Aaaaanyway. I still have a lot to talk about in regards to Rabanastre! (That's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, for anyone just tuning in.) We had just found the entrance to Smuggler's Run...which, come to think of it, I'm not sure was clearly labeled as Smuggler's Run (we still only know the name because it was mentioned in all the promotional blog posts and stuff). It might have been--there was so much to see, I might have glossed over some of the visual details. But we saw the bright red signs for the standby line and the single rider line...but not a fastpass line. This was curious, and sad, because we had heard things about the ride that made us a little nervous to go as single riders for our first experience on it. We looked at the wait time for the standby line, and it said 30 minutes, and since we had work to do, we figured that wouldn't be too bad, but hmm.
And as we were contemplating that situation, we looked at the wait time again and suddenly it said 50 minutes. Did we read it wrong the first time? I don't know, maybe. Like I said, there was a lot of visual stimuli to keep track of and/or be distracted by. We also apparently have the attention span of toddlers and I, at least, have a terrible memory for many visual details. My brain just doesn't register them as important sometimes. But the point is, now we noticed the line was almost an hour long, and there was no fastpass information in sight.
Well, that was easily resolved by Talking to a Cast Member(tm). So we found the nearest cast member and we asked him if there were any fastpasses...and as I typed this, Athena says, "Actually, I think he found us," and she may be right. He does seem like the type of cast member that would notice a couple of people standing around looking confused and/or thoughtful and would then step up to be of assistance. But we don't remember. The point is, he said no, we just wait in the long line for this one. (And he did specifically say "we" as if to include himself, which I think is an important distinction.)
Our reaction was to go, "Hmmmmm..." (I like to think it looked similar to Rose going, "Hmmm..." in the Gigantitan episode of Miraculous.) Now we had to decide if we wanted to spend an hour in line to see the new ride, or if we wanted to find a nice place to sit and get some work done (we weren't as acutely aware of our impending doom at the time, but we did have a vague sense of its approach). The cast member saw our dilemma and offered to give us some information. This made me very curious. His information is not free, however--he only offers it in exchange. And the whole information trade reminded us of another place in Final Fantasy XII--we think it was Bhujerba, but we're not entirely sure. It's been so long since we played it...what, like thirteen years? Dang.
I couldn't immediately come up with some good intel off the top of my head (although I'm pretty sure I have some), but that was okay, because the cast member had a question. We were wearing shirts that had the word "Ravenclaw" emblazoned across them, so he asked what a ravenclaw was. I started to explain about this school of magic, which is kind of like the Force, on a planet called Earth...and he was like, "No, I know about the school" (probably heard about it on another info exchange) "tell me what a ravenclaw is." So Athena explained that it was the claw of a bird about yea big, and that satisfied him. There was also a mention of how another traveler said he'd probably be a Slytherin because he seemed mean, and an explanation about how Ravenclaw students like knowledge and are generally weird.
At one point in the conversation, the cast member seemed to put his hand to his ear (I don't know if he really did or if it's an embellishment I added in my memory) and said, "It is confirmed." And we were like, "Whaaaat...?" He said, "Come with me," and he led us toward the entrance to the standby line, where we walked between a couple of posts that looked suspiciously like fastpass scanners. Once we got past them, he said, "Go that way," and we were off...through an entirely empty queue. Apparently they do have a fastpass line, but for some reason, at least on that day, it was only being used by...I don't even know. Maybe it's the line for people with disabilities? All I can say is there were only four people ahead of us at the point where that line (whatever it was) joined with the standby line.
...But we still had to wait a while, because, according to the PA system, they were having some flight delays. Well, that explains why the standby wait jumped from 30 to 50 minutes. Nevertheless, we're pretty sure we saved a lot of time, for which we are extremely grateful, because oh my goodness do we need all the time we can get.
And now that we were in the queue, we were able to take stock and figure out exactly what the premise of this ride is. Although to be honest, I wasn't 100% sure why we were smuggling things until the ride was almost over. They probably explained it while I was distracted taking pictures. At any rate, the place we were waiting was a business called Ohnaka Transports? The line seemed to mostly be regular old hallways, but we could listen in to people talking over the comm system. There was some guy complaining about this ship that was in his boss's parking space, the ship turned out to be the Millennium Falcon, which Ohnaka (the head honcho) had convinced Chewbacca to let him use... There was some woman (a mechanic? a pilot? I don't know) who stole that line from the movie about never getting the hunk of junk to fly, etc. etc.
After we joined the standby line, they escorted us into a room with a raised catwalk (is that redundant? it probably is, but I felt like I needed an adjective), where we met Mr. Ohnaka himself. He explained the mission while I tried to get a good shot of him through the safety rail. But it was neat, because he was an animatronic figure and he sounded remarkably like Jim Cummings. And if there's one American voice actor they could cast to get us to automatically think favorably of a character/ride/whatever, it's probably Jim Cummings. He also talked to us through the whole ride, which also helped endear me to the attraction. Any other voice actor (except maybe Tress MacNeille), I would have been like, "Be quiet and let me do my job!" but Jim Cummings, I'm like, "Yes, sir!"
