In a rumor that should be filed under “it makes perfect sense,” Walt Disney World is currently surveying guests about their level of interest in a Star Wars hotel that would be built near Disney’s Hollywood Studios, offering an immersive experience and exclusive access to Star Wars Land.
WDWNT.com broke this rumor and has the full details (and concept art). Per the rumor, the Star Wars “Starship” resort experience at Walt Disney World would entail guests being immersed in a 2-day story set in the the Star Wars universe and taking place both at their resort and within Star Wars Land. Over the course of their 2-night stay, guests would have personalized interactions with Star Wars characters and performers throughout the Starship resort, have an all-inclusive Star Wars meal experience, and engage in story ‘quests’ and missions throughout the Star Wars Starship Resort and Star Wars Land.
It is worth noting at this point that the Star Wars Starship Resort is very much a rumor. Disney surveys guests about a multitude of things that never come to fruition. In fact, most rumors that are derived from survey questions do not happen. However, there have been rumblings about a Star Wars resort since Star Wars Land was announced, and building it seems like a no-brainer. Then again, I predicted Disneyland Resort would purchase the property behind Cars Land and build a Wheel Well Motel with similar “no brainer” justification 4 years ago, so what do I know?
I cannot speak to the veracity of these specific rumors, but I think this is very likely to happen. Even at the rumored all-inclusive price point of $1,000 per person (for what it’s worth, I’d take that number with a grain of salt), the response to this rumor has basically been a loud chorus of “TAKE MY MONEY, DISNEY.” Whereas other recent rumors of expensive upcharges have been met with negative reactions among fans, the response to this is notably different.
Among all guests to Walt Disney World, fans like us are the most difficult to please. If even we are clamoring for this, I have little doubt that the general public will eat it up. Moreover, as a boutique resort focused on the experience, it stands to reason that this would be a modestly-sized resort, meaning that it wouldn’t take much demand to fill the resort, even at higher prices.
If a Star Wars resort hotel project goes forward, it will be interesting to see whether it ends up taking the rumored “immersive experience” form. This sounds a lot like a live action role playing game, something Disneyland previously tested (to a totally different extent) with Legends of Frontierland.
Given what was discussed recently about Star Wars Land at Star Wars Celebration, this makes sense and sounds plausible. Serious Star Wars fandom has gone incredibly mainstream (just read some reports about Star Wars Celebration), and there’s undoubtedly a market for an immersive experience like this.
On the other hand, it’s still something of a gamble that seems at odds with the commando touring style many Walt Disney World visitors embrace on vacation. Building a Star Wars hotel that has themed rooms and common areas (think Art of Animation, but Star Wars) seems like a lot safer of a bet for Disney. It’d probably have higher profit margins, too.
To that end, if Disney goes through with the Star Wars Starship Resort as an immersive, storytelling boutique hotel, that is a bold and laudable move. It’s the kind of envelope-pushing experience for which Disney was once known (and seems to be returning to). Even though it seems pretty low risk given the demand for anything Star Wars, it’s certainly higher risk than just building a tower of family suites, throwing some Ewok-fur comforters on the beds, a BB-8 lamp, and calling it a day.
The one thing that surprises me, and causes me a bit of hesitation here, is more is not already known about this (potential) Star Wars Starship Resort. If it’s only at the survey stage of development, it has not yet been greenlit, and has a ways to go in the development cycle before construction would begin. This means that it’s unlikely the resort would open simultaneous to Star Wars Land.
There are two potential explanations for this. First, that the concept itself has already been greenlit, and the survey is only to hone the details and for Disney to get a feel for the pricing they could charge for such an experience. Second, it’s being deliberately built after Star Wars Land, with the goal of working out whatever hiccups Star Wars Land might have upon opening, and giving serious Star Wars fans a reason to visit again after the opening surge for the land. (Not that they will need a reason to visit again and again.)
Another possibility is that the gondola system connecting Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and several resorts moving forward was a necessary precursor to this resort being viable from an infrastructure perspective. As we’ve been reporting, we anticipate another hotel construction boom at Walt Disney World, and that gondola project is critical to facilitating more hotel growth. Without the gondolas, bus and roadway infrastructure would be insufficient.
Irrespective of the details, I would put money on a Star Wars resort being built at Walt Disney World. Star Wars is one of the most lucrative franchises on the planet, and Star Wars fandom is currently enjoying an unprecedented level of mainstream popularity (even for it…and it’s always been pretty popular). I think a better question is probably whether the final project takes the form of an ‘interactive’ resort like this, or if it ends up being a regular resort hotel, just themed to Star Wars. In any case, it’s an interesting rumor, and one we’ll be following closely. This is the type of announcement we’d expect at the D23 Expo this summer; we’ll see if additional info leaks out before then.
What do you think about the potential addition of a boutique Star Wars Starship Resort to Walt Disney World? Does this make you want to yell “TAKE MY MONEY!!1!” to Disney, or would it not appeal to you at the rumored price point? Would you prefer an immersive 2-day experience like the one rumored, or would you prefer a more conventional hotel stay? Let’s hear some of your thoughts about this news in the comments below!