Walt Disney World to close Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser

May 18, 2023, 2:15 PM · Disney's Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser will take its final voyage this fall. Walt Disney World announced today that it will be closing its ambitious, role-playing, cruise-like Star Wars experience, after just over a year of operation.

Star Wars Galatic Starcruiser's final voyage will board September 28, concluding on September 30. Disney will be contacting passengers booked on the Halycon after that date to arrange an earlier booking, if available and desired. To accommodate those guests, Disney is pausing booking on the Starcruiser until May 26.

Set aboard the Halycon - a Chandrilla Star Lines vessel that Disney's backstory said was the honeymoon destination for Leia Organa and Han Solo - Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser was much more than the "Star Wars hotel" that went viral when Disney first announced its plans. A two-night, cruise-like experience, Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser invites guests to become characters in the Star Wars universe, interacting with cast members playing Halycon aboard the "ship."

A "port call" to Batuu - the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land in nearby Disney's Hollywood Studios - was included with the all-inclusive Starcruiser experience. Russell Meyer detailed the entire Galactic Starcruiser experience during its February 2022 press preview in several articles and videos that we have posted at themeparkinsider.com/starcruiser.

Haters likely will call Starcruiser an overpriced failure. But the experience sold out most dates for its first months and continues to enjoy solid booking numbers. So why is Disney closing it?

A Disney World spokesperson called Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser a "premium, boutique experience." And that was its problem. Disney does not do "boutique."

With just 100 rooms available for booking, the Starcruiser represented less than half a percent of the Walt Disney World Resort's on-site room inventory. Yes, bookings cost thousands of dollars per person, but Disney likely spent far more money per visitor running the Galactic Starcruiser than for any other property in its portfolio. Even if fully booked, the Starcruiser was just too small for a huge company like Disney to run as anything more than a vanity project.

And under Bob Iger's leadership, Disney strives for blockbusters - not boutique.

That said, Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser featured some of the hardest-working, most creative and enthusiastic cast members at the Walt Disney World Resort. And Disney's Imagineers and show production staff developed innovations for the project that have won multiple industry awards. The experience won some of Disney World's highest guest satisfaction ratings, too. So it would seem obvious for Disney to apply elements from the Galactic Starcruiser experience to other theme park, hotel, and Disney Cruise line experiences going forward.

Disney has released this message: "We are so proud of all of the Cast Members and Imagineers who brought Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to life and look forward to delivering an excellent experience for Guests during the remaining voyages over the coming months. Thank you to our Guests and fans for making this experience so special."

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Replies (77)

May 18, 2023 at 2:38 PM

Another BIG RED FLAG regarding Disney's confidence in the world economy. Quoting the_man2 from his TPI discussion thread titled 'Florida theme parks - recession indicator': "I think this is an indicator that the economy is finally starting to slow down and headed for a recession later this year and 2024. While I certainly don't think everything is going to fall apart like in 2008, there has been talk for years now that once the COVID a period of stagflation and then finally a recession.

If I were a theme park owner/operator, I'd sure be sleeping better at night knowing my attractions are fully built and not halfway home in the middle of a stalled economy and a massive labor shortage.

May 18, 2023 at 2:41 PM

@TH Creative: Thing is, they keep talking on that and yet still low unemployment and good job market. It can just be how this was faulty from the start because of ultra-high price way beyond the range of many of the fandom they wanted.

As pointed out a shame as the cast members gave it their all but just chalk it up as a very expensive if ambitious failure.

May 18, 2023 at 2:47 PM

What do you think will happen with SW:GS? Could the hotel portion be eliminated, with SW:GS transitioning into an upcharge day attraction for all guests of Galaxy's Edge? Or would it make more sense to increase the hotel portion and convert SW:GS into a more traditional WDW hotel with Star Wars theming. It seems wasteful to tear it down after just one year of use.

May 18, 2023 at 2:49 PM

I'd say just retheme it to a SW hotel best move.

May 18, 2023 at 2:55 PM

A Disney rep said that no decision has been made about the future of the Starcruiser property.

May 18, 2023 at 3:13 PM

@MikeW - I would agree that conventional wisdom was that it was "ultra expensive" but I'm not sure that conclusion is accurate. Two nights stay in a hotel, food, entertainment and theme park access included. A one-of-a-kind experience. If it was overpriced the excess would've been measured in hundreds of dollars and not thousands of dollars.

I think one of the reasons behind the decision is that operationally they couldn't make it work on a consistent basis -- which probably made staffing a real headache.

Side note: I am glad we have Russell's peerless series on the hotel. By no means a Disney fanboy, Russell's written assessment was impressive by any standard.

May 18, 2023 at 3:21 PM

Oh I did enjoy that a lot. As he says, the cast members giving their all for the experience.

May 18, 2023 at 3:52 PM

Sounds like it was fun while it lasted. There is just not enough Star Wars fans okay with the new trilogy AND also having that kind of discretionary income to spend.

I fully expect the space to be used somehow as a small themed hotel or some sort of upcharge event that lasts a few hours.

