Over the past week we’ve been getting a lot more information about the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort experience at Walt Disney World. On Friday there was a 20-minute conversation between the Imagineers who designed the experience released on the Disney Parks YouTube channel, and this morning the company released additional details like pricing and a sample itinerary on its official website.
After reviewing all these new particulars regarding this project I've been very curious about since it was first announced at D23 Expo 2019, I’ve put together a quick list about what aspects of this endeavor excite me the most, and which are still giving me pause as the opening date approaches next year.
What I’m most excited about:
- The immersion: What Star Wars fan hasn’t wanted to live, breathe, and eat in that world– even if only for a brief amount of time? Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge made that promise, and delivered on it to an extent, but it hasn’t yet quite achieved the level of immersive theater that was promised at some of the panel presentations I saw at conventions like Star Wars Celebration during its development. So theoretically Galactic Starcruiser will pick up that slack, at a premium cost of course. I am very much looking forward to being surrounded by the denizens and environments of A Galaxy Far, Far Away with nothing breaking the illusion that I can really exist within that story.
- The Sabacc tournament: Similarly, it’s been a dream of mine since I was fairly young to sit around a table and gamble with the scum and villainy of the galaxy, much like how Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in that fateful card game. In the concept art above, the sabacc seems to be played using a hologram-type technology rather than with a paper deck, but I understand how that might better reflect the high-class nature of the Halcyon ship we’re traveling aboard. It should be interesting to watch guests around you gradually learn the rules of this game that’s been part of Star Wars lore for decades, and then hopefully become proficient enough to whittle down the competition.
- The guest costumes: This is something Galaxy’s Edge attendees have been hoping for since day one– the ability to not simply “Disney Bound” as a Batuuan while visiting Black Spire Outpost but to dress entirely in costume and full makeup when aboard the Halcyon. Imagineer Scott Trowbridge specifically mentioned donning the headtails of a Twi’lek, if one so chooses, so I can absolutely picture guests picking the look of their favorite alien species or the garb of the Jedi Order (or even the Sith) to walk around and interact with others in during their visit. Naturally some questions remain about this aspect: Could one dress in full Stormtrooper armor? Will masks be allowed? I imagine a specific list of guidelines will be issued before the opening, but the possibilities are interesting to wonder about.
What I’m still hesitant about:
- The time period: Okay, I know it’s become cliche to complain about the sequel trilogy era, especially in regards to the setting of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but come on. Is anyone really more excited to join the Resistance than they would be to enlist in the Rebel Alliance? To me, the aesthetic and potential atmosphere of anchoring Galactic Starcruiser in the original trilogy would be vastly more appealing than where they settled on the timeline– namely between Episodes VIII and IX once again. If the idea here is to attract the most hardcore Star Wars fans to this experience, why not ground it in the material that the majority of people have known and loved for almost four and a half decades? I get that it has to tie in with Galaxy’s Edge because it’s connected to that part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but while we’re at it I don’t think many people would mind if that got converted over to the OT as well.
- The excursion to Batuu: Speaking of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I can’t fathom wanting to spend much time off the Halcyon during those two days, especially after paying such a significant chunk of money for the Galactic Starcruiser experience (see below). I get that this will put the land and its two attractions into a new context as they participate in missions for the various characters, but I doubt I will be psyched to ride Smugglers Run when I could be back aboard the cruise ship, exploring an all-new space that regular theme park guests don’t have access to literally every day. And much like the costuming feature above, I have a lot of questions about the journey to Black Spire. Is it optional? Can guests come and go as they please or must they adhere to the itinerary? And will guests’ costumes be allowed to carry over into the park? All this remains to be seen, but what I really want to know is what will make it worth leaving the thing I paid so much for?
- The price vs. length of stay: Look, we all knew a stay aboard the Halcyon was going to be expensive, but for the “starting prices” revealed today, I think I would like this to be a three-night experience instead of just two. It just seems like it’s all going to be over so quickly. I guess “leave them wanting more” is the first rule of show business, but “leave them feeling like they didn’t get their money’s worth” is a whole different story. I’m predicting right now that not long after opening, there are going to be some major changes in either the pricing levels, experience, or both. And the unfortunate thing about that is that the guests who are most excited to attend this thing– the ones who show up in those first few weeks of operation– are likely going to get the least polished bang for their buck while Disney works the kinks out of the process.
Am I excited for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser? Absolutely. Do I think it’s going to take some time to find its footing and become the must-see immersive experience Disney is advertising it as? Yeah, and that’s why I wouldn’t blame Star Wars fans for taking a more wait-and-see approach before booking their voyage. Besides, that’ll allow them some time to save up the money for the trip.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is scheduled to open in the spring of 2022 at Walt Disney World.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.