Plus size and accessibility review of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Bright Suns! This article on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is a companion to my YouTube video series on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, so please also check it out. My ride video of Smuggler’s Run provides a detailed look at the ride from the perspective of a plus size person, with information for people who have accessibility, mobility, sensory, and cognitive concerns.
Smuggler’s Run is a fantastic, interactive simulator ride. All of the seats stay in place, but the room moves along with action on a 180 degree screen that wraps around the cabin of the Millenium Falcon. Each of the 6 members in your cabin have a role to play as a pilot, gunner, or engineer and their performance impacts how your story unfolds. Each ride, or mission, can be completely different depending on how well everyone executes their jobs. Smuggler’s Run is the perfect marriage of a simulator ride and a multi-player video game.
Buckle up for a bumpy, exciting jaunt across the galaxy as you and your crew engage in an adventure that puts you in cockpit of the Millenium Falcon and straight into your childhood dreams!
Smuggler’s Run - an overview
There are 2 pilots, 2 gunners and 2 engineers per vehicle. Cast Members will assign positions to each of the 6 people in the crew before boarding. You will have a moment or two before boarding to swap spots if you want to sit in a position different from the one assigned to you. You can only swap positions with the members of your crew. Pilots sit in the front two seats closest to the screen. Gunners sit behind the pilots in the center seats and engineers sit in the back two seats against the back wall of the vehicle behind the gunners.
Every position is great but the engineer position is less bumpy because you are at the back and you have a great view of the entire screen and cabin. Being a pilot is awesome - you really feel like you are flying a spaceship. Gunner is fun too, because you can just hold down the gun button and really soak in the ride because you have the least to do. You have to make up your mind what excites you the most, but I feel like the ride is amazing no matter where you sit.
The pilot on the left moves a lever left and right to steer left and right and has one button to push. The pilot on the right has one lever to push up and down to go up and down and has one button to push. The gunners have a gun to fire that they can just hold down the button for and it will continuously fire and they have one or two torpedos to fire. The Engineers have the most to do with a bank of buttons and some switches to push periodically through the ride but you can just mash down on those really easily. There is a voice in the console next to you that tells you what to do and the button you are supposed to push is lit up and highlighted. It is super easy. If you have reasonable mobility in your arms and hands it should be fun and simple to do.
Who can ride?
You should be in good health, and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by the ride.
Expectant mothers should not ride.
Children Under 7 must be accompanied by someone aged 14 years or older.
There is a minimum height requirement of 30” in order to ride.
Wheelchair users must transfer to the ride seat.
Stroller and ECV parking is just outside the exit of the ride. Strollers are not allowed in the ride, but wheelchairs and ECVs are allowed in.
This ride is as bumpy, maybe a little more so, than Star Tours but does not jerk you around like Dinosaur. The visuals on screen will give you the sensation you are being launched into hyperspace, climbing or diving but the actual movement of the ride vehicle is not that drastic.
If you have neck, back, or hip problems the bumping and jarring motions may be too much for you. I urge you not to ride if you are pregnant.
The Standby Queue
The queue starts outdoors in a shaded but open-sided tunnel with high ceilings, wide pathways, fans and ventilation, and then goes inside where it is fully covered and airconditioned. There are opportunities to view the full scale Millenium Falcon from the windows of the second level of the building while you are within the queue. There are inclines and ramps throughout. ECVs will be able to manage the ramps without issue. If the member of your party pushing your wheelchair does not have the strength to push your wheelchair or keep your wheelchair stationary on a slight to moderate incline, then be sure to mention this to Cast Member outside the ride before entering the queue to see if they can assist. There is a lot going on inside the queue, with noise, talking animatronics, and lights. The queue is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and ECVs.
Single Rider line
There are stairs in the single rider line: 8 steps, then a small landing, then another set of 18 steps. If you have a mobility concern that prevents you from climbing steps, or if you use a wheelchair or ECV, you will not be able to use the single rider line.
There is a chance there may be a policy change with regard to ECVs and wheelchairs in the single rider line - Disney may put a work around into place. If you would like to get into the single rider line and you are using a wheelchair or ECV, speak to a Cast Member before entering the queue and ask for a work around. Even though wheelchairs and ECVs aren’t able to access the single rider line at this time. They may have something in place in time for your visit, so it is worth checking.
The single rider line leads you directly into the Millennium Falcon. If you choose to do single rider, you will miss out on seeing the hanger where the Millenium Falcon is kept, the second story view of the ship from the windows of the standby queue and the pre boarding show with Hondo. If you are a Star Wars fan, I would recommend that you use the standby queue at least once.
Plus Size Riders
This ride is very plus size friendly. At the time of my visit I weighed 327 lbs at 5’4” tall and wore US women’s size 28 or 4x. I have spoken with people from 420 to over 500 lbs wearing US women’s sizes 30 through 36 who have ridden without issue.
I met one man over six feet tall who said he was “way over 500 lbs” who rode without issue. I have had one person claim they could not fit the ride but they would not confirm their weight or size. I feel comfortable saying that you should be able to enjoy this ride up to 500 lbs without issue.
I have encountered a couple of people - who are smaller than me - who claimed the belts were a little snug. I asked if they pulled the belt out all the way before sitting down and they did not. When you approach your seat, grab the belt, pull it all the way out, hang on to the slack, then sit down and buckle the belt.
If you are in the 350 lbs range you will find there is lots and lots of extra room in the belt. If you are around 450 lbs there will be a bit of room. If you are close to 500 lbs the belt will be a close fit. It may help to buckle the belt beneath your belly, over the tops of your thighs and shimmy the belt up under your belly once you are comfortably buckled.
