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Once a year, Mom and I take a girl's trip. Sometimes we go to Disney World, sometimes we go to Disneyland. This year, it was Disneyland, and with the opening of Galaxy's Edge, we were able to ride the new Disneyland Smuggler’s Run ride. This post is dedicated to that ride. From getting on to flying the Millennium Falcon, we'll tell you what we thought of it all. (read more)
DISNEYLAND SMUGGLERS RUN REVIEW
I feel like I should preface this whole post by saying that I am not a huge Star Wars fan. I have seen *most* of the movies, but I don't have strong feelings about it. Basically, flying the Millennium Falcon has never been on my bucket list.
Okay, that's out of the way! Let's get started. First thing first, let's talk about getting to Galaxy's Edge.
Anytime Mom and I head to the Disney parks, we always travel with a Touring Plan. I hate waiting in line, I will do just about anything within my power to avoid crazy lines, and since there are no park tours like there are at Disney World, that means I need to go in with a plan. Also, there is NO (currently) Disneyland Smugglers Run Fast Pass, so waiting in line is the name of the game.
Take five minutes, go plan out a Touring Plan based on the park you'll be in and the rides you want ride. You can even factor in breaks, meals, (naps), etc. The Touring Plan will spit out a schedule tailored perfectly for your party, right down to how fast (or slow) you want to walk, and whether you'd like to walk less, wait in line less, or balance between the two.
Trust me, Touring Plans will change your Disney life.
DISNEYLAND SMUGGLERS RUN WAIT TIME
When Mom and I went, the Touring Plan suggested we hit Galaxy's Edge first thing in the morning, so that's what we did. We rope dropped Disneyland, then followed the crowds to Galaxy's Edge.
Even though there were a TON of people in front of us, the wait time was short, no more than 10 minutes. A Cast Member actually told us that the only reason it was even that long was because people liked to stop and take pictures along the way.
No big deal, I know what it's like to want to take pictures.
So we walked through the queue, gawped at how well done everything was, but didn't get a chance to play any games on the app because we were moving too fast.
We were eventually stopped at a pre-ride attraction (you know what I mean if you've ridden Pandora/Rockin Roller Coaster, etc) where a guy, the lead Smuggler, I guess, explained what we'd be doing.
We'd be smuggling. Imagine that.
That lasted a few minutes and then we were lead to the entrance of the main loading room. On the way in, Mom and I were handed PILOT cards for the ride and were then ushered into a sort of waiting room where a few groups were waiting to go. Again, no big deal, there was even a table in the room, so Mom took a seat.
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Our PILOT cards were red, so we waited until the red group was called. If you've ever ridden "Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon" over at Universal Orlando, it's sort of the same idea.
The Pilots board first, and you hand your card to the Cast Member as you enter.
Our "squad" was made up of Mom and I, then a man my age and his two very young sons. They could not have been more than 4 and 3 years old. The Dad was given a Gunner card, as was one of the kids. The other child was given an Engineer card.
Since the Dad was traveling alone with his kids, the Cast Member had him sit in the back (in the Engineer's seat) with the oldest child in front of him (there was an empty seat next to that child) and the Dad and the youngest boy in the back.
So, our group had two Pilots, one Gunner, and two Engineers.
None of us knew what we were doing. That part is important.
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DISNEYLAND SMUGGLERS RUN HEIGHT REQUIREMENT & STROLLER PARKING
Since I did mention the two small children with us, I feel like I ought to go ahead and mention the height requirement.
Everyone who wants to ride must be at least 38" tall. I know that the youngest child was barely that tall, and he was measured a few times before we got into our ship.
The height requirement is there simply because the ship can and will move around a lot, and it could be quite jerky, depending on your Pilots. Each seat does have seatbelts (just like Star Tours), so Disney just needs to make sure everyone in the seat is big enough to stay in the seat and not slip out.
If you are traveling with small children that require a stroller, there is stroller parking to the left of Smuggler's Run. Just head toward the entrance of the ride then veer left. If you do have a stroller, get a Pomchie so you can easily identify it during the day in the sea of strollers. If you're there at night, grab this small, battery powered LED pack. You'll always know where your stroller is while everyone else wastes time trying to find theirs.