May 18, 2023 at 4:46 PM

I don't see this as a failure. It was never likely to be a 'forever' experience in the way that the main theme parks are. Anything as niches as this has a limited market and limited appeal. That it has run for a year is good. Disney will have learnt a lot about interactive experiences and we can maybe expect to see some of those lessons start to filter into the parks.
At the end of the day Disney stepped up where no other theme park did. Over to you Universal....

May 18, 2023 at 5:25 PM

This is definitely a shame. The Starcruiser was starting to form a community, not dissimilar to the one created by The Adventurers Club. The uber talented cast deserves the upmost praise, and it will be sad that they won’t be able to show their immense talents in this unique environment.

Perhaps like Adventurers Club, the traditional theme park guest is not the right audience for this type of experience. Perhaps connecting this with WDW misled prospective guests and obviously the cost was a barrier to entry that served to generate hate towards a concept that was galaxies beyond what critics could comprehend.

May 18, 2023 at 6:53 PM

Halloween is right around the corner, Spirit Halloween is always looking for more space.

May 18, 2023 at 8:39 PM

The Defunctland documentary about this place will be great.

May 18, 2023 at 9:16 PM

David, it's hard to look at this and not call it a failure. If the Starcruiser was a success, then why leave money on the table and close it? The cost to build this place was too high for it to be temporary.

I do agree that we should at least applaud Disney for swinging for the fences on this one and trying something that hadn't been done before. Lessons will be learned and the building can probably get some good use as a hotel with interactive features.

May 18, 2023 at 9:34 PM

I applaud Disney for trying on this one, but there is so much hate for the new movies from the die hard fans. This was a tough sell, and the fact that they brought in so many influencers was a red flag.

I rarely saw a review that was believable from any of them. They even used the same buzzwords and language right out of the Approved Media handbook.

May 19, 2023 at 4:22 AM

A complete failure this was never meant to only last this long. Way over priced for what it was and may gaps in its availability for the last number of months which Disney simply couldn't fill.

May 19, 2023 at 6:21 AM

@N B: Russell's review was very balanced and actually made me reassess my initial negative opinion apart from it being to expensive for me.

May 19, 2023 at 6:49 AM

My issue with this hotel was always the price. Many bloggers/reporters/influencers were always stating it was worth booking a stay on it but when I brought up the $5,000-6,000 package price and stated I could spend that much by having a 2 week stay at WDW proper and squeeze in Universal Orlando and still have money leftover, many of them didn’t knew how to respond to that.

May 19, 2023 at 7:13 AM

I wish I'd had the opportunity to experience the GSC. From the assessments offered by those who actually set foot on the Halcyon, it seemed like a fantastic experience.

May 19, 2023 at 7:52 AM

This was doomed from the start and a perfect example of what happens when people running a corporation are smelling their own farts. No sane person is going to willingly pay $5,000 to be stuck in a Star Wars movie for 3 days while on vacation especially at Disney World where there is so much going on just outside the doors. To think that they actually spent hundreds of millions of dollars making a Star Wars experience that prices out like 99% of Star Wars fans will go down in history as one of those "what were you thinking"?? corporate blunders.

May 19, 2023 at 8:19 AM

@ the_man2: If the experience was overpriced, $5,000 for two guests to experience a one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive vacation experience (food, entertainment, activities accommodations and theme park access), the price tag excess would've been measured in hundreds of dollars, not thousands.

Further the reviews for those who did experience the GSC seemed to be largely positive -- meaning there are plenty of people who felt they got their money's worth.

May 19, 2023 at 8:21 AM

/\ A wise man once said, "they were doing so well that they had to go out of business"

May 19, 2023 at 8:36 AM

I did it about a year ago, and have mixed feelings about the experience and the closure.

The food was epic (best at Disney for me) and it's inclusion in the fare was cool. When I broke out the cost and everything included, the cost was fair-ish.

Where they lost me was lack of 'wow' spaces & moments. The atrium felt simple. The engine room & cargo holds were closets. No cool animatronics. The Yoda hologram was only available to a lucky few. Jedi training and bridge experiences were fun, but not nearly as exciting as the rides in Galaxy's edge. I'm guilty of wanting more than what they delivered. I also couldn't get into the role playing, but that's on me not Disney.

The rooms weren't particularly comfortable, especially compared to the other Disney resorts, so I'm not sure it would make a great stand alone hotel. I predict the building will sit, or be used for one-off hospitality events. I still believe though that Disney could make this epic if they want to invest more into it in the future.

May 19, 2023 at 8:50 AM

"I wish I'd had the opportunity to experience the GSC. From the assessments offered by those who actually set foot on the Halcyon, it seemed like a fantastic experience."

I respond: Well, there seemed to be a lot of "filler", and by that I mean line dancing in the lobby and bingo... not exactly a fantastic immersive Star Wars experience for $6000. Keep in mind, most of the absolutely fantastic reviews were from Disney approved media who aren't allowed to be objective.

Once again, defend Disney at all costs, even if that cost is your integrity. SMH.

May 19, 2023 at 9:22 AM

Boy TH Creative is sure having a hard time with Disney taking the L on this one.

If it was an experience that enough people felt was done to a degree that warranted the investment of time and money required, it would have been successful.

But it wasn’t and that’s the reason why it’s shutting down after barely making it a year. End of story.

So please stop it with this “it was the global economy” and other such nonsense.

