Star Wars fans are sad as news broke recently that the highly themed Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser would be closing forever in September. Many are sad that they will never get the opportunity to experience a resort that was more than just a hotel; it was a two-day immersive and interactive theatrical experience. Others are thinking, “What’s next?”
That is where our head is at currently. What’s next? It’s the question everyone on social media seems to be asking, too. Many ideas and theories are swirling, but Disney has confirmed nothing at this point. That hasn’t stopped us from wondering, though (and maybe dreaming a bit, too), what could this incredible property become?
No one is surprised at the closure. The resort has been struggling for some time, and many saw the writing on the wall. We shared our thoughts on why here and discussed Disney’s dangerous middle-class exclusion trajectory here. Rather than adjust to demand and listen to fans who said, “I’d love to come, but it’s priced too high,” they doubled down, and as a result, the resort will close after being open just over a year.
The prospect of this property’s possibility, though… has captured attention. While it doesn’t come as a shock to most that the hotel is closing, what comes next is the wild card still in play. The Starcruiser property has so much potential and yet serious drawbacks that make each idea seemingly impossible. Let’s dive in and look at some of our favorite ideas.
A Regular Hotel
Could they turn the ultra-scripted hotel into a more traditional resort experience? This seems the most likely scenario, but it does have drawbacks. The hotel is small. With only 100 rooms, the price to justify operation costs will still have to be extremely high. Too high for guests to book? That remains to be seen.
Many Star Wars fans, like myself, longed to experience Starcruiser but could not justify the price. I’d be willing to pay a premium to stay there if it was turned into a regular hotel. My willingness (and budget) have a limit, though. I’m sure a majority of would-be guests feel similarly.
The location is also a factor. Part of the draw for Starcruiser was that it was meant to feel like you were in space. To achieve that, the hotel is located behind the Hollywood Studios Cast Member Parking lot. The out-of-the-way locale was great for keeping up the illusion with Starcruiser, but it wouldn’t be so great for regular guests (or the curious masses that go “just to look around”).
Still, the idea is attractive. The property is already set up to be a resort. That would make the transition cost-effective because not a lot of construction would need to be done. It would align with Disney’s statement that they have learned from this and look toward the future to make experiences accessible to more guests. Converting the experience into a deluxe resort would probably be the most profitable option as well.
Galaxy’s Edge Expansion
Galaxy’s Edge has been popular since it debuted in 2019. Sure, it’s got its critics, but by and large, people love it. The one complaint most have is that they wanted the original trilogy, not the sequels. Could Disney convert the building into theme Park space? Imagine this: an experience similar to Universal’s Hogwarts Express– highly themed and full of screens (so you stay immersed in the story and can’t see the actual backstage area around you). Give it a spaceship theme and a storyline along the lines of Starcruiser’s: you’re on a luxury trip through the galaxy. Suddenly, your ship has engine trouble and must make an emergency landing. This diverts you to an unknown part of the galaxy. You exit inside the old Starcruiser building, which has been gutted and turned into something more along the lines of an EPCOT Pavilion.
There could be an area devoted to the Dark Side: a Sith recruiting experience. Could you imagine a cutting-edge technology experience that makes it possible to “use the force?” (again, drawing heavily on Wizarding World, imagine RFID motion trackers like the wand that trigger environmental responses correlate to a guest’s movements while following a “training manual”).
Another area could be devoted to rebellion recruitment, where you could pilot an X-Wing via motion simulators and train with a lightsaber. Light side or Dark…which will you choose? This would be the overarching theme of the expansion.
There could be meet and greets with classic characters. Shops with merchandise devoted to the original timeline could also fill some of the space. Finish it off by converting the Starcruiser dining area into the dinner show/ character meal that was promised when the land was being built.
I want this. I really, really want this. It is unlikely to happen, but a girl can dream. This would be a fantastic way to add to the experience, fix two previous mistakes, and would finally compete with Universal in terms of immersive theming.
During a time when Disney is trying to trim the fat, however, a massive construction project in an already failed venture seems almost ludicrous. Much of EPCOT’s reimagining has been scrapped or trimmed, so it is hard to imagine a massive undertaking like this would be in the realm of possibility.
Cast Member Relief Facilities
Cast Members work hard and often have little time between shifts. Could they turn this resort into the world’s greatest break room? Someone suggested that they could even charge a few bucks for the rooms so that Cast Members could grab a quick nap. The dining room could also serve quick meals for a recharge.
There’s no doubt that Cast Members deserve a space like this, especially with the Parks so woefully understaffed. Showing appreciation for your staff is the best way to retain that staff. However, Disney will be looking for ways to make this property profitable. As much as we’d like to see this come to fruition, we can’t see this happening.
Everyone assumes Disney will convert Starcruiser into another experience. However, Disney has a track record of letting failed ventures rot. Nothing Disney builds is cheap, so the massive expense of building the resort may not factor into their decision. River Country, Discovery Island, the Wonders of Life Pavillion… all of them were left to languish. Disney seems to have no problem just walking away from defunct attractions, especially when the space is not needed. Since Starcruiser is in a tucked away locale away from main guest areas, it’s entirely possible Disney will just leave it.
Whatever they decide to do, we are following the situation closely. You can bet that as soon as Disney makes their plans known, we will be the first to let you know. Stay tuned right here for all of the details.