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Disneyland Article
Disney Reveals How Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run Works

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
Orange County Register
Brady Macdonald
December 13, 2019
December 18, 2019
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Walt Disney Imagineering revealed the magic behind the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge during a new Disney+ show that was offered unprecedented behind-the-scenes access inside the new Disneyland attraction.

The sixth episode of “The Imagineering Story” docuseries on Disney+ debuting Friday, Dec. 13 shows the three-dimensional Swiss watch mechanism that allows Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride operators to get up to 1,800 riders per hour on the attraction.

Smugglers Run contains four separate turntables each with seven individual Millennium Falcon cockpits, according to the Disney+ docuseries. Up until now, Imagineering had worked tirelessly to keep those operational secrets hidden from visitors.

The Disney+ docuseries showed footage inside the darkened attraction building of the cockpits spinning on turntables like bullets in the chamber of a revolver handgun.

The Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge puts riders in the cockpit of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy on a smuggling mission for a notorious space pirate. Six riders climb into the cockpit of the Falcon, serving as co-pilots, gunners and flight engineers during a battle with First Order TIE fighters. The cockpit’s 200 fully-functional buttons, knobs and switches directly impact each mission.

Imagineering partnered with game engine software developers to create an interactive video game-like experience aboard the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction.

“We knew we needed this to be near cinematic quality imagery rendered at a high frame rate in real time,” Imagineering portfolio creative executive Scott Trowbridge says in the Disney+ docuseries.

The only problem: The technology did not exist yet.

“We started marching down that path with the expectation that by the time we were getting ready to open it would all work,” Trowbridge says in the documentary.

Adding to the challenge: Disney had never built a ride quite like Smugglers Run before.

“That’s what life is like when you’re working on the cutting edge of technology,” Trowbridge says in the docuseries. “You’re treading in territory that no one’s been in before. Yet we’re counting on this all working flawlessly and seamlessly on opening day.”

Connecting the various pieces of technology needed for Smugglers Run created bugs that needed to be fixed and impediments that needed to be removed.

“That can keep you up at night,” Trowbridge says during the filming of the documentary. “I can tell you we’ve solved those problems. Almost.”

Attractions Referenced

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run

Lands Referenced

Star Wars Galaxys Edge

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