May 19, 2023 at 9:24 AM

NB Writes: "Keep in mind, most of the absolutely fantastic reviews were from Disney approved media who aren't allowed to be objective."

Me: Do you have any real data that can back-up that "most" claim? Not saying it doesn't exist. Just wondering how you came to that conclusion.

May 19, 2023 at 9:30 AM

"Boy TH Creative is sure having a hard time with Disney taking the L on this one."

I respond: Agreed.

May 19, 2023 at 9:30 AM

I could probably write another 7 articles on the Starcruiser if given the space, but a lot of points are raised here...

As I noted in my original assessment of the experience, the price is definitely a barrier to entry, but when you look at it, it's also an assurance that all of the guests will have buy in, and will be looking to get the most out of the experience. In general, I think most Starcruiser guests understood this, and knew that 75% of what they were paying for was the talented cast. I think a lot of guests were expecting technology to take center stage on the Starcruiser - it uses loads of tech, but it's not as in your face as you would expect.

I think the FOMO effect really impacted the perception of the experience as well. The coverage of the Starcruiser was everywhere, and guests were bombarding the internet with videos of their interactions on the Halcyon. However, the attraction occurs in a very linear manner, and you can't just go back and try something again hoping for a different outcome. When you're paying so much money to do the Starcruiser, I think that rubbed a lot of guests the wrong way. As Bizrenty noted, there are vignettes (particularly on the second day) that are not experienced by all guests, and I'm sure there is some frustration when you get to the end and didn't get to see/experience scenes that you thought you would.

I think the biggest disconnect was the timeline chosen for the experience. It makes perfect sense to have the Starcruiser story layer on top of the stories on Batuu (Galaxy's Edge), which occurt between The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker. For the masses, Disney was able to get guests to accept being stuck in this point of the Star Wars timeline because they're able to rely on familiar tropes and design elements. However, on the Starcruiser, Disney wasn't able to use those same design elements, which ultimately looked generic instead of grounded in the Star Wars universe. Aside from a few scenes in Solo, Star Wars fans don't have a lot of references of how "the upper crust" live, so the designs utilized on the Halcyon don't quite scream "Star Wars" as much as some would prefer. I think it's also important to note that the price of experience most likely precludes younger Star Wars fans (20-30 somethings) from being able to afford a voyage, which is going to skew the demographics a bit older. Those older fans are more likely to be bigger fans of the Original Trilogy (and perhaps the Prequels), not Disney's interpretation of the IP. There are a few winks and nods to the OT, but wedging the Han/Leia story into the Halcyon was incredibly ham-handed. Disney basically created a Catch-22, because the people that most connected to the stories of the Starcruiser couldn't afford it, and those who could afford it didn't particularly connect with the stories. Now, the cast most likely would win you over even if you weren't a fan of the timeline, but there's something to be said for asking people to take a leap and invest a significant amount of money on an experience set in a time period that isn't really Star Wars for them. Ultimately, you ended up with a lot of guests showing up to the Starcruiser role playing generic sci-fi (there are photos of people wearing Starfleet uniforms and other sci-fi IP costumes), but the cast were still able to make it work, which proves the concept and showcases the talent of the cast.

I'm not sure what Disney could do with this. I think it's possible that you could do a 4-6 hour excursion from Batuu to the Starcruiser, but that renders the entire back half of the facility essentially useless. I highly doubt they could market it as a "Star Wars Hotel" without all of the role playing. There's far too much built into the building that facilitates the cast and crew that it wouldn't make sense to just make it a hotel - plus with cramped rooms, no pool, low capacity, and no self parking, it would be a tricky sell for general WDW guests, and so many would book the hotel hoping to get all the role playing that would no longer be supported. The Galactic Starcruiser was a built-for-purpose facility that can't simply be converted into a standard resort. Ultimately, I think Disney mothballs the building for perhaps a future expansion. I think if Disney could fill a resort like this with 1,000 guests with less intense role-playing aspect (more like a traditional cruise ship), people would still pay a premium while Disney could justify lowering the price point with a larger capacity to spread out the operational costs. The experience would lose many of the personal touches, but it would still represent a step beyond what a regular WDW resort provides.

May 19, 2023 at 9:34 AM

@TheOldCream - Where did I say anything about "the global economy"?

I agree with much of what is written here. I applaud Disney for swinging for the fence as others (including NB) have.

I believe the experience suffered from a reputation of being too expensive and that operating requirements were unwieldly. I think the only way it might have worked is if they made it available for seasonal dates and contracted staff providing full salaries even during the months it was not operating.

Speaking as someone who did not experience the GSC, I put great weight into the assessment published in the multi-part TPI review of the Halcyon. I hope Robert intends to keep that review posted so everyone has a chance to read it.

May 19, 2023 at 9:38 AM

"Me: Do you have any real data that can back-up that "most" claim? Not saying it doesn't exist. Just wondering how you came to that conclusion."

I respond: Yes, because everyone who got to stay for free on Disney's dime gave it a perfect glowing review. People who shelled out the 6K were much more honest. I have to dig up the email sent to influencers from the Mouse detailing exactly what language to use when posting about the GS.

