One of our favorite family traditions is right at Magic Kingdom park opening is to run for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and ride it 2-3 times in a row while there is no line. We may be having fun but it is serious business as we compete for Galactic Hero. Here are a couple of my tips for beating your family every time. moment a

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The Backstory

The ride is based upon the 1999 Toy Story 2 movie in which we learn that Buzz Lightyear has an archenemy by the name of Evil Emperor Zurg.

The story begins as you enter Star Command Headquarters, home of the Universe Protection Unit. You find yourself being recruited by Buzz Lightyear for a secret mission.

The Evil Emperor Zurg is stealing crystillic fusion cell (i.e. batteries) from our favorite Little Green Men (LGM). You have been called upon to travel to Zurg’s home planet, Planet Z, to defeat him and recover the fusion cells.

Hint: While in the queue keep your eyes open for a number of Hidden Mickeys.

How the Ride Works

The ride itself is a shooting gallery style dark ride where you board a two-person XP-37 Space Cruise equipped with two twin ion cannons. The cannons are used to shoot at targets of varying point values and the joystick allows full 360-degree rotation of the vehicle.

Note: The ride uses a continuous loader (moving walkway). If you have mobility issues they can slow or stop the belt so you can climb aboard.

The vehicle also has a dashboard that shows your score throughout the ride so you know how bad or good you are doing. At the end of the game you can compare your score to the Status Board to see what Level of Cadet you are.

  • Level 1 Star Cadet: 0 – 1,000
  • Level 2 Space Ace: 1,001 – 10,000
  • Level 3 Planetary Pilot: 10,001 – 100,000
  • Level 4 Space Scout: 100,001 – 300,000
  • Level 5 Ranger 1st Class: 300,001 – 600,000
  • Level 6 Cosmic Commando: 600,001 – 999,998
  • Level 7 Galactic Hero: 999,999

Tips for Becoming the Galactic Hero

Here are three of my tips for getting the level of Galactic Hero. Not saying there is not a bit of cheating involved. It is all about winning after all.

Look for High Value Targets

There are a few 50,000 and 100,000 point targets that can easily get you to Galactic Hero

  • First room – The left hand of the robot and the claw on the ceiling have 100,000 point targets. For the claw it is easier to hit this target once you have past it by turning your vehicle around backwards.
  • Second room – The top target on the volcano is worth 50,000 points.
  • Third room – The target below Emperor Zurg is worth 100,000. This target is easier to hit as you approach it. It is hardest to hit when you are directly in front of it.

Take Advantage of Vehicle Stops

If the ride slows down DO NOT stop shooting – this is valuable time to rack up some points.

Even if you think you have stopped at a bad point shoot at blank walls. There are sensors everywhere and you may just discover another unknown high point target.

If you happen to stop in range of a high point value target you will easily make Galactic Hero.

Leverage Joystick Control

This is a serious decision when competing.

If you can multi-task it is in your best interest to control of your ride vehicle. You can position yourself to have a better shooting position and reduce the effectiveness of your fellow rider.

Now if your fellow rider CANNOT multi-task definitely let them control the joystick and just rack up the points!

Bonus Tip – Toddler Power – If you have a toddler traveling with you make sure they are in the other vehicle and takes control of the joystick. (Telling the toddler that Daddy said he could drive is a valid strategy. There is no shame in it at all.) The toddler will now make getting Galactic Hero an uphill battle for their fellow rider.

Preserving Your Win

In the last scene of the game your vehicle will be photographed. It is always fun to check out the photos and I have yet to figure out a pose that works for me but my husband always goes for extreme concentration.

If you like the photo you can purchase a couple of ways: (at the time of this article)

  • Purchase Disney Memory Maker : Includes all photopass and ride photos. $169.00 3 days in advance/$199.00 on site
  • Purchase the digital download at the Photo Sales Center: $14.95 – $16.95 for a single photo
  • Photos are included in the price of an Annual Pass

Now you even get a video of your experience.

You can also stop at the photo desk on the way out and tell them you got Galactic Hero. You will get a sticker that you can wear proudly and remind your family who is the best.