Disney presented its Galactic Starcruiser experience to invited reviewers this past week, and creators offered a healthy mix of praise and criticism in their reactions to their stay at the first-ever Star Wars hotel. So far, much of the criticism from fans lies in its cost — around $5,000 for a two-day stay in which much of your time adheres to a strict schedule you have little freedom in choosing. Many hopeful fans have felt discouraged that they’ll never get to experience the hotel. Others have expressed uncertainty about whether or not the stay would be worth the cost.
Is the hotel an impressive feat, based on what we now know lies within it? Absolutely. But it doesn’t seem to be an experience open to everyone.
So who is this immersive two-day hotel experience really for — the fans who may one day be lucky enough to get there, or the people behind the magic who can look back on the whole thing and say they were the first to make it a reality?
The Galactic Starcruiser really is the first of its kind, preceded by an immersive Star Wars “land” in the Disney Parks that brought a galaxy far, far away to guests there to escape the real world for something that gave them hope.
In many ways, the “Star Wars hotel” is a step above Galaxy’s Edge. You don’t just walk around Batuu for a day interacting with characters, eating vaguely familiar food and maybe picking up a few souvenirs before you go. On the Halcyon, you literally eat, sleep, and breathe Star Wars. Once you begin your voyage, you’re not allowed to leave. You all but become a character in a story happening all around you. You can’t escape it even if you want to.
The Galactic Starcruiser is in itself a production — the cast members hired to interact with guests are tasked with upholding the immersive experience not just passing by, but in every move they make in front of a constant audience.
In terms of design, the hotel looks, sounds, and feels like Star Wars. But that’s not surprising. Disney’s Imagineers are known for creating immersive attractions that feel like the real thing.
Altogether, then, this whole thing feels like Disney’s real-life Jurassic Park. Does it need to exist? No. Did they do it anyway — because they could? Yes. It’s a costly voyage to take, one many Star Wars fans may not be able to experience firsthand … or ever. But maybe that was never the point.
Even if Disney didn’t intend to actively exclude fans, one could argue its parks still aren’t financially accessible to everyone. Disney World and Disneyland are themselves a luxury only some can afford even once in a lifetime, and the Galactic Starcruiser seems to be an even more elite extension of this. Those who can afford it can enjoy it. Those who can’t can only dream of being there.
But with this hotel, Disney has shown they can do more than design the impossible. They can make it happen. They can now look at the world and say “We did this. We did it first, and we might be the only ones who can top this. Just wait and see what we’ll do next.”
Which is great for them, but still leaves many Star Wars fans wishing they could see it with their own eyes instead of through someone else’s camera.
The reality is, the majority of us never will. Disney didn’t do it for us, It’s nothing personal; it’s just business.
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