Running a theme park during a pandemic involves making lots of trade-offs. It seems Disney World has made a new decision in regards to one of those trade-offs. Touring Plans is reporting that Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run is now loading all seats on each ride as opposed to just one party. The procedure of one party per ride sequence was put in place when the park reopened last summer during the pandemic.
I can’t seem to find my interior photos of Smuggler’s Run. For those that haven’t ridden, you can see the interior shots in the Touring Plans article. There are six seats in rows of two. The pilot seats are closest together, with the gunner and engineer seats further apart. Disney World has installed plexiglass dividers that do provide some protection. And, the ride time isn’t more than 15 minutes. That’s likely why Disney World made this change.
It’s similar to the change they made for roller coasters such as Slinky Dog Dash, where they recently started filling all available rows. The logic there was that the high backs on Slinky Dog ride vehicles provided a layer of protection, plus the entire ride is outdoors.
Smuggler’s Run just feels different. Sure, the dividers provide some level of protection. And, you’re on the ride for less than 15 minutes (the CDC standard for close contact with someone who has COVID-19). But, the ride is entirely indoors. I’m sure the ventilation inside the ride vehicles is okay, but I can’t say I’ve ever felt a breeze when the door is closed and the ride is operating.
Wrapping Up The Magic
Everyone has their own comfort level with personal contact right now. Our daughter tends to be very sensitive to germs in general (and COVID-19 in particular). During our most recent Disney World trip, there were attractions we avoided based on either the lack of social distancing in the queue or the attraction itself. Based on these changes at Smuggler’s Run, I’m pretty sure our daughter would avoid the attraction right now. Our son, a diehard Star Wars fan, might feel differently.
If you’re planning a trip to Disney World right now, I think it’s important to know all the current conditions so you can make decisions you’re comfortable with. Social distancing is only one of the many changes at Disney World right now. Operating hours and transportation methods vary greatly from “normal”. Lots of details to consider.
We’ll continue to cover developments like this on Disney Park Magic so that you’re aware of the latest conditions.