Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is a highly-hyped new hotel coming to Walt Disney World, opening behind Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. This post covers everything you need to know–the latest on when the spaceship Halcyon will open, pricing, concept art & construction photos. (Updated January 15, 2021.)
Walt Disney World has reopened and projects have resumed, following the multi-month closure and stoppage of all construction. This will inevitably lead to delays on virtually every upcoming project including new rides, restaurants, and resorts. In some cases, those will be commensurate with the length of the stoppage. In other cases, the delay will be disproportionate.
In very extreme circumstances, projects will be cancelled entirely. We’ve already seen this with another hotel, Reflections Lakeside Lodge, which was being built at Walt Disney World. Going forward, things will be very different, both in terms of health and safety protocol and in how consumers will spend money in the wake of a recession. The good news is that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort will not be cancelled…
To the contrary, work resumed on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort after only a few months delay, which is much better than most other projects around Walt Disney World. We’ve observed visible progress in the past several months (you can see the construction site while leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and crews have been working on it as normal.
In fact, the Walt Disney Company’s CFO Christine McCarthy specifically addressed the status of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort at a conference last fall. She indicated that this was one of a handful of projects that are already underway that will be prioritized going forward.
The latest news as of January 2021 is that Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle recently toured the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort with Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro. Vahle shared a sneak peek of the latest progress from inside a cabin on Instagram.
Here’s what he had to say about their sneak peek on the progress Walt Disney Imagineering is making on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort at Walt Disney World: “Inside we visited The Atrium and looked out The Bridge windows to what will be a galaxy far, far way. We even checked out the cabins in progress, including their windows to space seen in these renderings.”
As you can see, the cabins there are looking like they’re in close to finished form, but obviously, that does not mean every single guest room is done. It also doesn’t mean the common areas, amenities, dining, etc. are all finished.
Our expectation is still that the hotel’s opening date will be delayed–probably by around a year. That was inevitable because of the construction delay, and now more obvious since reservations did not open last year as previously announced. Moreover, the resort is largely inside a confined space with no windows or outdoor spaces as guests interact in close proximity to each other as part of a live action role-playing game.
Even if the entire hotel were ready to debut by Summer 2021, it’s likely Walt Disney World wouldn’t want to open Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort then. As with other projects that are in nearly finished-form, we don’t expect it to debut until physical distancing and other health safety protocol are a thing of the past.
Now, the basics and answers to frequently asked questions about what this immersive starship hotel experience will entail. For now, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is slated to offer a two-night itinerary where all guests arrive and depart at the same time, similar to Disney Cruise Line.
Unlike DCL, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort will put guests in the center of an interactive adventure that they control. Think of this as a hybrid between a live action role playing game and the all-inclusive resort hands-on ‘enrichment through entertainment’ experience of the Disney Institute. While Disney has tested similar concepts before, this is envelope-pushing in terms of its scope and level of immersion…
The adventure begins when guests arrive at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World and check in for their two-night experience. Guests will then enter a Launch Pod for transport into space. Through windows, they’ll see themselves leave Florida behind, jumping into hyperspace and drawing closer to the Halcyon, which is the starcruiser they’ll call home for the next two nights.
When the Launch Pod docks with the Halcyon and the airlock opens, guests will step into the ship’s main deck Atrium to begin their journey through a galaxy far, far away. A visit aboard the Halcyon becomes a multi-day story that interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, familiar Star Wars characters, and an excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
During their all-immersive experience aboard the Halcyon, guests will be invited to delve deeper into their personal adventures by participating in onboard activities, interacting with characters, crew, other passengers they meet, and becoming part of the action.
Some of these activities will include wielding a lightsaber and facing off against a training remote, visiting the starcruiser’s Bridge to learn about ship systems and how to operate them, and operating the starcruiser’s navigation and defense systems–skills that will come in handy during a journey through this adventure-filled galaxy.
Guests will be able to explore the Halcyon and discover hidden spaces deep in the mechanics of the ship–like the Engineering Room, which is perfect for uncovering secrets or holding secret meetings. Another interesting spot is the Silver C Lounge, where guests of all ages can enjoy libations and games in a stylish setting.
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort will look like an industrial bunker, and not an actual starship. When you enter the hotel, you’ll only be seeing the terminal and Launch Pod, not the Halcyon itself. There’s concept art for the starship Halcyon, but the physical building will not resemble that. Any representations of the Halcyon from inside the hotel will be simulated.
Additionally, there are very few guest rooms in the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort. The exact number of is not known, but construction permits and plans indicate roughly 100 rooms total. That should make for an intimate (and in-demand) experience as compared to other resorts at Walt Disney World, many of which have well over 1,000 rooms.
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is physically located backstage behind Disney’s Hollywood Studios near Cast Member parking and the show buildings for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. However, every window in the Halcyon, including those in each guest cabin, has a view into outer space, with ever-changing vistas as the ship progresses from place to place.
Although nothing is official, our expectation is that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort will not be open for the general public to visit. This is unlike any other hotel at Walt Disney World, and even the DCL comparison doesn’t do it full justice. A docked ship that would have amenities and facilities that overlap with a standard hotel, but this won’t have things like a pool, spa, tennis courts, or literally any outdoor recreation options.
The Galactic Starcruiser is probably more like a long-form, multi-part attraction or on-board cruise excursion. Think of it along those lines–it’s an immersive experience…that’s so long it offers a place to sleep, too. The resort won’t offer anything to do for non-guests, who will only get in the way and break the illusion. As such, it’s hard to imagine Walt Disney World allowing visitors to the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort.
