The Walt Disney Company has never done anything halfway. When Walt Disney developed the original idea for Disneyland, for example, he wanted Guests to be able to ride a scientifically accurate rocket ship to outer space — a clear predecessor for the Space Mountain roller coaster — but, not terribly practical in its original form, unfortunately.
45 years after Walt Disney’s 1966 death, Disney purchased Lucasfilm, thereby adding the entire Star Wars universe to the Disney family. Seven years after one of entertainment’s all-time biggest purchases — over $4 billion, to be exact — Disney invited theme park Guests at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort to truly travel to a galaxy far, far away with the opening of the 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion.
Talk about full circle.
Of all of the amazingly immersive lands Walt Disney Imagineering has ever created, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge takes the cake. It truly transports Guests to another world — in this case, the Outer Rim planet of Batuu, which is home to the infamous Black Spire Outpost.
Now, Disney’s Imagineering team is about to take things one step with the upcoming opening of the Galactic Starcruiser hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. Construction progress on the first-of-its-kind Disney Resort hotel has been coming along recently and is still set to open in 2021, according to Disney’s official website.
Here, we’ll take you through what you can expect to experience when you board the Halcyon for your own journey to a galaxy far, far away.
How will Guests board the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser?
When Guests enter the new Disney World Star Wars hotel to start their journey on this luxurious passenger starship, they will “blast off into space and rendezvous with the Halcyon” in launch pods.
Presumably, this will use some type of ride technology that will allow Guests to feel as though they are rocketing through space. It could, perhaps, be similar to the experience on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, although Disney has not confirmed how the Halcyon boarding process will work.
How is the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser laid out?
Disney’s detailed concept art gives prospective Halcyon passengers a glimpse of what to expect on their starship adventure.
The Atrium, presumably, will be one of the first areas of the Star Wars Resort that Guests see. This open space appears that it will serve as a gathering place for passengers, crew members, and even iconic Star Wars characters (we see you, Chewbacca!)
This artist rendering also lends credence to the reports that a Stormtrooper invasion will be part of the curated experience for Guests who book passage on the Galactic Starcruiser hotel.
The Bridge area is described as a place where Guests can “operate the ship’s navigation and defense systems under the crew’s guidance.” This appears to be an area of the starship that will have numerous interactive areas for families to fully immerse themselves in the Star Wars story.
We can assume that Galactic Starcruiser Cast Members will have been trained to interact with passengers in-character, so there is sure to be a storyline that goes along with the fact that Guests are apparently allowed to roam the bridge on this particular luxury liner.
Another exciting onboard space is The Silver C Lounge, where one can “sip a drink in this stylish lounge, a warm and inviting retreat for passengers of all ages.”
The concept art shows an R2 unit roaming in the background, though it is difficult to tell for sure if it is Star Wars icon R2-R2. In either case, this seems to confirm that there is a high likelihood of droids being present on the Halcyon. Furthermore, it looks as though the Imagineering team behind the Star Wars hotel may be utilizing some type of hologram technology.
At this time, The Silver C Lounge is the only known restaurant onboard the Galactic Starcruiser. It is not yet known if all meals over the 2-night/3-day experience will come from this establishment or if other options will also be available.
The final onboard space that Star Wars fans have been given a sneak peek of is a passenger cabin example. It appears that each cabin will feature a viewport that will make it appear as though one is flying through space, along with typical hotel room amenities, like beds and a seating area. These will, of course, be themed to fit into the Star Wars universe.
What activities will there be on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser?
Star Wars fans have also been given a look at some of the onboard activities the Halcyon starship will boast. One standout activity is the opportunity to “experience the traditional art of wielding a lightsaber and put your skills to the test.”
It appears that this particular perk of being a Galactic Starcruiser Guest will involve competing against either a computer (perhaps the screen on the wall) or even other passengers for lightsaber dueling glory.
Another activity is The Engineering Room, where Guests will be able to “sneak into a crew-only area and discover the inner workings of the ship’s systems.” This appears to be a family-friendly space that may function almost like a play area for kids — similar, perhaps, to the function of the splash pads on Disney Cruise Line’s four ships.
What will the “port excursion” to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge be like?
Finally, Galactic Starcruiser passengers will have a “spaceport excursion” — like a cruise port excursion — on Batuu. This is the only time over the course of the immersive Star Wars experience that Guests will be allowed to disembark from the ship.
From the looks of things, being a Star Wars Resort Guest will have one major benefit — a surefire spot on the notoriously hard-to-ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction. No boarding group required for Halcyon passengers, it would seem!
We do not know at this time if Galactic Starcruiser Guests will have to stay together as they tour Galaxy’s Edge or if they will simply have to be back at the starship area at a certain time.
We do, however, have an idea of how Guests will travel from the location of the Halcyon to Galaxy’s Edge. A road has been constructed and there appears to be a bay where passengers will board transport shuttles. Twitter user Bioreconstruct wrote:
Aerial look at where guests will access shuttle ships for excursions between Batuu and the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (hotel). Immersive vehicles with the illusion of space travel.
Immersive shuttle ships will carry guests on excursions from Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser and Batuu. Will the shuttles dock in this area? Really, the shuttles will be buses. With video screen windows showing the flight between ground and space.
Immersive shuttle ships will carry guests on excursions from Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser and Batuu. Will the shuttles dock in this area?
Really, the shuttles will be buses. With video screen windows showing the flight between ground and space. pic.twitter.com/DD14slynrj
— bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) February 21, 2021
It is not yet known how the area between the ship’s docking point and Black Spire Outpost will be themed. It is, however, important to remember that Batuu is a forest planet, so trees are likely to play a major role in concealing the Florida landscape.
What is the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser timeline?
Star Wars timeline-wise, the Galactic Starcruiser will officially fall between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, just like Batuu. This means that beloved characters like Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Luke Skywalker are unlikely to appear onboard the ship due to their respective deaths in the sequel trilogy. General Organa would still technically be alive at this point in the Star Wars story, but she has yet to make an appearance on Batuu at either Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney has described the Starcruiser as:
…a new type of immersive vacation that only Disney could create – a two-night, cruise-style itinerary where you’ll become the hero of your own adventure in an experience that surrounds you 24/7 in Star Wars storytelling.
We know that Guests will make choices throughout their 72-hour stay that will ultimately impact their experiences onboard the Halcyon. How closely these decisions will tie into interactions with stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Rey, Vi Moradi various droids, and other Star Wars characters who have a presence at Galaxy’s Edge is not yet known.
How much will Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser cost?
Pricing for the Galactic Starcruiser Star Wars hotel has not been announced, though online rumors indicate it might be priced similarly to a Disney Cruise vacation, which often averages about $700 per person for three nights, depending on stateroom type.
This would make sense, given that the experience is going to be similar to a sea cruise in some ways and that the stateroom sneak peek actually resembles the setup of a cruise liner stateroom.
Can you see fireworks from the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser?
Because the windows on the Halcyon are actually screens that will allow Guests to watch the galaxy speed by, it is unlikely that the fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be visible from the structure.
However, it is not yet known if Guests will have the opportunity to watch the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular nighttime show when they disembark to visit Batuu.
The fireworks are visible from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and can be best seen from the platform outside of Docking Bay 7. Disney officially describes the Star Wars nighttime show as:
As John Williams’ majestic theme fills the air, feel the Force of beloved Star Wars characters, iconic starships and a heroic finale. You’ll be right in the middle of the action during this immersive light show.
State-of-the-art projection effects, dynamic lighting, lasers and pyrotechnics put you right inside scenes from the Star Wars saga—including a new action sequence from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
What better way to celebrate Star Wars than with a show written on the stars!
Please note that the Galactic Spectacular is currently unavailable due to Walt Disney World’s phased reopening process amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What will a stay on the Starcruiser be like?
Although we can’t know for sure what the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be like until it opens — no official opening date has been announced, but the official website still says 2021 — Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek recently promised Guests:
“People are going to be blown away by the experience. It is truly unlike anything we have ever done before.”
It sounds like Disney’s Imagineers have outdone themselves this time and we can’t wait to blast off.
Are you looking forward to this brand new kind of Disney vacation? Will you be booking a fully immersive Star Wars hotel experience when reservations are available?
This article has been updated since it was originally published.