Disney Approved Media has to walk on eggshells and post within their guidelines or the freebies stop arriving in the mail. So many pixie dusters that were cut off now have the freedom to speak all about how controlling that company can be.

May 19, 2023 at 9:44 AM

By the way, is there any doubt that the remaining available GSC dates will sell out? That is if they have not already sold out?

May 19, 2023 at 9:49 AM

It's not exactly a secret that the vast majority of early reviews for pretty much anything are bought and paid for, and if they dog the company too much they will no longer get invitations. Extremely prevalent in every industry at this point.

May 19, 2023 at 10:02 AM

"It's not exactly a secret that the vast majority of early reviews for pretty much anything are bought and paid for, and if they dog the company too much they will no longer get invitations. Extremely prevalent in every industry at this point."

Exactly. And we all knew everyone on the first couple "voyages" were there just to hype up the experience. It all just seemed contrived. Almost no one fell for it, and it set the tone for reviewers going forward.

That quickly deleted promo video with the kid from the Goldbergs also didn't help. I had no idea he was in character from the show. Just bad marketing and decisions from Disney all around.

I think it was a good idea with bad execution. When you want to build something like this, you round up the 100 biggest Star Wars nerds and get their input first.

The funny thing is, if they ever built a Harry Potter / Hogwarts hotel, only one person would get to sign off on every detail. Did Lucas have any input on this or was it all Disney Imagineering?

May 19, 2023 at 10:04 AM

I do applaud Disney for trying it and for me the biggest problem wasn't the price but the timeline. If your going to have something at that high a cost it needed to be with the original characters. As mentioned before most people with the money to go are older and therefore don't really care about the new Star Wars.

This was one of the main reasons we didn't try it ourselves. I would have been far more tempted to go had it been the original characters. An attraction like this was always going to be super expensive due to the amount of staff required so I don't fault Disney for the price. I do think they also shot themselves in the foot by not offering proper luxury hotel facilities such as a spa and pool. People who can afford this kind of experience expect a certain level of luxury so it was always going to be a hard sell.

Another reason for me not trying it is that our friends that did go said overall they enjoyed most of it but they didn't find it was worth the money. The hotel was just not comfortable enough at that price point. I mean if your going to charge like a Ritz-Carlton, St-Regis or Four Seasons you need to have comfortable rooms and facilities. Ultimately for us and based on a real review from our friends we decided we wouldn't try it.

I do echo many comments on here saying most of the reviews were completely false. I do think many honestly loved it when reviewing but the fact that they didn't pay to stay kind of discredits their opinion. Having herd from many people that actually paid to stay the overall feedback was the same. Its okay but not worth it....

May 19, 2023 at 10:12 AM

I attended the media preview, and was not sent ANYTHING by Disney that limited my honest review (including many critiques) of the experience. Robert did not perform any substantive edits to my articles, so I doubt there was any pressure on his end from Disney that future access was predicated on positive coverage.

I cannot attest to what other outlets/influencers were told, but what was published on TPI was completely unfiltered. Now, there's something to be said for being given a $5,000+ experience (in addition to travel and lodging, and exclusive access to creators/designers), but I feel that I did my best to provide a balanced and unbiased account of the experience. Don't get me wrong, I felt like I won the lottery when Robert asked me to cover the Starcruiser, but I still approached the experience with a critical eye and an open mind. I tried to stick to the facts when describing the space and interactions, and provided objective commentary of what I experienced. It's the same approach I've attempted to take for all of the new attraction openings I've covered on behalf of TPI.

May 19, 2023 at 10:20 AM

1. Thank you Russell

2. Beyond the assumptions of a couple of posters who are motivated to prove their points, there is nothing substantive to support the claim that a "vast majority of early reviews for" the GSC were "bought and paid for".

May 19, 2023 at 10:21 AM

The building will become a goldmine for youtube urban explorers to break into.

May 19, 2023 at 11:55 AM

@Russell -- My apologies for not clarifying I do think that you and theme park insider as a whole was fair in its reviews of the experience. My comments were more targeted at youtuber's and other reviews I had seen which where clearly biased.

May 19, 2023 at 11:57 AM

(Trying not to say it....)


You can't go into the abandoned SWGS building because... IT'S A TRAP!

(Forgive me.)

May 19, 2023 at 12:04 PM

The Starcruiser, for me, is the ultimate representation of Bob Chapek's time at Disney. A totally soulless experience catering solely to the ultra-rich that completely misunderstands why people like Star Wars or Walt Disney World. Good riddance, and I hope Disney never tries anything like this again and remembers who built their empire and who actually enjoys their parks. Iger/d'Amaro have done a pretty good job so far, and I hope they're able to continue re-building trust after Chapek's disastrous run, both at Parks & Resorts and as CEO.

May 19, 2023 at 12:10 PM


To borrow a phrase from @TH Creative:

“Standing and applauding”

May 19, 2023 at 12:27 PM

evanweston: "The Starcruiser, for me, is the ultimate representation of Bob Chapek's time at Disney" and then adds "Iger/d'Amaro have done a pretty good job so far, and I hope they're able to continue re-building trust after Chapek's disastrous run, both at Parks & Resorts and as CEO."