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WE'RE TERRIBLE SMUGGLERS
I really don't remember much from the actual ride, and I'll tell you why: I was completely stressed out.
I have never been so stressed out on a ride, ever.
Basically, the ship takes off and it's up to the Pilots to steer it. The Pilot on the left steers side to side, and the Pilot on the right steers up, down, and also controls Hyper Speed with a lever on their left hand side.
So I'm steering up and down, Mom is steering left and right, and the screen is yelling at us to do things. "Avoid the comet! Avoid the ship! Hit Hyper Speed! Press the blue button!"
As it's yelling at us, we're being shot at, things are being flung in our path, buttons are lighting up all over the place, and I'm in my own personal hell.
The ship was nearly impossible to steer. No matter how hard or softly I pulled the lever, the ship didn't respond well. It was to the point that Mom and I actually surmised that there might be only certain points in the ride where you can actually steer.
We hit everything, I mean EVERYTHING! A minute into the ride and I was frustrated beyond all belief, swearing that I'd never ride it again.
We died (finally) by hitting an astroid we were supposed to avoid, and the main Smuggler told us we'd managed to smuggle two boxes or something.
It was bad.
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Once the ride was over we all walked off and were greeted by a Cast Member who said, helpfully, "Next time, don't hit the astroid." She then ushered us toward an elevator that took us downstairs so we could leave the ride. This part was a little confusing because she didn't hit the button to call the elevator, nor did she stay with us at the elevator, so we were all sort of standing there waiting, unsure if we should be pushing buttons.
If you have the same experience, go ahead and push the button. You need to call the elevator to get off the ride. From there you could walk around and check out Galaxy's Edge or head off to another part of the park.
We took the time to get loads of pictures from the Cast Members standing out near the Millennium Falcon. It was a great set up, Cast Members kind of circled the ship and you just went from one picture spot to another. Our pictures will all scroll through down there, if you give it a sec.
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DISNEYLAND SMUGGLERS RUN TIPS
I want to ride a ride and enjoy what's going on. I want to be able to look around my surroundings and take in the action.
I do NOT want to have to participate in the actual ride, and I worried that my ineptitude actually made the ride shorter. I know for sure we didn't get to see as much as people who were better Pilots, simply because we were too busy hitting things and taking damage.
We actually took a tour on another day (Walk In Walts Disneyland Footsteps) and I spoke to the Cast Member leading the tour about this specific concern. She confirmed what I'd already been thinking.
Here's the thing, Disneyland isn't like Disney World. There are a lot of people there who are passholders and live quite close. They ride Smuggler's Run and try to get credits so they can do other things in their app.
If they rode with someone like me, I have ZERO doubt they'd be upset.
When I told the Cast Member this, she actually confirmed that she had witnessed incidents on Smuggler's Run where riders started yelling at other riders for not doing a good enough job.
Imagine being on that ride while someone from the back yells, "Steer the ship! OMG steer the ship!" or "Shoot them! You have to shoot them!"
The problem is that it's not just a ride anymore, it's a video game. You can win, and you can lose, and no one likes to lose.
So for me, while I am glad to have ridden it once. I would not ride it again unless I went with someone who hadn't been on it. I'm going with a girlfriend to Disney World in January, and we'll no doubt ride it there, but when Mom and I go back to Disneyland next year, I'm fairly certain it will not be on the Touring Plan, and if it is, I'll be handing my Pilot card to someone else and asking to take the Engineer seat.
The telling thing is that we passed that ride at least a dozen times on our trip, and each time we'd look at one another and go, "Do you want to ride it again?". Each time, the answer was no. It didn't matter how short the line was.
Maybe, just maybe, now that I've ridden it once, I'll enjoy it more next time. If I do, I'll update the post.
That's all I've got for you! If you've ridden Smuggler's Run, I'd love to know your thoughts. Be sure to check out our Disney packing list on Amazon, just click the button below and you'll pull it up.
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