Disney execs have confirmed plans to breathe new life into a recently closed $400 million experience at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney Attraction and Experience Closures Are Not New
Disney Parks have been in existence since Walt Disney oversaw the construction of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, which opened to guests on July 17, 1955. Just 16 years later, the Walt Disney World Resort opened to guests.
Over the course of the history of Disney’s domestic parks, several rides and attractions–and even a water park–have disappeared, never to return again. In place of the attractions that are removed, new attractions often crop up–though not always.
Farewell to Some Favorites
Over the years, Disneyland locations and attractions have closed, including Merlin’s Magic Shop, where actor Steve Martin began his career with Disney, the Skyway to Tomorrowland, the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, and even a shop on Main Street, U.S.A. that sold lingerie.
At Walt Disney World, fans have lamented the disappearance of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction at Magic Kingdom and the mighty Maelstrom ride at the Norway pavilion along the World Showcase in EPCOT.
On September 7, 1998, Mr. Toad had his final wild ride at Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, ultimately stepping aside to make way for Winnie the Pooh to move into his old home, and near-riots ensued as grieving guests found it too difficult to say goodbye.
In November 2001, Disney World indefinitely closed its first water park, River Country, and in January 2005, the Disney Company announced that the park would not reopen.
In 2023, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland bid farewell to the Splash Mountain log flume attraction that had been a guest favorite for more than 30 years. Though Disney’s Imagineers clearly reimagined the wrong attraction, the construction of a new experience, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, is already underway at both locations.
And though the closures of attractions, rides, and other elements at Disney’s theme parks aren’t new, the revival of a “permanently closed” attraction is something virtually unheard of by fans of the parks.
But that’s exactly what’s happening at the Central Florida Disney parks.
A “Revival” in the Works For a Closed Attraction
According to Fox35 Orlando, Disney World execs have confirmed plans to “revive” one of the resort’s most recently shuttered experiences, known by most fans as the Star Wars hotel.
Disney called it Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
The Starcruiser was actually a Disney World Resort hotel that served as a type of all-inclusive resort of sorts from the galaxy far, far away.
While staying at the Star Wars-themed hotel, which doubled as an entirely immersive storytelling experience during which fans could dress the part of their favorite Star Wars characters and play out various roles and “stories,” guests also visited the planet of Batuu, which is technically the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge addition at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Despite the fact that Disney conducted a survey ahead of concrete plans to build the Galactic Starcruiser, the results from which overwhelmingly suggested guests’ interest in such an experience, the end result was extremely expensive, even by Disney World standards.
The experience opened in early 2022, and by May 2023, Disney was already announcing its inevitable doom. Many of the packages were $5,000, and some guests paid well over $6,000. The stays were for two nights and included a journey to Batuu but did not include costumes, which were optional, food, drinks, and the like.
It closed in September 2023, and nothing had been said about what might come of the location.
Disney reportedly spent more than $400 million to build the location, but the company was reportedly able to write off some of its expenses. When it closed in late 2023, the experience was said to have cost Disney approximately $250 million in losses.
What and When?
In January, however, Disney World filed a permit with the county for “general construction,” though no details about the work were given initially. Fans have been encouraged to guess what Disney’s building in place of the now-defunct Galactic Starcruiser.
Founder and CEO of International Theme Park Services, Dennis Speigel, says the closed Star Wars hotel still has life in it–and not to expect Disney World to be done with it just yet.
“Disney will do something with the facility,” Speigel said. “They’ll pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and start all over again.”
As of the time of this post, no further details have been disclosed, and it’s not known when fans will begin to see what is to come of the location. But as Disney World execs have promised to revive the former Star Wars hotel location, fans of the Central Florida Disney theme parks are anxious to know more about just what those execs have up their proverbial sleeves.