Disney Reveals $250 Million Park Expansion “Never Made Money”

in Walt Disney World

Photo of early morning crowds at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney has revealed some new information regarding one of its biggest failures.

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Inside the Magic

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The Walt Disney Company has faced several failures and challenges in the last few months, with most of the headaches stemming from Disney’s political and legal battle with the state of Florida. This battle stems all the way back to 2022, when Disney spoke out against Gov. Ron DeSantis‘, highly controversial piece of legislation known as the “Don’t Say Gay ” bill.

Because of Disney’s decision to speak out against the bill, which was done under the guidance of former CEO Bob Chapek, Gov. DeSantis made it his primary mission to inflict as much pain and damage for Disney as possible. He was ultimately successful, stripping Disney of the power it used to hold, thanks to the Reedy Creek Improvement District. However, this one speedbump is far from the only issue Disney is currently facing, with the company facing challenges on all sides.

Within the theme park division, Disney is facing the most backlash.

Credit: Disney

Several years ago, Disney revealed it would soon be transforming its iconic Splash Mountain attraction into an all-new ride based on The Princess and the Frog (2009). This decision was made due to the problematic nature of Splash Mountain itself, with all of the theming and characters coming from Disney’s most controversial film release of all time: Song of the South (1946). This film has been steeped in controversy since the moment it came out, mostly due to its portrayal of African Americans in the reconstruction-era South.

Disney has effectively wiped the film from history, with no legitimate way to buy the film present for decades. Fans will not find the film on Disney+ either. While the decision to retheme Splash Mountain makes sense, and we could not be more excited for the new ride, many fans were left angered by this news. Some fans felt so passionately about the change that petitions were created in order to help “Save Splash Mountain.”

The Walt Disney World Resort has also seen several locations close permanently in recent times. One of the most infamous examples is the NBA Experience, which used to be found inside Disney Springs. First opening back in 2019, the NBA Experience closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and remained closed, only lasting around two years.

However, the largest failure Disney has faced in Orlando, Florida, revolves around one of its most lucrative properties.

Credit: Disney Parks

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In 2019, the Disney theme parks changed forever with the official grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge taking place in Walt Disney World. This immersive land can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is a fantastic place for fans of Star Wars to get lost in. Complete with two incredible rides, some amazing shopping, and unique treats, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a must-do when you visit “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”

However, Walt Disney Imagineering got extra-creative with this expansion, announcing that an immersive hotel/cruise/resort experience would connect to this land, working to immerse guests even further. This, of course, is now the now-defunct Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

Guests lucky enough to experience Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser would pack up their things for a two-night, three-day experience aboard the Halcyon Starcruiser. Disney cast members portrayed various characters, fully immersing guests in this world. Every window in the building was a screen that displayed space, further convincing guests they were millions of miles away from Florida.

Since its initial “launch,” the experience has been praised for its immersion and overall quality, though there are still issues that Disney will continue to iron out. This experience comes at quite a cost, though, so be sure to have your galactic credits ready. The price to fly is nearly $6000 per room, which is a cost that may price even the biggest Star Wars fans out, considering this is only a 2-night adventure.

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

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After bookings failed to take off, Disney eventually revealed that it would be permanently shutting down this experience forever in September of 2023, just a year after it originally opened. While sad, we can’t say we didn’t see this coming, especially with the insanely-high price tag.

In the time since its closure, we’ve learned several things regarding the defunct Starcruiser experience, including that Disney reportedly planned to use it as a tax write-off.

Now, more information has been revealed as to why it closed, though the results aren’t all that shocking. According to The Wrap, these individuals also revealed that the immersive hotel experience never reached the expected occupancy. At the time of publishing this article, it’s anyone’s guess as to what Disney actually does with the empty space, but it’s safe to say those lucky enough to book a two-night, three-day cruise on the Halcyon Starcruiser can wear their experience as a badge of honor knowing they’re in a very, very exclusive club.

Did you get to experience Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser?

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