Remember THIS iconic starship from Star Wars? Now you can fly it in real life

We literally flew the iconic Millennium Falcon starship at Disneyland's amazing new land Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - and had our minds blown. Here's the lowdown...

By James Jennings
Whether you're a hardcore Star Wars fan who can speak fluent Wookiee or a casual observer who thinks Jar Jar Binks must be some kind of storage solution for your kitchen, chances are you recognise the Millennium Falcon, the iconic hamburger-shaped starship first seen in the 1977 blockbuster Star Wars: A New Hope.
Affectionately called a "bucket of bolts" and "the fastest hunk of junk on the galaxy", the Millennium Falcon has, for the most part, only ever been piloted by Harrison Ford's dashing rogue Han Solo and his co-pilot, the seven-foot tall "walking carpet" Chewbacca.
That is, of course, until now.
The 100-foot-plus full-scale replica of the Millennium Falcon at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Image: Disney/Lucasfilm
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is the dazzling main attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the brand new billion-dollar, 14-acre Star Wars-themed park that was recently unveiled at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California (and opening at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida August 29, 2019).
The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ride is set to put kids big and small (although no-one under 97cm, it should be noted) right in the cockpit where Han and Chewie made many a jump to hyperspace.
Three main roles are assigned to the ride's six occupants: two pilots (one operating vertical motion, the other horizontal motion), two gunners responsible for blasting enemy ships and two engineers whose job it is to make sure the Falcon doesn't fall apart during its dangerous mission.
Watch the trailer for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge below. Story continues after video...
Before visitors even step foot inside the Falcon's cockpit, however, they get to walk through main hold of the Falcon itself – an overwhelmingly cool experience which pretty much feels like being right inside a Star Wars movie.
You'll see exactly where Luke Skywalker fought a remote with his lightsaber, the control panel where Han Solo delivered his snarky asides and, most excellently, the Dejarik (space chess, for the non-initiated) table where C-3PO plays with Chewie in A New Hope and is warned to "let the Wookiee win."
Watch Empire editor James Jennings on board the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ride. Story continues after video...
Being a fully immersive experience, the ride provides a rich back story involving Chewie landing the Falcon at the remote Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu (the spaceport setting of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) between the events Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the Wookiee loaning the Falcon to smuggler Hondo Ohnaka so he can ship some (possibly illegal) cargo.
That's where you come in as part of the Falcon's new crew.
"The level of guest participation in Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is different from anything we've done before," says Asa Kalama, an Executive Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering.
"You're not merely a passenger along for a ride, but rather the protagonist of the adventure. The story unfolds around you and responds to the way you engage it."
Watch the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer below. Story continues after video...
Our experience aboard the Falcon involved saying "Whoa!" way more times than we'd like to admit due to incredible accuracy and attention to detail: it really does feel like you've gone on board the Millennium Falcon for an important mission, and it's incredibly easy to get lost in the fantasy of it all.
After stepping into the cockpit with mouth agape, we got to sit right in the hot seat and co-pilot the Falcon, controlling its horizontal motion.
Watch the full video of Empire editor James Jennings experiencing the ride in the player at the top!
The cockpit of Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Disneyland. Image: Disney/Lucasfilm.
What came next was an adrenaline-charged flight (with lots of screaming involved, we'll happily admit) where we felt every laser blast and gravity-defying manoeuvre, including punching it into hyperspace, blasting TIE fighters into pieces and dodging giant asteroids, just like in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
The verdict?
Without a doubt one of the coolest experiences we've ever had.
Casual fans can expect a thrilling ride aboard the world's most technologically advanced motion ride; hardcore Star Wars lovers should prepare themselves for a life-altering, white-knuckle journey through a galaxy far, far away.
Watch a video of the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Disneyland below.

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