Disney’s ambitious Star Wars project, the Galactic Starcruiser, is an immersive themed hotel that opened in March of 2022. The initial launch of the hotel was a great success, with months of fully booked rooms. However, after the initial interest died down, some Disney fans became skeptical about the Starcruiser’s future. Why would such an immersive experience based on a beloved franchise such as Star Wars already be facing a future full of uncertainty? Let’s take a look.
One of the Starcruiser’s biggest drawbacks is the hefty price tag it comes with. For a basic two-person package, a two-night stay at the hotel will set you back $4,800. For four people, you’re looking at closer to $6,000 for a standard cabin, and even more if you’re interested in a Galaxy Class or Grand Captain suite. The Starcruiser package also grants visitors admission to Hollywood Studios, food and drinks on the Starcruiser, and an exclusive Starcruiser MagicBand.
Despite all these extra perks, the high price tag for two days at the hotel discourages low and middle class families from visiting the Starcruiser when their budget is better spent elsewhere on their Disney vacation. For example, vacationing families can access a five-night stay at a cheaper resort for between $1,500 to $4,500. With occasional special offers and the like, an added discount can reduce the cost of staying at an on-site resort.
In addition to the price, the Starcruiser has added a number of new characters to the experience and promotes them heavily through social media ads. Surely these new characters are beloved characters from the films that fans will recognize, right?
Instead, the Starcruiser brings in new or relatively unheard of characters to interact with guests during their excursion. While this may enhance an already paid for stay at the Starcruiser, it is unlikely that anyone will be booking specifically so they can meet the Rodian walkaround character Ouannii.
Additionally, the Starcruiser features few familiar locations for long-time Star Wars fans. This has been somewhat of an issue since the opening of Galaxy’s Edge–Disney naturally prioritizes locations and characters that were introduced in the sequel trilogy and accompanying Disney+ shows while largely ignoring the beloved locations from the older films. This is likely due to Disney’s reluctance to disrupt the magic and immersion by having characters and locations from separate time periods in the same area. While this is understandable, it greatly limits the potential opportunities for meaningful growth of Galaxy’s Edge and the Galactic Starcruiser.
The introduction of the Galactic Starcruiser to Disney is by no means a “failure”--the hotel continues to maintain a steady supply of bookings and general interest–but after the initial rush of popularity during the first few months of operation, it is unlikely the experience will recapture those numbers unless there is a truly large or meaningful upgrade to pull back in some long-time Star Wars fans.
In summary, this very expensive luxury experience is surely a once in a lifetime one and it is becoming clearer with the recent canceling of low-occupancy voyages in July, August and September that those fans that want to and can afford it have already done it which leads us to ask questions on the sustainability of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser for the future? Is the answer a major upgrade? Is the answer discounts? All we do know is that Disney will have to do something to keep the guests booking into their most immersive experience yet.
For those of you who have tried the Starcruiser for yourselves, was the experience worth the price? Did it disappoint? And would you consider booking again in its current state? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Hello. Since you asked for comments from people who have tried Galactic Starcruiser, I'd like to clear up some misunderstandings. While it's true that Disney has created a luxury experience that not everyone would enjoy or be able to afford, they have also created something that is so far beyond current theatrical experiences that it is very difficult to explain to people what it is. Considering that few people have attended even a single one-act Immersive Theater show, they have no frame of reference for what Disney is trying to describe. This has lead to a lot of incorrect information, which might also be a key factor in the lower number of new bookings. In this context, the errors in your article are completely understandable, but would be good to clear up.
Most importantly, Galactic Starcruiser is not a hotel; it is the largest Immersive Theater experience ever created. Your comparing this to the price of a stay at a resort is very misleading. It's analogous to saying that tickets to Aladdin on Broadway are too much to pay for a seat in a theater, that you can find much more inexpensive places to sit for a few hours, such as a park bench, and totally ignoring the fact that you're not paying just to sit in the seat but to watch the show on the stage.
Of course, with Galactic Starcruiser, the show is not on a separate stage with an imaginary fourth wall where the actors pretend they can't see you. You're actually on the stage with the performers, completely surrounded by the themed set on all sides, and instead of scene changes the action moves to many different rooms and you can follow many different lines of the story depending on which characters you interact with.
The new ads that you mentioned are trying to make this more clear by highlighting the characters rather than the room accommodations (where you can sleep between the day-long acts of the show). In addition to the ad you mentioned with Ouannii, I've also seen one with Captain Keenan, and this is a good start in shifting the marketing to focus on the show elements. It is completely incorrect to say that these are new characters that have been added to the experience. They have been there from opening night and are a huge part of the experience, along with the interactive elements. Your description of Ouannii as a "walkaround character" that you can "meet" is completely misleading, making it sound like she's someone you'd see in a theme-park and stand in line to get an autograph and a photo. Instead, she's a fully-realized part of the story, someone who has her own character arc that interacts with other plotlines of the story and has its own trajectory and conclusion during the day-and-a-half running time of the show. Don't underestimate the acting skill required to both hit all of the story points in the script and also do improv when interacting with the guests.
As for these characters and locations not being from the films, this is true of many Disney experiences. While they do have attractions such as Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid that are a literal recreation of the movie's stories, they also have many attractions that are merely in the same universe as the movies that inspired them. The toys in the Toy Story movies do not run arcade games, there was no Twilight Zone episode about an elevator that falls faster than gravity, and Indiana Jones only explored the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in a theme park, not a movie. Going beyond what's in the movies is not a bad thing for a theme park attraction. In fact, Galactic Starcruiser does include appearances from Star Wars characters across all three trilogies, but these are kept as surprises, while the characters being described in the new ads are the main characters of the show, the ones whose plot lines cover the entire two-day story and aren't just visiting from their other adventures.
So anyway, to actually answer your question, we're definitely planning on going again, though it's probably something we'd do just once every two years, not on every visit to Disney World. It would be devastating if this experience was no longer around the next time we want to go because guests who would really love it are put off by promotional material that doesn't explain it well enough and news articles that provide inaccurate information.
Thank you for your detailed comment and further insight into the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience.