‘Star Wars’ Shutdown Adds to Graveyard at Disney Parks

in Disney Parks, Star Wars

The success of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, followed by the massive fan resurgence due to The Mandalorian (2020) prompted Disney to invest on expanding the world of the galaxy far, far away. So when the Disney Parks unveiled the development of a fully immersive ‘Star Wars’ hotel experience, fans were more excited than Grogu eating space macaroons.

The Mandalorian and Grogu at 'Star Wars': Galaxy's Edge
Credit: Disney

Disney was confident that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. would draw in countless visitors who wished to be transported into the Star Wars Universe. Its impressive production value was unrivaled, but equally so were its prices. A two-night stay or “onboarding” on the luxury cruiser started at $4,800. The hotel’s grand opening had a big draw initially when it opened in March 2022, but the mounting costs for potential guests deterred many families from making future bookings.

A family in their room inside of Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney – Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser

Then in May 2023, Disney announced they would be shutting down the Galactic Starcruiser, but did not release an official explanation for the closure. Disney’s recent 2023 financial earnings call finally revealed that the interim Disney CFO Kevin Lansberry would take the hotel’s shutdown as an “accelerated depreciation” or a tax write-off. While it will cost the company $250 million to abandon the Starcruiser, this strategy will allow Disney to defer tax liabilities and deduct the costs of their assets faster.

star-wars-galactic-starcruiser
Credit: Disney Parks

This Star Wars hotel was only open for less than two years. Disney has not disclosed any future plans with the building or the area itself. However, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro stated that something will happen with the building. This is not the first time that Disney has had to abandon an experience at their Parks. Many times it is too costly to tear it down, so it remains unusable to guests until it can be repurposed, if at all. Here are some of the abandoned places that still remain within Disney Resorts:

  • The Tomorrowland Theater –  This theater was once home to the Captain EO experience and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. It would be repurposed for Disney movie sneak preview until it never reopened post-pandemic (2021) at Disneyland, CA.

Michael Jackson in Disney's Captain EO

  • PeopleMover – The track and loading dock remained in Tomorrowland since 1995 at Disneyland, CA.
  • Stage 12 – This was a cafeteria turned arcade at the Hollywood Studios Backlot that closed around 2016 at Disney California Adventure (DCA) that is used as storage/character dressing rooms.
  • Avengers HQ – The building the quinjet sits on at Avengers Campus was supposed to become an E-ticket simulator attraction, but was scraped after the pandemic in 2020 at DCA.
Avengers Campus and Guardians of the Galaxy -- Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disneyland Resort
Credit: Disney
  • ESPN Zone – The building closed in 2018 and has been used as a cast member facility and occasionally a Disney Keyholder exclusive pop-up location at Downtown Disney, CA.
  • Pixar Place  – It used have working soundstages that became obsolete for guests once Toy Story Land opened in 2018 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Disney World.
  • River Country – This was an entire water park at the Walt Disney World Resort that was left abandoned in 2001 after it became to costly to operate.
River-Country-Water-Tower-Slide-at-Fort-Wilderness
Credit: iThemePark

These are just some of notable discontinuations that still exist in some form at the Disney Parks. It is a shame when these endeavors become a visible graveyard. Unfortunately, this probably will not be the last financial loss for the House of Mouse, so it will be interesting to see what will get left behind or what will be replaced at the Disney Resorts.

The final voyage of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will depart on September 30, 2023.

 

What are other extinct Disney attractions or experiences that can still be seen by guests?

 

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