Walt Disney passed away on December 15, 1966, 45 years before The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm, Ltd. from George Lucas under the leadership of then-Disney CEO Bob Iger. In fact, Walt never even saw a Star Wars movie, since the original film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope didn’t hit theaters until 1977.
And, yet, ironically, Walt himself was the brains behind one of the fan-favorite rides at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The Star Wars land, which is set on the Outer Rim planet of Batuu, can be found at both Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park and Disneyland Resort’s Disneyland Park.
The Behind the Attraction series, hosted by Dwayne Johnson/The Rock (Jungle Cruise, Moana), on Disney+ takes Disney Parks fans behind the scenes of many popular rides and attractions, including the Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world”, Space Mountain, the Hall of Presidents, and both castles — Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort and Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort.
Speaking specifically about Smugglers Run, which puts Guests in the cockpit of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca’s Corellian freighter — though after Han’s death at the hands of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) — Walt Disney Imagineer Asa Kalama explained, “It was a natural fit for motion simulator technology.”
Meanwhile Galaxy’s Edge Imagineering mastermind Scott Trowbridge added, “We knew we had to put you in control [of the Millennium Falcon].”
The narrator of Behind the Attraction noted, “…it almost seemed too good to be true.” Trowbridge continued, “Wait a minute — there’s only Millennium Falcon, there’s only one cockpit. There’s only, like, six seats in that cockpit. Oh my gosh, the line for this, you know, it’s like you’re going to be able to get, like, a hundred people a day.”
Enter Walt Disney. As the narrator espouses, “The Carousel of Progress was a theater in which the audience itself moves in their seats around the stages.”
Walt Disney Imagineer John Larena explained, “When you cross that threshold into the cockpit of the Falcon, you’re actually walking into the Carousel of Progress…you don’t realize there’s actually five other pie wedges of theaters that are watching different scenes of this same show at the same time you load into it.”
And, that is how Walt Disney literally left the blueprint for a Star Wars ride that wasn’t developed until over five decades after his death. Do you have goosebumps yet?
Get the full story when you watch Behind the Attraction streaming on Disney+ now.
More on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Disney officially describes Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — which lets you go on your own search for coaxium with space pirate Hondo Ohnaka (he’s part-owner of the Falcon after Han’s tragic death) as your guide — as:
Ride in the famous cockpit of the Millennium Falcon on a daring flight—and whether you’re a pilot, engineer or gunner, every role is crucial.
The engines rumble as the Millennium Falcon blasts off, pushing you and your crew back into your seats when you jump into hyperspace towards adventure. Along the way you’ll face danger at every turn.
Will your mission succeed or fail? It’s up to you—find out if you have what it takes to outmaneuver the odds aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Get ready to punch it!
More on Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
Disney officially describes Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as:
Follow an American family over 4 generations of progress and watch technology transform their lives.
During each era, learn how the technological marvels of the day made life more comfortable—and paved the way for unimaginable innovations.
Discover how gas lamps, the hand-cranked washing machine and gramophone made the pre-electric era a breeze.
Watch the advent of electricity give rise to modern conveniences like the electric iron, the radio—and the simple, revolutionary light bulb.
See how the automatic dishwasher and television set transformed the American household.
Today’s high-tech marvels include virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances. Imagine the wonders the next hundred years may bring!
…and, remember, “There’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow!”
Are you astounded by this incredible connection between two popular Disney attractions?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort — EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and Disney Springs or Disneyland Resort — Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park — and the Downtown Disney District!