Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser explained: Why Disney’s expensive hotel is proving controversial
You’ll get the chance beginning next month to live in the incredible universe George Lucas created in 1977, as Disney’s long-awaited Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser opens to the public. This themed hotel is only in Florida’s Disney World, accompanies Galaxy’s Edge (aka Star Wars Land) and has proven controversial.
Much of the issue lies in the pricing, since it’ll apparently cost at least $4,809 for a two-night stay, and online sentiment for this attraction has varied from mildly hopeful to intensely critical. It took a hard negative turn after Disney released a promotional video in December — fans slammed the hotel’s look, the activities and the tone of the preview. The company deleted the video, but the damage was done, and some people said they canceled their reservations.
It doesn’t help that it’s a primarily indoor attraction opening during a pandemic that forced Disney to close its parks back in 2020. The company has also been weathering criticism for Genie Plus, its $15 to $20 a day alternative to FastPass.
Despite all this, the allure of a weekend in a galaxy far, far away (from your financial concerns) is unquestionable. Let’s take a closer look at Galactic Starcruiser before you decide to splash out for this Star Wars experience.
What is Galactic Starcruiser?
It’s a themed hotel designed to work with Galaxy’s Edge to create an immersive experience at the Hollywood Studios park in Disney World, Florida. You stay for two nights, engaging in a bunch of Star Wars-y activities and taking a trip to the planet Batuu — better known as Galaxy’s Edge — where you can engage in unique missions and get guaranteed spots on rides like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance.
Disney described the attraction as “part live immersive theater, part themed environment, part culinary extravaganza, part real-life role-playing game.” You can interact with characters on the cruiser and choose if you want to stick to the First Order’s rules, help out the Resistance in a secret plot or work with the galaxy’s rogues.
It doesn’t seem like you’ll have to engage with the narrative all the time, either — you can just chill out whenever you’d like. It’s supposed to be a vacation, after all.
When is Galactic Starcruiser opening?
The hotel is scheduled to open on Tuesday, March 1.
How much does a stay on Galactic Starcruiser cost?
The cost will vary depending on the number of guests and your choice of cabin, but it’ll be expensive. Disney’s sample pricing shows two guests will pay $4,809 for a two-night trip, which works out at $1,209 per guest per night.
The cost per person drops as your party grows — three guests (two adults and one child) will cost $5,299 total, or $889 per guest per night, and four guests (three adults and one child) will cost $6,000 total, or $749 per guest per night.
Those rates are for standard cabins, which can fit up to five people. Pricing for the fancier Galaxy Class Suite (which can accommodate four people) and Grand Captain Suite (which can fit up to eight) isn’t immediately available on the website. Disney declined to comment further on those prices.
What happens during my Galactic Starcruiser stay?
The sample itinerary suggests your stay will be pretty busy. Each activity lasts around 30 minutes, while dinner takes up an hour and 30 minutes. Disney noted that story moments will occur unexpectedly, so there’s clearly plenty of wiggle room within this interactive immersive theater experience.
You arrive at 1 p.m. and your afternoon includes ship orientation, light refreshments, learning how to play sabacc (the card game Han Solo and Lando Calrissian play in Solo), a muster (roll call) and the captain’s reception.
The evening of day 1 will be taken up with a dinner featuring live music and “outer rim regalia” (which sounds like a fashion show).
This will be followed by your first “unexpected” story moment, in which you pass some kind of test to join an elite smuggling ring or hide a stowaway to help the Resistance — essentially joining a faction. It’s unclear how many other choices you’ll have, whether you’ll be locked into this choice for later story moments or how extensively it’ll change the remainder of your stay.
Once this is done, you can take bridge training and enjoy special atrium entertainment until 8:45 p.m. After that, it would appear you’re free to wander the ship as you please.
Hope you didn’t wander the ship too late, since breakfast is at 7 a.m. It’s followed by a morning trip to Batuu (Galaxy’s Edge) and a guaranteed entry to Rise of the Resistance.
Your next story moment comes after this, with Disney suggesting you might broker a deal for a heist or arrange to steal a ship from the First Order.
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Then you’ll be able to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and have lunch at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. This lunch credit gets you a meal at another participating Disney’s Hollywood Studios restaurant if you prefer, but that would break the Star Wars immersion.