Me: For the record, Robert Iger was CEO when the GSC was green-lit in 2017.

evanweston writes: "A totally soulless experience catering solely to the ultra-rich that completely misunderstands why people like Star Wars or Walt Disney World".

Me: I know four people who experienced the GSC and none are ultra rich. By the way have you actually been on the GSC? Just wondering how you can conclude it was a "soulless experience"?

May 19, 2023 at 1:11 PM

For the record, I was on the Galactic Starcruiser with a number of the social media influencers, and while I cannot definitively state that they were or were not given directives or guidance from Disney in terms of what they should or should not cover on their channels, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some "ground rules" (i.e. limitations on live streaming and the general coverage embargo) provided by Disney for a group of people not familiar with how a traditional theme park media experience on a new attraction should be. Social media influencers are a completely different breed, and they make their living off name dropping, brand endorsing, product placing, and lavishing praise on their "sponsors". It would not surprise me one bit that to these influencers, receiving the invitation to the Galactic Starcruiser made them feel obligated to LOVE and sell the experience to their subscribers with over-the-top enthusiasm. Since so many of these people tend to be bundles of walking, talking hyperbole, they came off as sounding "bought off" and fake. In reality, you could probably say they were "bought off", because they may very well have viewed it that way, but the likelihood is that their guidance and instructions on covering the event from Disney was no different from what I was provided.

I do think that many of the other mainstream and more journalistic-based reviews of the attraction were relatively consistent with what was presented here, though they tended to run with the sensationalist angle of the price tag because that obviously generated the most clicks (just like the $5k Star Wars drink on Wish). I feel that TPI does its best to stray from click bait fodder, but it ultimately is what allows a community like this to exist.

I also think there was such a high variability in this experience that you just couldn't get a real feel for it from a single source, particularly one that doesn't follow theme parks regularly to understand what they're experiencing or doesn't have a vested interest in the IP. There were obviously people on the media voyage that were there for themselves, and others who were there just to get clicks/subscribers, and had no idea how to appropriately cover the experience - personally, I had a heck of a time framing TPI's coverage of it because it's such a unique experience. I've seen very few outlets aside from traditional news and Star Wars fan sources that have included interviews and quotes from Imagineers in their coverage of Galactic Starcruiser. Heck, even USAToday's coverage was pretty weak, probably because this experience can't be accurately captured in their "capsule" style of reporting (FWIW, I thought CNET was really one of the best if you care to go back and look at another outlet's view). Obviously, different publications have different audiences and are going to tell their stories from different angles, but to not allow the creators to tell their story and describe some of the decisions they made seemed like a disservice to any audience curious about the Starcruiser.

May 19, 2023 at 5:26 PM

Now who would of thunk !?

May 19, 2023 at 7:38 PM

@Russlle Meyer

I can definitely see that from influencers. Heck, I remember them praising at their TikTok channel the food at Toadstool’s Cafe and after the land officially opened at Hollywood, most of the comments from their fans have been negative, basically telling them it’s all lies.

May 19, 2023 at 7:48 PM

They lost me with not having a pool/gym.

May 19, 2023 at 7:57 PM

You all are really going to carry Disney's water on this one? There was never enough value for the price. For less money, I just stayed 4 nights at a themed Xcaret hotel with all you can eat incredible food, all drinks included (including alcoholic), an ocean view, on-site entertainment, free transportation to and from airport, and access to all their parks (which included an IAAPA award winning show). It's hard to believe I would have had a memorable experience on the Galactic Starcruiser.

I get that it was more immersive than what you get at the parks, but it seems like the internal analysts at the company should have raised the red flags before this thing was greenlit.

May 20, 2023 at 11:22 AM

"You all are really going to carry Disney's water on this one? - It's a tough pill for the die-hards to swallow. Same with Disney+... losing money and subscribers quickly. I personally like the streaming service, but now they are "vaulting" certain movies to force to you buy physical media if you want it.

Less content, and prices are going up again. Disney is misfiring on many cylinders right now, and that governor down there has no clue how to run a state and keep the largest employer happy.

May 20, 2023 at 11:39 AM

The Starcruiser, like Galaxy's Edge, was a fantastic idea that was spoiled by poor follow-through. If GE was filled with characters, as was originally intended, it might be beloved. As it stands, everyone complains it's an empty place that doesn't evoke Star Wars because no one lives there.

The hotel could have been amazing, but they cut corners and served up a medium experience. Few were blown away, which is what you would need to be to justify the price point.

Ultimately, the problem with the hotel and Galaxy's Edge is that Disney ruined Star Wars. Rise of Skywalker is the worst movie of the nine, and ruins everything good about the first two new movies. There was a moment where people cared about Rey and Kylo Ren, but Rise flushed those characters down the toilet. So yes, everyone wishes the real Star Wars characters were there, but it's more than that--the new characters largely suck. Kylo Ren isn't scary any more, he's a wannabe lover man who smooches Rey in the last movie. The red hair guy isn't scary, he's actually a good-guy spy. The first order isn't scary, they get pushed aside by the real bad guy, the reborn Emperor.

Disney decided to promote THEIR version of Star Wars, and then royally screwed up their version. It's like visiting a land based on the Matrix movies--who cares when the source material is lame??

