The Galactic Starcruiser Resort Is Great - If You Want It To Be
Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort might be the best addition to the Disney theme parks in the last several years.
Galactic Starcruiser has faced some backlash from fans over recent months. In fact, the resort’s first trailer was so bad, Disney ended up removing it from YouTube. This weekend was the media preview at the Galactic Starcruiser resort, though, and Star Wars fans were finally able to see what the controversial experience is like.
The truth? Galactic Starcruiser is amazing… if you want it to be.
This is Not a Hotel
One of the first takeaways from the media preview this weekend was that the Galactic Starcruiser is not a hotel. It’s extremely different from any of Disney’s hotels. For the two days of the Starcruiser’s “voyage”, guests are supposed to stay aboard the ship, much like the experience of being on a cruise.
The “resort” is designed so there’s plenty to do and see for those 48 hours. Even when it is time to check out, Disney made sure to integrate the storyline of the resort into their larger Walt Disney World environment, specifically Galaxy’s Edge. The destination for the Halcyon (the name of the Starcruiser) is Batuu, an Outer Rim world that is also the setting of Galaxy’s Edge.
So, the Galactic Starcruiser resort is more than a themed hotel. It’s not a lazy land-bound cruise, either, though. The Starcruiser is something entirely new and largely untested. It’s basically a giant two-day Star Wars LARP… and Disney stuck the landing. But they need guests to get on board for their strategy to work.
Taking the Plunge On Immersion
Whether or not you have a good experience at the Galactic Starcruiser resort is up to you. The main draw of the experience is the experience. Disney is not selling a slew of theme park rides here. The Starcruiser is all about letting go and playing pretend so you can be immersed in the Star Wars world for a couple of days.
The Halcyon has its own overarching story for guests to join in on. It includes “Choose Your Own Adventure” style pathways for the Resistance, First Order, Jedi, and “Underworld”, which is basically smugglers and traders in the vein of Han Solo. The voyage itself is set between Episode 8, The Last Jedi, and Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker. This gap allows the resort to include character interactions with names and faces from the sequel trilogy, like Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren.
All of the cast members and staff on board the ship are in character all the time. By exploring the ship, interacting with the details and features tucked away everywhere, and talking with cast members, you can join in on story moments all over the Halcyon. Guests use “datapads” to send and receive in-character texts, which is how many story moments start. How you respond to all of these characters (in person or otherwise) will control the story you follow and create.
At the same time, though, there isn’t any “pre-programmed” story. Every single guest will have a unique combination of story moments and character interactions throughout the Halcyon’s general story. You could visit the resort three back-to-back weekends and have three completely different experiences.
When it comes to design, the trailers for the Galactic Starcruiser resort do not do it justice. Little details really take the experience to a new level of immersion. For example, all of the signs and maps around the ship are in Aurebesh as well as English. All of the ship’s windows are synced so that the view outside matches the map of the ship’s voyage to Batuu. The non-human cast members look absolutely incredible, as well, particularly the Rodian keyboard player.
The set, cast, and story are there for guests to enjoy. Disney can’t force anyone to wear a Star Wars costume, though, or participate in the story moments. As a guest, it’s up to you to do those things, which will make t
he Galactic Starcruiser resort more fun for you and everyone else. It’s not just kids getting in on the action!
The Galactic Starcruiser’s Controversy
The experience of the Starcruiser and its design are unfortunately the source of a lot of controversy in the Star Wars community. Some of the biggest Star Wars social media personalities have criticized the resort for months now. To a certain extent, those criticisms are valid. The first trailer Disney released for the Galactic Starcruiser was uninspiring, to say the least.
Nonetheless, the Galactic Starcruiser resort does not deserve as much hate as it’s getting. Older fans are unhappy that the resort’s story is set during the sequel trilogy, for example. The reality is that Disney invested a massive amount of money into this resort, which is geared in a large part toward families. Kids today will be most familiar with the sequel trilogy. The Galaxy’s Edge theme park is also set during the sequel trilogy time period.
This is not in any way meant to “ignore” the prequel or original trilogies. It is simply a wise marketing decision on Disney’s part since the sequel trilogy offered the best opportunity to tell a self-contained story in the current Star Wars universe.
The original trilogy is old enough that today’s kids might not be familiar with it and the sequel trilogy has moved on from its events. Similarly, the prequel trilogy presents some technical challenges that even Disney would have trouble overcoming. For example, they would have a tough time making convincing Separatist droids that could autonomously walk the halls like First Order stormtroopers.
The media preview revealed way more details about the resort, though, which helps address some of the confusion and frustration fans were feeling. The interior design, for example, actually looks surprisingly good. At least, it is much better in person than the trailers suggested. The food received good reviews, too. Disney managed to take recipes that guests would be familiar with and make them look like otherworldly dishes.
The Price of a Galaxy Far, Far Away
One major part of the Galactic Starcruiser Resort’s controversy was its sky-high price tag. For two guests, it costs over $1200 per person per night. Larger groups get a slight discount, but this is still a very expensive vacation for a family of four or more, especially for something that is only a couple of days long. The price does include all your meals, though, with the exception of alcoholic or specialty drinks. You also get admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park for the “planetary excursion” to Galaxy’s Edge.
So, is the Galactic Starcruiser resort as bad as the hype has made it sound? That is entirely up to you. Any Star Wars fan could have a lot of fun with this experience, but coming in without the right attitude will ruin it, for yourself and others. To really enjoy Galactic Starcruiser, you have to allow yourself to play pretend and just roll with it. Explore, talk to other guests and cast members, create your own character, and give the Halcyon a chance to impress you.