Welcome to Theme Park News — we have a lot to discuss, particularly in Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Hop in, and let's make the jump to Hyperspace with a familiar friend ...
LET'S TALK ABOUT "CHEWIE MODE"
The biggest news to break this weekend for Star Wars and Disney Parks fans alike is that there's a secret way to "hack" Smugglers Run and obtain Chewie Mode. First discovered and tested by YouTube channel FreshBaked Disney, the secret mode on Disney's Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge overrides the system to unlock a full Chewie narration (which consists of grunts) throughout the experience. The discovery is cool, sure, but it's rare — very rare — that something this under-the-radar is discovered with nobody really knowing it existed, solidifying this find as major theme park news.
For those who have not yet had an opportunity to ride the new Millennium Falcon motion simulator at Disney World or Disneyland, the ride puts you inside Han Solo's famed hunk of junk for a mission to "collect" containers of something called coaxium. Each cockpit seats six people, split up into three occupations — Pilot, which is far and away the best assignment given that you steer the ship; Gunner, who aimlessly shoots to break containers of coaxium loose; and Engineers, who do lord knows what in the back row. (I've sat in that seat a half-dozen times and ... I couldn't tell ya. The switches are fun to play with, though!)
If you happen to visit the parks with a group of six folks, Smugglers Run is a gloriously fun spire-skimming party, but visit with anything smaller and you'll likely be mashed up with another family. If all three positions were equal, the forced teamwork could be both fun and virtuous — kind of like how the best way to beat Toy Story Mania's volcanic round is to explode the balloons in tandem — but they're not equal. Pilot is so far superior not just because one of 'em gets to thrust the group into hyperspace, but because they truly, in the full sense of the word, control the collective experience.
As I've written before, this is problematic because Walt Disney World is built on a digital system that guarantees visitors certain experiences, particularly those on a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Want to ensure your son will meet Cinderella? Nab a dining reservation for her Magic Kingdom restaurant and you can have him dream of that day without worry. Making the Floridian pilgrimage exclusively so your daughter can plunge through the elevator shafts of Tower of Terror? Book it with FastPass+ and it's all but certain you'll make it on board.
Smugglers Run is the only attraction at Disney World that seemingly breaks those rules. Having a young child or confused adult or an annual passholder who's been on a dozen times and just wants to see what it's like to crash the ship at the helm feels distinctly un-Disney, granting guests who paid the same and planned the same significantly different experiences. (It's worth noting that you can't "request" the pilot position; they're assigned and groups are left to switch among themselves.)
As cool as Chewbacca mode sounds, I'm fearful that it may double down on this shortcoming. Or, as one of my favorite folks on Twitter put it:
I love the idea of secret hacks within this ride, especially to boost its video-game-like qualities, but I just wish it was one that toyed with those pre-existing positions, maybe giving engineers and gunners something more to physically do. Either way, it's unbelievably interesting that this exists and I'm hoping there's more out there.
Curious to do it yourself? According to FreshBaked Disney, here are the steps to unlock Chewbacca Mode:
First and foremost, do not activate your position right away like you normally do. Left and right pilots need to push their controls to the extreme left/right or extreme up/down. Once you've done that, hit your activation button.
Engineers and Gunners need to hit one of the white buttons on their console before hitting the orange activation button. Kind of like using the shift key on a keyboard.
Finally, be sure you've done this BEFORE the cast member finishes checking your seatbelts (pull the yellow thingy) and he hits his "ok to go" button.
And that's it. Do it right and Chewie will be yelling at you for five minutes. Miss a step and you get Hondo and his canisters.
AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT
By now, most theme park fans are aware that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the crazy-cool new ride at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, is still operating with a digital "boarding group" system distributed at park opening. With groups being called at different rates each day and the distribution program playing like a luck of the draw, it's all kind of shrouded in mystery — until now.
Touring Plans posted a really interesting chart of recent boarding group data, marking how many groups got through each day, what "backup" boarding groups were called, and sussing out just how many people seemingly made it through:
There's even a grid breakdown with really interesting details of when boarding groups were called and how the ride was operating this month. If you're curious about the intricacies of how Rise of the Resistance is pushing crowds through on either coast, I highly recommend checking it out.
TWEET OF THE WEEK:
Put me in a time machine please and bring me back to vintage EPCOT just one time. Just one time!!
LINKS LINKS LINKS!
- Best Cosplay ever, sorry, I don't make the rules.
- This just in: a really solid selection of new Mulan merchandise.
- A man lost 150 pounds walking around Disneyland eating corn dogs?! A HERO AMONG US.
- Epcot Food & Wine obsessives: booth menus have been revealed.
- Europe's largest indoor park is opening in a matter of days.
- There's an interactive Invisible Man experience outside Universal Studios Hollywood that sounds delightfully creepy.
- The Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge team cleaned up at Toy Fair 2020.
- And now, something scarier than your morning commute.
- Easily the coolest girl gang on Batuu.
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is doing a cute Leap Year spa special, if you need an excuse to burn through those vacation days.