"I can say I am one of the few who has flown the Millennium Falcon," Diwas said. "That's something I love telling people."

Diwas grew up watching the "Star Wars" films with his older siblings but wouldn't call himself the ultimate Star Wars fan. He understands the passion and excitement Star Wars fans have for Galaxy's Edge and the Smugglers Run attraction.

"We're trying to make sure we get this right for the Star Wars fans who are going to be coming," Diwas said. "We know how dedicated and how much they love the story. So we are doing our best to make sure when they come into Batuu for the first time it's going to be something that they're going to love. It's a very big challenge."

Diwas will be one of 1,400 Disneyland employees assigned to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge when the new 14-acre themed land opens on May 31. Diwas will be a ride operator on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, one of the most-anticipated new attractions in theme park history.

Diwas has been working in Galaxy's Edge for a year in preparation for the grand opening. He is part of the Smugglers Run test-and-adjust team working with Walt Disney Imagineering. As the creative arm of the company, WDI dreams up and builds new attractions for Disney parks around the world.

"My role right now is to work with WDI," Diwas said. "WDI will design and program the attraction and I will work alongside them to make sure that what they want the ride to do actually works."

Every Disney attraction goes through hundreds and thousands of ride cycles before opening to the public. Disneyland has been testing Smugglers Run for months. Imagineering is using the Smugglers Run test-and-adjust period to fine tune every part of the attraction.

"If things don't work, they'll make some more changes and we will try to run the attraction again," Diwas said.

During the test-and-adjust period, Diwas is also responsible for maintaining safety around the Smugglers Run attraction. His job includes clearing out construction workers and Disneyland facilities teams working in and around attraction so that the ride can be safely tested.

"I'll take a walk around the attraction and see who's working where," Diwas said.

Working on Smugglers Run during the test-and-adjust phase has been "absolutely very exciting," Diwas said.

"It feels very real with all the show lighting on and all the sound effects and background music," Diwas said. "This has been a dream of many Star Wars fans for over 40 years now. People have been wanting to fly the Millennium Falcon for that long. People are going to be so amazed and in love with what they are going to be able to do."

Diwas can't wait for visitors to step aboard the Millennium Falcon and climb into the cockpit for the first time.

"I'm definitely going to be there standing inside watching the first guests come in and just see what that reaction is going to be like," Diwas said. "I want to spend most of my day just standing in the ship watching people enter. It's going to be amazing."

The cockpit's 200 buttons, knobs and switches will be fully functional and their implementation will directly impact each mission.

Each member of the six-person crew will be assigned a task. Pilots sitting in the front will navigate the ship through an intergalactic battle. Gunners in the center of the cockpit will fend off TIE fighter attacks. Engineers stationed in the rear must maintain the flight systems and repair any damage to the ship.

The biggest thrill of the journey: The pilots will get to make the jump to hyperspace by pulling back on the Falcon's throttle lever.

"Wait until you do it for real," Diwas said with a smile.

Disneyland employees working in Galaxy's Edge will wear costumes representing the good guy Resistance, bad guy First Order or Black Spire Outpost villagers. Employees will be able to select from 80 combinations of mix-and-match costumes for the villagers' wardrobe. Employees working on the Millennium Falcon attraction will wear villagers costumes paired with a bright blue vest and hat.

"Everybody is very excited that we can choose whatever we want, at least for the village," Diwas said. "That's really cool to be able to do."

Galaxy's Edge employees will also build a persona and backstory for themselves depending on whether they are dressed as a First Order officer, Resistance soldier or a villager with an opinion about the opposing factions in Black Spire Outpost. Diwas hasn't had time yet to develop a persona for his role as a villager working in Ohnaka Transport Solutions, the shady intergalactic shipping company where the Smugglers Run attraction is set.

"I'm still learning what our story is at the attraction," Diwas said. "I've been given little pieces about what our story is."

Smugglers Run will be the fourth attraction Diwas has helped open at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. His previous attraction openings included Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Luigi's Flying Tires and the reimagined Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters.
 
Attractions Referenced

Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

 
Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

 
Top Of Page
Solution  Graphics Western Union Money Gram



MickeyMousePark.com   Contact Us   Privacy   Payment Options   Disclaimer   Email Policy   Site Map   Clear Cookie  

Copyright: (c) 1997-2020 by ThrillMountain Software

MickeyMousePark.com is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company,
its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at disney.com
Troubleshooting Info:

BrowserBrand: IE
LocalHost: NO
BrowserOS: 
BrowserServer: mickeymousepark.com
BrowserAgent:CCBot/2.0 (https://commoncrawl.org/faq/)
BrowserURL:Page=5&Ident=4314
BrowserCurrentPage: /disneyland-article.aspx
Login: 0
FilterBy: 0
SortBy: 0