You’ll return to the Halcyon in the afternoon and can engage in lightsaber training, a droid racing competition, model ship building and a sabacc tournament before dinner.
This evening will be taken up with cocktails and the Taste Around the Galaxy dinner, before what sounds like the climactic story moment in which you can put your heist in motion or bring a stolen ship aboard.
The experience ends with a “spectacular finale” that runs until 11 p.m, but it’s unclear what that will be. Most likely, the cast you’ve spent the past two days with will bow as John Williams’ The Throne Room from A New Hope’s medal ceremony plays.
Breakfast runs for an hour starting at 8:30 a.m., before you return to the terminal at 9:30 a.m. This one barely counts, but you’ll have a few minutes to live out your Star Wars fantasies before going back to reality.
What kind of food is served on Galactic Starcruiser?
Galaxy’s Edge gave us an idea of Disney’s Star Wars-inspired meals, and a Galactic Starcruiser package includes two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and one quick-service meal (which includes an entree and drink) per guest. Outside this, nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages will cost extra.
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You’ll eat in the Crown of Corellia Dining Room, with breakfast and lunch sounding like standard hotel fare (with some thematically suitable blue milk).
The dinners seem more theatrical, with the first night including “a special musical appearance by a galactic superstar.” Day 2’s meal has a Taste Around the Galaxy theme and includes three courses “inspired by the geography and environments of iconic destination planets throughout the galaxy.” So you can expect Tatooine toasties, Coruscant cheese and Mon Calamari crustaceans or something like that.
What’s this I hear about a realistic lightsaber?
You’ll apparently encounter Rey at some point, and she’ll wield Disney’s fancy new lightsaber with retractable, internally illuminated blade. You won’t be able to swing it around though; the ones you use for lightsaber training have the more traditional light-up plastic sticks (which are pretty cool, but not new).
Is Galactic Starcruiser worth it?
Early previews by sites like IGN and Den of Geek were positive, but elements of their experience were unfinished and the writers didn’t pay thousands of dollars for their stays.
Fans balked at the pricing when it was revealed last summer, and $5,000 to $6,000 is unquestionably a massive investment for a two-night hotel stay. If you’re determined to have a Disney-themed vacation, you could spend multiple days at one of its parks for a fraction of the price.
However, it’s impossible to say for sure how convincing Galactic Starcruiser actually is until it’s in full swing and people recount their stories. It might be the greatest Star Wars experience you can have, or it could just be a slightly awkward, surreal weekend. We’ll update this guide once CNET has a full review and paying guests start sharing their thoughts.
Does Galactic Starcruiser have an in-universe story?
It sure does. The luxury starcruiser is known as the Halcyon, a Corellian MPO-1400 operated by Chandrila Star Line, and it’s designed to cater to the Star Wars galaxy’s fancy folk.
“You’ll voyage to the far reaches of the galaxy in legendary comfort and style,” reads Disney’s in-universe blurb. “Recently refurbished and reoutfitted, the starcruiser combines modern conveniences with the romance of the age of exploration.”
This vessel has operated for hundreds of years in-universe, since it’s shown up during recent stories set in the High Republic era (around 200 years before The Phantom Menace) and the Galactic Starcruiser narrative takes place between the events of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. This places it during the war with the First Order, which starts 30 years after Return of the Jedi (or 64 years after The Phantom Menace).
Its history is being explored in Marvel’s Halcyon Legacy comic series, which will see characters like Anakin Skywalker, Padmé Amidala and Lando Calrissian getting into adventures on the starship across various eras.
The Halcyon was designed by Shug Drabor, who’s an Anzellan like the beloved Babu Frik from The Rise of Skywalker. He’s shown up in the first issue of Halcyon Legacy and recent High Republic-era novel Midnight Horizon.
Will people wear costumes for Galactic Starcruiser?
They sure will, and Disney encourages it. Star Wars cosplay is a staple of conventions, so many fans already have costumes and there are plenty of tips for making your own.
You can also order an outfit from ShopDisney.com if you have a Starcruiser reservation tied to the email address associated with your ShopDisney account. These look high-quality, but they are expensive.
CNET’s Bridget Carey contributed to this report.