Disney Explains What Went Wrong With Its $400 Million Star Wars Experiment

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World


A Disney executive has addressed the company’s failed attraction in Florida.

Shop in the Galactic Starcruiser
Credit: Steven Miller via Flickr

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Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Experiences, recently addressed Disney’s failed Star Wars experience, shedding some light on why he and Disney think the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was forced to close. The Walt Disney Company has evolved and shifted in countless ways over the last decade, creating and developing some of the world’s most impressive and captivating theme park experiences. While the Disney theme parks are filled to the brim with classic dark rides like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney truly thrives when it is innovating, which is exactly what it did with the Galactic Starcruiser

In 2017, Walt Disney World changed forever with the grand opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar, a breathtaking land based on Disney and James Cameron’s Avatar franchise. This immersive land features two rides, stunning scenery, a place to shop, and one of the resort’s highest-rated quick service locations. Fans and guests alike were skeptical at first, not thinking Pandora was an interesting enough place for Disney to develop into its own theme park land. However, in the years since, Pandora has become one of the most popular locations in all of Walt Disney World and will soon be coming to the original Disneyland Resort in California.

This carries over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is also one of Disney’s newer, more impressive lands. Here, guests can live out their very own Star Wars stories as they encounter various iconic characters like Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Chewbacca, as well as experience some of Walt Disney Imagineering’s most innovative rides.

However, a major part of Galaxy’s Edge has already closed, with a Disney executive sharing insight into why the company finally pulled the trigger.

Galactic Starcruiser entrance
Credit: Steven Miller via Flickr

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The Walt Disney Company officially opened its Galactic Starcruiser experience in March of 2022, ushering in a new age for the Disney theme parks. This brand-new state of the art installation was a mixture of both hotel and cruise, offering guests an immersive Star Wars experience the likes of which the world had never seen. Guests were invited to board the fictional Halcyon starcruiser for a two-night, three-day adventure, where they were free to explore a fully realized ship. Guests would have the chance to enjoy delicious and unique food and beverage options, shop and dance, and interact with characters from Disney’s sequel trilogy of Star Wars films.

However, this experience came at quite a hefty price point, costing guests thousands of dollars for a three day experience. This is expensive enough, but when you consider that this is in addition to the cost of  Walt Disney World vacation, the Starcruiser seems impossible for 99% of guests to enjoy.

This is exactly the reason it ultimately failed. Bookings continued to dwindle and the writing was essentially on the wall, with Disney officially pulling the plug on the Galactic Starcruiser in September of 2023, a little over a year after it opened. Months later, Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Experiences, is breaking the silence on this Star Wars experiment.

Guests on the Galactic Starcruiser
Credit: Disney

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In a recent interview with CNBC, D’Amaro explained what happened with Disney’s Galactic Starcruiser and what fans can look forward to in the future.

“This is something that had never been done before,” states D’Amaro. “It was difficult to even explain to the public, and I think it was incredibly brave for us to move into this space. … And this, to me, says Imagineering is still at its best today. Those learnings are being employed on the next experiences, which we haven’t even announced yet.”

Disney has already stated that “something” will happen with the now-defunct Galactic Starcruiser, but there’s no word as to what exactly will become of the massive building. According to estimations, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser cost Disney a whopping $400 million to construct, design and build, making it one of the most expensive theme park endeavors the company has ever ventured out on.

Did you get to experience Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser?

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