Hondo’s Staff Joined us on a Smuggler’s Run

My 5 year old daughter LOVES Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. It’s her favorite ride at Disneyland. Her favorite part of a day at the park is when it hits 10:00 or 11:00 at night, because the line drops off, so we can ride over and over without too much of a wait. There have been several nights that we rode 10 times in a row.

On a recent trip to the park, it hit the end of the day, and we’d gotten to go quite a few times. She had been pilot, co-pilot, and gunner. But she had not been engineer. And, she was determined to be part of a full crew. The problem was that we were the last ones in line, and the park was about to close. So we sat in the room where crews are assigned, and we waited.

A child looks at the Millennium Falcon from the queue of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
My daughter looking at the Millennium Falcon

Looking for a Crew

We waited. She was so sweet and excited. A gentle smile, thrilled beyond belief to be doing her favorite thing. But no one was coming. The Cast Member called down to the front and asked if anyone was coming, but the area was empty. She reassured us that they’d find us a crew.

And then the park closed. The cast walked the queue, and it was clear that we were the only ones. My daughter started to look a bit disappointed as she heard us talking about how no one was coming. She asked if we’d get to ride with anyone, and I told her it looked like it would just be us. We started talking about if we could have the ship on autopilot so we could be engineers. Then, the Cast Member decided to make one more call to the ride supervisor.

“Hi, I’ve got a kid here who’s looking to work for Hondo. But she needs a crew… Yep, we walked the queue… No, there’s no one else here… So, we wanted to see if we could help and take her on this mission?” I’ve never seen any cast members ride an attraction with guests, so I wasn’t too hopeful that they would get permission. But then I heard the Cast Member say “Awesome! I’m hanging up before you change your mind!” And just like that, my daughters night was made.

Making the Run

A picture showing the lit up buttons of the Millennium Falcon Control Panel on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
The co-pilots control panel on the Millennium Falcon.

The cast in the Falcon’s lobby were surprised to see us. They had waited so long with no one coming, they were ready to shut the ride down. After telling the loaders what was going on, there was a very excited discussion about which of Hondo’s workers would get to ride with us. They made arguments about who was the best pilot and who would make the jump to lightspeed. My daughter was over the moon to be flying with them, and after a minute, we had a fully loaded cockpit. We got to be the engineers. The pilots were shouting directions to each other, the gunners hit our targets, and my daughter and I kept the ship in one piece.

Out of dozens and dozens of repeats, it was by far the best ride through we’ve had. She’s been talking about it for weeks. I doubt we’ll get to have that exact experience again, but it’s a great example of how the Cast Members can make something amazing happen at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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