Disney World’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Is Shutting DownPhotos courtesy of Disney Travel News star wars: galactic starcruiser
If you ever wanted to take a cruise on the spaceship Halcyon, you better make your plans soon. Today Disney announced that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the luxury immersive experience often referred to as “the Star Wars hotel,” will be closing for good later this year. Its final voyage runs from Sept. 28 to Sept. 30, ending the Starcruiser’s run at Disney World after only 19 months.
Despite routinely being called a hotel, Galactic Starcruiser is far more ambitious than a typical theme park resort. It’s closer to a theme park itself than it is a hotel. It’s the closest you can get to actually living in the world of Star Wars, with dozens of actors telling an interactive story that unfolds over a two night stay in an intricately detailed space. It’s like a cruise that’s on land but makes you think you’re in space, and to get the most out of it you really have to commit to its live-action role-play aspect.
You also have to be prepared to spend a lot of money. Starcruiser packages are notoriously expensive, and if you want to spend time in any of Disney World’s theme parks outside of the Star Wars section of Hollywood Studios, you’ll need to book a separate hotel and buy park tickets on top of the Starcruiser cost. Star Wars might be the biggest thing in pop culture over the last 46 years, but the number of people willing to pay thousands of dollars a night to LARP on a fake Star Wars cruise ship obviously isn’t high enough to sustain the Starcruiser.
In a statement released today, Disney notes that “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever” and has set “a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment.” They also basically admit that its death is due to its inaccessibility, saying that the company “will take what we’ve learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans.”
Paste wasn’t able to experience the full two-night presentation, but during an abbreviated preview we were impressed by the scope of the story told on the Starcruiser and the commitment its actors made to staying in character. It’s also home to Disney’s second-best Star Wars bar; the Sublight Lounge can’t measure up to Oga’s Cantina, but it’s a busier and more welcoming saloon than the Hyperspace Lounge on the Disney Wish cruise ship. The Starcruiser has a lot of the storytelling concepts that were originally teased for Galaxy’s Edge, including some great new walkaround characters, and hopefully some of them might start showing up in the theme park now that the role-playing hotel is closing.
Disney hasn’t said what it’ll be doing with the Starcruiser after it closes. It’d be a shame to tear it all down, but even without a large cast it might not be profitable to run it as a cheaper and more traditional hotel. Galactic Starcruiser had its fair share of critics even outside the expense, but hopefully Disney preserves some of what made it special, only in a more accessible form.
If you have a Starcruiser booking for after Sept. 30, expect to hear from Disney about changing your plans. If you hope to schedule a trip before it closes, note that booking has been suspended until May 26. If you’ve already been on the Galactic Starcruiser, congratulations on experiencing something very few people will have had the opportunity to do, and also congratulations on being rich and/or well connected.