May 20, 2023 at 12:02 PM

thecolonel: "The hotel could have been amazing, but they cut corners and served up a medium experience."

Me: Uh-huh ... And when did you visit the hotel that qualified you to make that assessment?

May 20, 2023 at 12:22 PM

When we are evaluating whether or not the GSC was a failure are we saying it was a failure as a business model or a failure because of the quality of the product/performance?

Or both?

If it's a failure because of the quality of the product/performance, I would defer that kind of assessment to those who actually experienced the show. I don't thank that's an unreasonable way of drawing a conclusion.

If it's a failure because of the business model, then I would ask if we should consider the Adventurers Club a failure? As I understand it, the reason the club closed was because guests would only buy one or two drinks and then linger to see the shows. This prevented guest turnover and reduced cash flow -- making the model too expensive to operate. If that's the case, do we consider the Adventurers Club to be a Disney failure?

May 20, 2023 at 12:25 PM

NB: "People who shelled out the 6K were much more honest."

Me: Yeah ... I'll take your word for it.


May 20, 2023 at 1:05 PM

TH, I promise Disney isn't going to care if you don't post whiny defenses of them on every story that embarrasses them.

May 20, 2023 at 1:13 PM

It’s fairly obvious what’s going on here…

The Galactic Starcruiser was such a phenomenal success that Disney is facing no other choice but to shutter it in an effort to preserve it from the massive influx of PAYING customers. Can’t have said customers coming through and messing up perfection.

Meanwhile back in reality…

May 20, 2023 at 2:04 PM

I would be cautious with any review that happened before the official opening. The early reviewers may not have been “bought” by Disneybin the form of money exchanging hands, but Disney bloggers and news outlets do live in fear of their early access creditials being revoked, and being Disney fans first, not willing to lose them by reporting a bad review.

Having said that, there is one Disney blogging outlet that I follow that clearly state they pay their own way to everything (including the first voyage after official opening) and state it was a fantastic experience. However, they stated there are other places (real places) that can be seen for the same amount or less and for a longer time, and that maybe do that before the Starcruiser.

For those who keeping complaining about the timeline in the parks and the Starcruiser and wanting the OT: I’m a long time, die-hard fan ther saw Episode 4 in theaters back in 1977. I cannot accept any other Luke, Han, or Leia unless played by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, or Carrie Fisher (although Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover did fantastic jobs of a young Han and Lando….ESPECIALLY Glover), however I can accept about any cast member to play Rey.

Finally, if the new trilogy was such a failure, Disney would not announce a new trilogy or films with Daisy Ridley reprising her role as Rey (and I hope John Boyega and Oscar Isaac can and will sight on, too!)

May 20, 2023 at 2:39 PM

If the Adventurers Club closed because it cost more to run than the revenue that was being brought in, then yes that would mark an operations failure.

There seems to be a lot of negative connotation with the word "failure" that doesn't need to exist. This was an experiment (albeit an expensive one) that didn't work out in the long-run. You can slice it any way you want, but the Starcruiser was objectively a failure. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Walt had many failures during his time (anyone remember the bra shop or the Mickey Mouse Club Circus at Disneyland?). That never stopped him from continuing to experiment.

May 20, 2023 at 2:55 PM

So evanweston goes after me while avoiding to directly address the specific thoughts I've posted.

Outstanding work.

I am grateful that Trex introduced the qualifier "operational failure". That would seem to imply that the management of the product was the problem, and not the quality of the show.

May 20, 2023 at 3:41 PM

Oh, TH. It's going on about 15 years now where I constantly read your Disney apologist diatribes. If you know how to work the YouTube on the internet machine, you can easily find paying custom reviews vs influencer / paid shills.

You did get unlimited blue and green milk, so that was pretty cool.

May 20, 2023 at 4:56 PM

@ NB: If they are so easily found why can't you seem to find them?

And frankly, I am surprised you're taking exception with what I have offered up on this thread. First, because I agree with your assessment -- "I applaud Disney for trying on this one ..." Second, because I take what I think is a reasonable position that I won't judge the quality of a product (either as a home run or a dud) without having experienced it. And third, because I tend to agree with James Trexen that this may well have been an "operational failure".

This is from my first post on the thread: "I think one of the reasons behind the decision is that operationally they couldn't make it work on a consistent basis -- which probably made staffing a real headache."

Where exactly do I play the role of apologist or Gunga Din if I am posting these conclusions as a result of the ideas shared in this discussion?

May 20, 2023 at 6:52 PM

thecolonel: "As it stands, everyone complains it's an empty place that doesn't evoke Star Wars because no one lives there."

Well, I don't complain as I loved it when there at Disneyland in March. A great experience overall, got to see some characters about and amazing capturing the feel of the films.

And I'm always bemused at the "Disney ruined Star Wars" lines often coming from the people who, in early 2012, were complaining the franchise was in a rut and "someone besides Lucas has to be in charge."

May 20, 2023 at 7:23 PM

TH, you seem to have Disney myopia. You are too close to the problems to see them clearly. Time after time, thread after thread, you always have some reason or excuse for Disney failures other than Disney.

The Galactic Starcruiser was just plain failure. It seems like Disney's failures affect you personally, or something to that effect. Overpriced, wrong movie trilogy, and not a whole lot do do on board.

