One of the most highly ambitious projects that has finally opened up its shuttle doors is the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. This untrammeled type of experience at Walt Disney World located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is where the fandom can deeply embed themselves within the Star Wars culture. Certainly, this LARP (live-action-role playing experience) is not the interpretation of “just some Disney hotel”, as you are living a theatrical experience for a 48-hour stay. Despite being in development for the past six years in Walt Disney Imagineering, the project has faced big challenges, like budget-cutting, in wake of a pandemic. The project was first announced in August of 2019 at the D23 Expo.
Guests should know the scope of this galactic adventure is to be treated like a “cruise type of style” experience but don’t go expecting a pool or spa-like a regular cruise offers. Another thing you need to know is that you “cannot book online” and only through Disney’s telephone line, by visiting their site here.
Remembering The Old Ways Of The Force
If you’re a Disney Parks fan like myself and have been analyzing the Starcruiser like a science project, it’s easy to see that what was once at Galaxy’s Edge is now behind a lavish paywall. Originally, the expansion had plans for a two-level bathhouse-type area. The top floor would have been a cantina and the second floor would have been a dinner-type of show. Now, the previously named “Kalikori Club” is now the “Crown of Corellia Dining Room”.
Social media fan buzz has been praising the new original character named Gaya. However, I can’t help but wonder if Gaya would have worked as the restaurant owner instead of a performer?
The current concept is Gaya has a DJ assistant (who has become a new guest favorite), Ouannii. Ouannii is a talented Rodian musician who speaks Huttese. Her infectious charm makes her connect with passengers as they explore the ship to make new relationships off hours.
Check out the original concept art from the book, The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by Nerdist senior reporter Amy Radcliffe down below:
GALAXY’S EDGE FAN COMPLAINTS
A huge complaint about Galaxy’s Edge is the lack of entertainment. Where is the immersion? Fans were expecting a true living and breathing environment of the Resistance and First Order trying to defend or conquer the galaxy. Why are there no lightsaber showdowns on the rooftops of Batuu?
As shared by Scott Trowbridge, creative lead at Walt Disney Imagineering, the idea would have been “action sequences in real-time with you right in the middle of it”. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore as the expansion is like a “still life moving painting”.
Here’s another old piece of concept art down below for visual context:
This Is Not That Type Of Star Wars Movie
When it comes to the Starcruiser, Disney does what they do best by inviting and transporting you through the movie screen. While the Starcruiser is canon in the franchise between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, guests have their own path to tell their personal Star Wars story throughout the 2-day stay onboard the Halcyon.
While the die hard’s of the fandom will want to check out and do anything and everything, they may wanna reconsider. As Bridget Carey from CNET explained during the media preview, “You don’t have to do everything.”
“If you don’t participate to some degree, you’ll still see the main general story unfold at the end, but you will be wasting your money.”
So don’t feel so rushed and slow it down if you decide to book (and can afford it). I mean, have you seen the price point? First and foremost, the Starcruiser is an investment. What you are signing up for is an all “at the moment role-playing” experience. So, to maximize your stay It all depends on your level of flexibility and what accommodations you can attend to.
There are plenty of activities to do onboard the ship. From the controversial lightsaber training, as well as interacting with the old and original characters. Not to mention, the tasty dishes and drinks that are “spaced themed of Asian culture dishes”. Did we mention you can have unlimited blue and green milk during your lunches and dinners as well?!
After a long day of studying the ways of the force or being integrated by the First Order, be sure to drop the Sublight Lounge with some space-y cocktails and other craft drinks.
Star Wars Isn’t For Everyone, but it’s Still Cool
It may come as a surprise, but even a casual Star Wars fan can get a kick out of the Galactic Starcruiser if for no other reason than “it looks cool”. However, the true and passionate fans will appreciate and love it even more because Disney has crafted an unfolding narrative and gravitas attention to detail. The Starcruiser can hold up to 100 people, and each room has virtual space windows. This gives your room a zen atmosphere as you travel in a galaxy far, far away, or to any of the locations that interest you that you can spot.
So make sure to rest up, because once you exit the 275-year-old Halcyon you may feel like you just went through a long marathon within the past two days. This experience is like playing a real-life video game.
THE TECHNOLOGY IS AMAZING!
The technology is hella cool on this thing. Guests will get to meet D3-09, an AI log logistic droid who is a new original character. This is how Trowbridge described her:
“She is one of our first initiatives in an AI-driven character experience. And so she appears on this droid link panel screen right there in your cabin. And you can contact D3 if you want to and when you call her up you have a conversation with her. She can tell you about things that are happening around the ship, she can fill you in on some of the rumors as well,” said Scott Trowbridge, Portfolio Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering in a panel discussion.”Scott Trowbridge, Walt Disney Imagineering
When it comes to D3-09, Disney has shared that she “will be only available for a limited test period” and for an “undefined testing duration”.
The Dark Side Of The Force
While this massive new addition to Walt Disney World is out of this world fun, there is a hefty price for the two-day stay. The average price range is between $1,209 to upwards of $20,000 for the luxury suites. And, Oh boy, has there been a ton of backlash! Even the Disney Parks YouTube channel and Twitter account deleted a promo video due to the negative backlash. According to the image above, a family of 4 will have to shell out $6000, 3 guests $5,300, and for a party of two almost $5000 FOR 2 DAYS!
Fortunately, for that hefty price, your stay includes meals, entertainment, and lodging. However, it does not include alcohol or Disney Photopass. Over the past several months, Disney has given fans, social media influencers, and some media outlets a complimentary stay in order to voice their opinions. As well as to answer the question: is the Starcruiser worth the price for the stay?
It seems the answer is a resounding yes! When the pre-sale for selected Disney groups went live back in October 2021 the first four months of the Starcruiser were fully booked up. So, from March up till most of June don’t expect a spot.
In the end…
The Galactic Starcruiser is like a room inside of the Cantina. It may not be for everyone, but those who saved up their hard-earned space credits will certainly have blast.
Now we leave it to you guys, will you be dropping a whopping some amount for this type of experience? Leave it down below!
*Discloser: If anything personal or medical is needed “There’s an emergency escape door that leads to a behind-the-scenes exit door for emergency personnel to come to get you. You have to tell 911 the code that’s on your emergency door so they know where to find you according to CNET“.*