Disneyland ride operator shares his experience flying the Millennium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks

Credit: Disney

Disney is bringing a galaxy far, far away to life with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And while the new lands at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be a dream come true for the thousands of Disney Parks guests who visit, they will also provide some pretty unforgettable experiences to the Disney Cast Members. Specifically, those who are working in attractions roles may be given an opportunity that few get to experience: piloting the Millennium Falcon.

“If you think about it, it’s only been Han Solo, Chewie, Lando, Rey and now me,” said Mark Diwas, a Disneyland ride operator for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, in an interview with OC Register. “So that’s pretty cool to say right now until we open and then everybody is going to be able to fly.”

Galaxys Edge opening
Credit: Disney

When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disneyland this May, guests will be able to board Han Solo’s famous ship in the highly immersive, state-of-the-art Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction. The attraction is Disney’s version of a flight simulator but like nothing we’ve experienced yet at the Disney Parks. Combine the fun of Star Tours with the breathtaking technology of Flight of Passage, add some epic effects and the chance to fly something fans only dream about, and that won’t even come close to what this attraction will actually be like. Given the excitement surrounding the impending opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the reputation of perhaps the most highly-anticipated attraction coming to Disneyland, Diwas can hardly contain his excitement about his ride experience.

“This has been a dream of many Star Wars fans for over 40 years now,” said Diwas. “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.”

A look inside the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction. Credit: Disney

For the past year, Diwas has been working in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to prepare for the grand opening on May 31. Now, he’s a part of the test-and-adjust team Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, an attraction which he will be a ride operator for. Diwas is one of 1,400 Disney employees assigned to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and he and the others are working to create memorable experiences for each of the guests visiting Batuu, where Galaxy’s Edge is set. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, for example, has been undergoing testing for months as Walt Disney Imagineering fine tunes every part of the attraction.

With everything Disney says this attraction has to offer, we’re not surprised by the amount of testing going on. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a motion-simulator attraction completely controlled by guests, who are prompted to push a number of buttons and controls that will determine what they experience on the ride. Its effects are rendered in real-time using Unreal Engine, commonly used in video games and mixed-reality experiences. “The multi-projection system, and the actual amount of screen space that we had to fill, and the quality that we had to fill, is what sets it apart from what you’d be doing [in video games],” said Jacqueline King, producer of Walt Disney Imagineering, earlier this year.

Galaxy's Edge crowds
Bob Chapek inside Millennium Falcon attraction. Credit: New York Times/Brooks Barnes

“We’re trying to make sure we get this right for the ‘Star Wars’ fans who are going to be coming,” Diwas said to OC Register. “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.”

We were already excited to have our chance to follow in Han Solo’s footsteps and pilot the Millennium Falcon once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge makes its theme park debut. And with everything Diwas has to say of his experience, it sounds like this attraction will be just as epic as we’ve anticipated.

Want to know more about the attractions coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Check out our post where we share everything we know, and watch Disney’s trailer for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run below.

What are you most excited to experience when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens this May? Let us know in the comments!

Source: OC Register

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