Disney’s $5,000 ‘Star Wars’ hotel opens


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The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Disney World opens to its first paid guests March 1, but last week it hosted members of the media and popular YouTube and TikTok channels for a free preview. The hotel, which only offers a two-night stay, is billed as the ultimate immersive “Star Wars” experience. Guests are encouraged to dress up (Disney provides some pricey options on its site), take part in special missions and enjoy an “excursion” to the planet Batuu, also known as the “Star Wars” land within Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. For two adults, the starting price is about $5,000. For three adults and one child, it’s nearly $6,000.

Reviews so far are generally positive — particularly praised are the character actors who carry the experience — with a few caveats. Because the hotel itself, called the Halcyon, is supposed to be a luxury cruise ship in space, the biggest complaint is that rooms are small and cramped. Standard rooms have a queen bed, bunk beds and an additional pullout sleep space, which means it is theoretically able to sleep five adults. But most reviews agreed it would feel tight with even three people, especially considering the bathroom only has a single sink. And unlike other luxury hotels, there are no typical amenities like a pool or spa.

A hotel room in Disney's new Galactic Starcruiser.

A hotel room in Disney’s new Galactic Starcruiser.

Courtesy of Disney

“The Halcyon’s interior scale just doesn’t match up to the grand ship shown in marketing materials. I expected the atrium to be taller, the banquet hall to be wider,” Polygon’s Charlie Hall wrote. “… Liminal spaces, like hallways and stairwells, feel particularly sterile, like wandering around a suburban junior high school built in the mid-1970s. The staterooms are also entirely too small, falling somewhere in between the narrow cabins of a Disney cruise ship and a basic hotel room in a Disney World resort hotel.”

ALSO READ: What a Disneyland pro learned from their first trip to Disney World

For some, the lack of windows may add to a sense of claustrophobia. Hotel rooms have a digital display showing outer space and no view of the real outside world. Folks needing some fresh air can, however, visit an outdoor communal space called a “climate simulator.” Reporters from the YouTube channel Disney Food Blog, which has nearly 800,000 subscribers, were invited to the media preview. In their review of the hotel, they put it thusly: “Disney went all-in on an experience that seemingly puts only the wealthiest guests inside a windowless bunker for two full days.”

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, according to Disney, "will invite guests aboard the Halcyon, a starcruiser known throughout the galaxy for its impeccable service and exotic destinations." 

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, according to Disney, “will invite guests aboard the Halcyon, a starcruiser known throughout the galaxy for its impeccable service and exotic destinations.” 

Courtesy of Disney

But most reviewers agreed that guests will be spending minimal time in their room anyway. The two days are packed with lightsaber training, clandestine rendezvous, elaborate entertainment and exploration of the ship. Guests need to download an app for their smartphone to chat with characters on board, receive their missions and learn their storylines. This was the other major drawback: If you’re an introvert, this may be the wrong trip for you. 

“The No. 1 thing that will make this experience worth it to you or not is how much you’re going to immerse yourself in the story. You have to suspend reality,” AllEars reporter Molly McCormack said in her review. “You have to buy into all of these things happening around you for it to be a meaningful and impactful experience.”

Many reviews compared the experience to living inside a two-day-long dinner theater show or escape room, and a heavy dose of extroversion will help get over the awkwardness of a room full of adults pretending they’re on an epic mission. 

“You don’t have to do everything,” CNET’s Bridget Carey wrote. “If you don’t participate to some degree, you’ll still see the main general story unfold at the end, but you will be wasting your money.” 

Because the missions come from the app, some didn’t like how much time was spent staring down at their phone. “I come to a theme park or something like this to have fun with friends and not be reading stuff [on my phone],” said Ordinary Adventures vlogger Peter Sciretta.

When it comes down to the ultimate question — could this possibly be worth $5,000? — most reviews agree: If you have the financial means and are willing to jump fully into the fantasy, you will likely treasure the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“You have to be willing to play,” CNBC’s Sarah Whitten wrote. “Passengers get back what they put into their time aboard the Halcyon. If you suspend your disbelief, embrace the story and participate without self-consciousness, this will be a trip you and your family will never forget.”

By Harriet