Line dancing and bingo in the lobby... now that's immersion.

May 20, 2023 at 9:04 PM

@ NB: So you’ve actually been in a star war, in a galaxy far, far away a long time ago and such? You know from personal experience that they didn’t have line dancing and bingo, thus your “false immersion” assertion?

May 21, 2023 at 7:07 AM

NB: "The Galactic Starcruiser was just plain failure."

Me Nonetheless you still "applaud Disney for trying on this one ..."

May 21, 2023 at 9:07 AM

“TH Creative @TheOldCream - Where did I say anything about "the global economy"?

Uh, it’s literally in your first post. You technically said “the world economy” but the message was still the same and that you are somehow blaming greater economic factors on the GSC’s failure as opposed to it being a poorly planned and executed project by Disney.

May 21, 2023 at 10:20 AM

TOC: "Uh, it’s literally in your first post. You technically said 'the world economy".

So both "literally" and "Technically". I am quite the dialectic gymnast, aren't I?


May 21, 2023 at 11:36 AM

TH, I did applause the effort. The original concept was changed from the original trilogy the sequels. I have said it before and I'll say it again, I like the new movies better than any of the previous 6.

Sadly, most people disagree with me. Disney will either turn it into something else, or re-theme it to original trilogy, but then it doesn't tie into Galaxy's Edge.

They'd be foolish to let it all go to waste. They should offer one night stays for maybe $800-1000 (for four) with a dinner show (separate charge), bridge tour, and lightsaber training. Throw in front of the line for Rise, and the Falcon.

May 21, 2023 at 11:45 AM

Yeah, Disney based their billion dollars land on stories and characters are not very popular with people. They could have used the OT characters, which remain wildly popular, but they chose to foreground the characters from the Disney Star Wars movies, and most people could care less about them after the third movie.

So the land is missing the essential ingredient that drew most people to Star Wars. Rises of the Resistance is amazing ride, but gosh, imagine if it included characters you actually care about, and not those also-rans who Disney effectively flushed down the toilet in Rise of Skywalker. it's a shame.

May 21, 2023 at 6:03 PM

The only way that Rise could have added OT characters would have been through either animatronics or face changing special effects like done in 2016’s “Rogue One” with numerous characters (including Princess Leia) or more recently with the character of Luke Skywalker in season 2 of “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett”. The toxic Star Wars fans cried that they weren’t real looking enough, so if OT characters were trying to be added from the start, the haters would just have something else to complain about.

May 21, 2023 at 11:54 PM

This project failed because not enough folks wanted to spend a small fortune for two days/nights of "live action role playing" in a small windowless building.

May 22, 2023 at 12:38 AM

Well, the fallout continues from the Galactic Starcruiser. Apparently, Kathleen Kennedy found out about the decision to close the hotel at the same time as the cast members.

I posted on a Disney Facebook page... "Only the moon has had less visitors than the Galactic Starcruiser". I was immediately lambasted by pixie dusters.

May 22, 2023 at 10:48 AM

I think in the most simplistic terms, it's easy to label this a "failure". Ultimately, the attraction will be shut down after @18 months of operation. I highly doubt Disney spent all the money necessary to develop and build the Galactic Starcruiser to have it run for less than 2 years, but the economic reality of a product like this is much easier to analyze than an attraction or show that had a similarly short run (i.e. HarmoniUS or Rivers of Light). The Galactic Starcruiser was ONLY dependent upon itself for revenue, so it's easier for bean counters to justify or pan the investment, and probably explains why they could pull the plug so quickly.

I tend to believe that Disney had the best of intentions when they launched this attraction, but seriously misread the marketplace. As Robert has noted, this is a very boutique-style product, and while Disney has been plowing more and more energy and investment into wooing high-dollar guests, they will always be viewed as an "everyman"/blue collar destination. Not only that, I strongly believe that Imagineers were forced to cut some corners and made compromises in delivering the Galactic Starcruiser (through the pandemic), which lowered the appeal to some of those coveted high-dollar guests, while still necessitating the high overhead and operational costs of the attraction, which kept the price prohibitively high to many hard core Star Wars fans. The Starcruiser ended up sitting in a no-man's land in the theme park world - between the typical Disney experience (even for those willing to spend extra for some extra pixie dust) and the full-on VIP treatment. While I think from a pure value standpoint, the Starcruiser was a decent value compared to some other Disney upcharge experiences, it always came back to the $5-6k for 3-days/2 night that made headlines and offered the biggest clickbait.

For as expensive as Disney is, and how frequently they pull their cost control levers to manage demand, people want to continue to portray WDW experiences as something everyone can (or should) be able to do regardless of your financial means. To so many Disney watchers, if Disney puts out a product, even the factory worker in rural America should be able to experience it. Not everything is for everyone, and that's what's so magical about Disney. However, the vitriol that erupts when Disney launches something that is perceived as "elitist" is deafening.