The mission was to steal some...thing...from the First Order...it sounded scientific, and like the kind of thing they'd use for fuel. We'd recognize it if we heard it. I don't remember what they needed it for, either. All I remember is that they sent us out in missions of six...which, thinking about it, only sort of makes sense. Recruiting six people to fly the Millennium Falcon on a smuggling mission makes sense, but there's only one Millennium Falcon, so you really only need six people and you're done. Getting a whole mob of tourists...it's not that it's illogical, necessarily, just that there's still only one Millennium Falcon. Athena suggests that maybe it's because, since Ohnaka is a con artist and not really planning to pay us for our work anyway, he needs to have a constant stream of suckers. I would buy that, except for the constant recruitment of woefully inexperienced pilots, gunners, and engineers inevitably leads to excessive property damage and the subsequent maintenance fees. It's just not practical any way you slice it!
But that's one of those things where you take the little details and put them to the side, I guess.
So they send you out in groups of six, and this is where I was really impressed with how Disney did it, because each member of the group gets a specific job, and they don't really have time to train people or anything, it's just, "Okay, here's your job," but the thing is, it was so organized and not confusing or chaotic at all. After you get Ohnaka's introduction, you go into a corridor that feels very much like the corridors that connect flight gates to airplanes. This really impressed me, because they weren't just adding details to say, "Hey, look what we can do!", the details also made sense with the story they were trying to tell. It makes me think, "See? You can do it when you put your mind to it! ...Now get rid of those nonsensical inscriptions in the outdoor queue area for Indy."
Once you make it through that corridor, you go into the Millennium Falcon's...rec area? I don't know what part of the ship it is, but it's the place where Chewbacca and R2-D2 played that holo-chess game. They have the table and the bench around it and everything--very Insta-ble. But before they let you...lounge around (ha, ha, ha...), a cast member hands you your credential. This is a little wooden card that tells you your job and how to do it. Athena and I were both engineers, so our instructions were, "Repair the ship by pushing the flashing buttons." It's so simple! And just like that, we're accredited engineers! Woohoo!
And the cards are all color coded, which is how they make sure all the groups have all the right people--especially because they let about four groups or so hang out in the lounge at a time. After you get your card, you have a minute or two to read the instructions and explore the area before another cast member calls your group color. They lead you into the Millennium Falcon's cockpit, and Ohnaka talks to you over the intercom to give you your instructions again (in case you didn't read them after all), and to give you some real practice. For example, he told us engineers what our job was and lit up some buttons for us to push, and then he gave us some critique. He was all, "You can go faster than that!" or something like that.
And then we were off! And this is where I was like, "Okay, this is not going to work." I was so worried about doing my job right that I wasn't able to watch what we were doing! ...At least, not at first. Eventually, I got the hang of it and I was better able to multitask, but I do think it's a clever distraction to prevent people like me from being able to focus and find everything that's wrong with the ride. (I know, it's a nasty habit.) It was pretty neat, though. There are two pilots. They work together to pilot the ship--one moves it up and down, the other left and right--so sometimes you end up crashing way more than others. There are two gunners, whose job it is to fire away at the First Order soldiers and ships and everything that are trying to protect the cargo. And there are two engineers, whose job it is to repair the ship after the pilots crash into stuff (and I guess after we get shot at), and to fire the harpoons at the trains carrying the loot so we can...I don't know, do we use a tractor beam or something? to move the cargo onto our ship instead. I think this second job is to give us something to do if we end up with very good pilots and gunners.
Of course there are ups and downs and thrills and excitement and whatever, and at the end, you get paid based on how many of the cargo thingies you successfully steal, minus how much money Ohnaka's going to need to repair the ship. And they tell you how well you did in your job! I kept my side of the ship 85% repaired. The two different types of scoring are another clever way to keep people coming back for more, since it's natural to think, "I can do better!" And unlike with the shooter rides (Astro Blasters and Midway Mania), this ride actually makes me feel like I can improve. And of course, there's also the appeal of trying a different job. So I really think this ride is like a video game designed for replay value. But I have to admit, they succeeded. And all the while, I don't have the mental capacity to objectively evaluate the CGI on the thing. I feel like that part was a little sneaky.
And that was that! ...Oh, except that at the end, Ohnaka said something about a stowaway that made me think something new was going to happen. But then the door opened and a cast member walked in. I was like, "Oh, is the cast member the stowaway?" But it wasn't clear. So that part was confusing. the other confusing thing is since when did the gunners fire from the Millennium Falcon cockpit? There's a totally different area of the ship for that. I guess it's possible that Chewbacca made some modifications. I don't know.
But anyway, that's Smuggler's Run. At this point in my life, I think it's a pretty great ride. And of course, that's not all we have to talk about, but we really need to get to bed! So more on our adventures tomorrow!
Today I'm thankful for the very friendly possibly-Slytherin cast member, getting to try out a pretty cool new ride, Jim Cummings getting to be immortalized in a Disneyland attraction as a unique character, the edit for Waiting for Spring not going hopelessly slowly, and getting to sleep in tomorrow.