While you are in the common area of the Millennium Falcon, before you enter the cockpit, you will see the chess table where R2-D2 and Chewbacca play chess. This is very accommodating to plus size people. I fit with plenty of space to spare. In this photo I had to scoot to the edge of the seat in order to be able to reach the table and there was over 12” of space behind me. Plus size people will find it easy to slip behind the chess board and get a great photo op, but be mindful: your boarding crew will be called to board moments after you arrive in this room so get your picture fast.
Seats and seatbelts
There are 6 individual seats in each cabin, three on each side of the cockpit, one in front of the other. There is generous legroom between each seat and the one in front.
Each seat has a lapbelt that pulls from the side nearest the wall, and fastens at the side nearest the aisle; therefore, seats on the left of the cabin will have the belt coming from the left and plugging in on the right of the body).
I have tried the belts in 3 different ride cabins and found them all to be consistently between about 7 and 8 feet long. I have heard reports that the pilots or the engineers belts were shorter than others. I personally did not see a consistent difference between belts for each seat. I recommend you pull the belt out all the way, hold the slack, sit down and buckle. The place where you click your belt in is on the outside of the seat and will not be blocked by your hip or bottom; it is easy to find and click into. A couple of people I spoke to who felt the belt was snug did not pull the belt all the way before sitting down. Please be sure to do that if you are a plus size person.
The ONLY seats that have an arm rest are the Engineers seats at the back of the vehicle and they fold up and down. They are kept in the folded up position unless someone wants to fold them down.
I have seen on social media that a wheelchair user with very little arm mobility was allowed to use a chest strap she brought with her that fit around the back of the chair and around her torso, under her bustline.
If you are planning to use a strap to help secure you in the ride due to lower body mobility concerns. Please check in with a Cast Member before you board the ride to ensure you are allowed to use this device. At the time of this article stability/security straps were allowed but that might change with time. Always check first.
In this ride, you do get bounced around, up and down, a lot. It is very bumpy. However, unlike, say, Dinosaur, which bounces you around but also jerks you around, I found Smuggler’s Run very comfortable. I don't have back problems so I loved it.
The Engineer seats in the back have fold down arms, which provide a little more stability and therefore will make your ride experience a little less bumpy. There is no way of eliminating the bumpiness altogether though.
If you use a cane, walker, rollator or other hand held/operated mobility device, once you are seated, a Cast Member will take your device for you and hold it outside the vehicle until the ride is over. They will then bring it back to you so that you will have it when you are ready to stand.
There is one vehicle that has a doorway wide enough to allow a wheelchair access to the cockpit. I did not see a wheelchair go into the cockpit but I think it is possible to reach any of the seats in this vehicle with a standard size wheelchair.
There is a spot after the common area of the Millenium Falcon but before the cockpit where you can transfer from your wheelchair to a manual transfer wheelchair without arms, which will allow you to slide from the transfer device onto a seat. The ride seats do not have arms.
You can take an ECV through the queue, but you cannot take it into the ride vehicle in the cockpit. They are just too large, even for the accessible ride vehicles. There is a manual wheelchair you can transfer into or you can choose to walk the 10 to 20 steps from your ECV to the seat. If you transfer, your ECV will remain just outside the cockpit and you can walk back out to it or you can ask to use the transfer chair to return to your ECV.
The accessible ride vehicle has a wider doorway to allow the transfer wheelchair (and I believe a standard wheelchair) to get through. There is no other difference between the accessible and standard ride vehicles.
Once you get through the ramped area and into the Millennium Falcon, you wait in the common area of the ship. There are flashing and flickering light effects used in this area, simulating sparking electricity and power failures. If this is a concern for you or someone in your party. Please speak to one of the Cast Members, as they are able to arrange for those effects to be paused while you are in that part of the ship.
On the ride itself, the cockpit is dark, with lots of flashing lights from the control panel. Additionally, there is a curved screen about 180o in front and above you in a conical shape, which simulates looking out the window of the Millennium Falcon. “Outside” is a battle, with lights, stars, jumps to Light Speed, explosions, laser fire and other effects that any Star Wars fan is familiar with. For this reason, the ride may be problematic for people with sensory issues to light, including migraines and photosensitive epilepsy.
There are sound effects such as beeping, laser blasts, electrical sizzling, explosions, crunching, and crashing. You will also hear Chewie and Hondo reacting to your actions during your mission. There are speakers throughout the vehicle that emit sounds and there is a speaker in the panel in the wall next to you where Hondo to give you instructions as to which buttons to push.
Exiting the ride
When you exit, if you are not using a mobility device, you will have to go down three flights of stairs, about 15 steps in each. There is an elevator if you are using a mobility device or otherwise cannot go down the stairs.
If, after the ride, you are feeling like you cannot take the stairs down. You should notify a Cast member and they will direct you to the elevator.
Bear in mind that this ride does give you the visual and physical sensation that you are being launched into hyperspace, diving, falling and climbing as well as being a bumpy ride in general. All the vehicle action follows along with what you see on the 180 degree screen wrapped around you. I personally did not find this disorienting at all but I do not normally have motion sickness.
Hearing and Vision concerns
Check in with the Cast Members at the front of the queue, who will be able to help you with listening devices and other equipment. I recommend that you check with Guest Relations at the front of the park and ask whether there is any equipment that you need to pick up there. For general information about how Disney helps guests with vision limitations, please see here.
Also see the Walt Disney World and Disneyland phone numbers, email addresses and websites for guests with visual or hearing impairments. It is always a good idea to contact them ahead of your trip to ask all the questions you have.
After you leave the common area of the Millennium Falcon, before you reach the cockpit, there is an area on your left that contains a large crate where your service animal can wait while you are on the ride. Please speak to a Cast Member, who will be happy to help you.
Walt Disney World Disability Services
Phone: (407) 650-2547
Disney World disability information
Disneyland Disability Services
Phone: (407) 560-2547