When it comes to the Starcruiser, as TH and others have noted, Disney could not execute the concept without those high overhead costs, meaning the price had to be precipitously high. Also, I think a lot of guests probably didn't understand or appreciate what it took to make the Starcruiser experience a reality (I tried to offer some insight into what it took to bring the experience to life), and the shortcuts undoubtedly taken during the construction and execution phases to control costs stand as black eyes on an experience that probably doesn't hit all the notes for some guests shelling out their life savings. Ultimately, the Starcruiser couldn't be everything for everyone, and by marketing it as such - trying to entice Star Wars fans, general sci-fi fans, role playing fans, and normal theme park fans, Disney couldn't make it viable while balancing the books, and because of that I think history will look at this as a failure on multiple levels.

May 22, 2023 at 11:18 AM

Russell, you are always spot on and objective. Bravo.

May 22, 2023 at 12:03 PM

@TH- The OPINION that you expressed about the GSC closing because of global economic conditions was LITERALLY in your first post. Kind of sad that I have to explain this to you.

May 22, 2023 at 2:53 PM

This reminds me of a great bit on the "Imagineering Story" doc on Disney+ where Eisner is up front on the mistakes of Euro Disney like "we built four resorts for what was essentially a one-day park, that was dumb." It's an old story, misreading the market, happens in hotels, cruise lines and others and Disney isn't exempt as what sounded like a great idea on paper met reality.

May 23, 2023 at 8:26 AM

I think everyone is failing to remember, a lot of the attractions / activities which were Originally slated for Galaxy's Edge were moved to the Starcruiser for an upcharge. That worked out well.

May 23, 2023 at 10:31 AM

@NB - You raise an interesting point. However, I will note that a lot of the attractions/activities originally pitched/rumored for Galaxy's Edge could never have feasibly worked in the way they were imagined or the way they were ultimately executed on the Galactic Starcruiser.

I guess the biggest one is the cosplaying aspect. When I first walked into Disneyland's version of the land back in July 2017, I instantly thought they needed an area for guests to change into costumes so they can "play out their Star Wars stories" as Imagineers promised. However, Disney chose to maintain their parks' costuming prohibition into the new land. A lot of folks found ways around it, but I always thought it was a lost opportunity for Disney, particularly from a revenue generating perspective. In my initial review of Galaxy's Edge, I noted how it could be like a local Renaissance Festival where guests could rent and either change into their rented or owned costumes once they stepped into Batuu. Disney will gladly sell guests costumes in Black Spire Outpost, but are hesitant to allow them to wear them around the parks. The reason guests can't openly cosplay on Batuu isn't because Disney wanted or needed to put it behind a paywall, it's because they wanted to eliminate any confusion about their in-park costume rules.

One of the other features rumored for Galaxy's Edge that was lacking in the execution of the land was the character interactivity. This is obviously where the Galactic Starcruiser really fills the void that Disney was unable to feasibly execute on Batuu. Disney tried to push some of the interactivity onto the DataPad App and CMs, but because of that, the final product is at best uneven. I've had good character interactions within Galaxy's Edge, but it's obviously not to the level that I expected based on how Imagineers presented the concept. As I noted in my original thoughts on the land, the setting plays a big role in why characters are not as interactive as guests may want. The "hero" characters (Ray, Chewie, and Vai) have to remain in the shadows of a land occupied by the First Order, so in order for them to stay in character, they can't take time to interact with guests. On the other hand, the "villain" characters can spend time interacting with guests, but are understandably combative and not necessarily the most appealing characters to interact with. The obvious reason for the lack of interactivity is money, which is why Starcruiser guests get a completely different experience with their high-priced fare (also why Starcruiser guests are asked to wear pins while on their excursion to Batuu so CMs and on-world characters can roll out the red carpet for the high-rollers). Cost is always going to limit what Disney can do with character interactions on Galaxy's Edge, but it's clear if they can establish an upcharge, they can hit the mark, but it just can't work the way Imagineers envisioned with regular park guests. Disney tried to bridge the gap with DataPad, but it just doesn't fill the void, though I have yet to try the Bounty Hunters game (not that I would go out of my way to buy a Magic Band+ to play).

The other big attraction that ended up on the Starcruiser that was originally conceived for Galaxy's Edge was the dinner show. There's still space in both versions of Galaxy's Edge to house a dinner theater that is very similar in size to the Crown of Corellia Dining Room on the Halcyon. Disney could easily finish out this space and shift the dinners on the Starcruiser over to Batuu, and it would instantly sell out. It's clear Disney didn't want to offer the dinner show on Batuu because they didn't want to undermine the shows on the Starcruiser. However, with the Starcruiser closing, I could easily see Disney completing the space and selling pre-fixe meals in the space (like Hoop-de-doo or the Luau).

May 24, 2023 at 9:58 AM

@ TheOldCream: Read that first post again. I wasn't drawing conclusions about the current economic impact the world economy had on the GSC. In fact I was quoting the content from a thread composed by the_man2 over on the discussion page.

May 25, 2023 at 11:11 AM

Russell, I agree with your assessment 100%.

I think Disney would be smart to use the Galactic Starcruiser as a one night stay exclusive event. Have guests show up around 4PM for lightsaber training, bridge tour, and a dinner show, let them stay one night, maybe an early breakfast the next morning, and a trip to Galaxy's Edge (front of the line access), then back for checkout.

The could scale back all the First Order drama and just make it fun.

I love the idea, just bad execution and a bit pricey.

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