With some basics about the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort out of the way, let’s cover the opening date, when reservations will open, anticipated pricing, and other questions about the Star Wars hotel that we’ve been receiving from readers…
Last year, Walt Disney World indicated that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort would open sometime in 2021. If this were a normal hotel, we’d have every reason to believe it could open in 2021, even with the delays caused by the closure of Walt Disney World last year.
However, that is absolutely not the case with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort. For one, the exterior is basically just a plain show-building. Aside from the porte-cochère, the rest of the exterior won’t be visible to guests. It’ll be concealed with trees and other cloaking devices. (Remember, the hotel doesn’t have actual windows.)
We drive by the construction site for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort every few days (not intentionally, it just happens to be right next to an overpass we use with frequency) and the exterior work looks like it’s finished. Visible construction has been moving at a brisk pace since last summer.
However, visible progress doesn’t mean anything–other than the fact that Disney is devoting significant construction resources to finishing this ASAP. The reality is that this is very different from a normal hotel, and a lot of work plus testing & adjusting will need to be done inside the resort before its ready to blast off into a galaxy far, far away.
As we’ve seen with the Space 220 Restaurant, which is another technology-heavy project, troubles with tech and construction can lead to delays in opening. That restaurant has had its opening date slip several times now, and that’s for a largely passive experience with screens offering views into outer space. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is much more ambitious, has more moving parts, requires the seamless integration of screen-based technology & physical effects, and will also require a lot of Cast Member training.
In other words, it’s too early to offer estimates about an opening date for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort, and visible construction progress is absolutely no basis for such predictions, anyway. With all of that said, we’d be surprised if Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort opens in 2021. We think 2022 is looking more and more likely.
Last year shortly before the closure, Walt Disney World teased that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort reservations would open “later this year.” For obvious and understandable reasons, that did not happen. In a normal year, Walt Disney World releases vacation packages for the following year in mid-June.
However, last year was not normal, and for the purposes of resort reservations, 2021 won’t be normal either. Many hotels around Walt Disney World are still not operating and don’t have reopening dates. Once they do, reservations will be available on significantly shorter notice.
Expect the same for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort. Our expectation is that reservations won’t be released until Walt Disney World is reasonably confident in projecting a time for resort and entertainment normalcy. That could mean in May 2021, Disney is comfortable that health protocol will be relaxed or dropped by December 2021. Or, could mean in July 2021, the company thinks a March 2022 opening date is realistic. It’s really anyone’s guess at this point.
If the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is something that interests you, we’d highly recommend booking it ASAP when reservations open. This is for a couple of reasons. First, prices are likely to go up–Disney rarely decreases prices. Second, this is an ambitious and envelope-pushing idea, and when it opens will be in a state of ‘pure & pristine’ Imagineering. Compromises and changes are likely to be made in service of operational realities, changing demographics, and guest feedback.
This is all speculation on my part. However, this is a truly unprecedented project for Walt Disney World, and iteration is likely to continue based upon guest feedback and behavior patterns. My guess would be that this begins as a thematically ambitious with structured live action roleplaying plus minimal real world intrusions. It’ll likely be aimed at the hardcore Star Wars fans who want something incredibly immersive and all-encompassing. And that’s largely who it’ll attract at first–Star Wars zealots and other hardcore fans who save or splurge on this.
What the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort evolves into depends in large part upon both the effectiveness of Disney’s messaging and potential guests actually listening to marketing. Walt Disney World is already stressing that this is not a typical hotel stay, but that doesn’t mean people will hear or comprehend that.
Ultimately, I would expect the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort experience to be diluted after its first year or so. The primary demographic will shift from hardcore fans making a big splurge to affluent guests wanting their first visit to Walt Disney World to consist of the very best of everything–basically, rich parents with kids who enjoy Star Wars. The latter group is far less interested in thematic and storytelling integrity, and more so in exclusivity and luxurious experiences. Over time, Imagineering will iterate on the concept so it comports with guest feedback and expectations–even if that means changes for the worse.
The short and simple answer is that Walt Disney World has not announced official pricing for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort yet. Even once rates are released, there is nothing to say those are what guests will actually end up paying. With Disney Cruise Line, prices often increase after the opening day for booking itineraries. With Walt Disney World hotels, discounts are offered that render rack rates somewhat meaningless.
Since Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort was announced, there have been numerous rumors on pricing. Given that some of these began to appear several years ago, you should take all of these numbers with a huge grain of salt. Walt Disney World will charge what the market can bear. That amount will be derived from numerous factors, including some external to Disney (like the US economy and consumer confidence).
Yes, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is going to be incredibly expensive. That much is a given, especially with 2-night itineraries. If you want the likely price floor for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort, look no further than pricing for 3-night Disney Cruise Line itineraries…then double it. (This could very well start at over $3,000 per person.)
Another thing to consider here is that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is essentially a boutique hotel. This will not have many rooms, meaning that the price-points here will be driven by supply as much as demand. Whereas Disney Cruise Line has multiple ships with tons of stateroom inventory, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is one hotel with a small supply of rooms.
Scarcity is going to be a huge factor. Some have derided this as a hotel or experience for the top 1%, but that’s actually not accurate. On any given day, less than .01% of the guests at Walt Disney World will be staying at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort. This isn’t to say it’ll only appeal to the wealthy…just that an infinitesimally small number of Walt Disney World’s overall guest population will be staying here.
There are enough diehard Star Wars and Disney fans with large amounts of disposable income. Look no further than the prices Savi’s Workshop for Handbuilt Lightsabers is able to charge for that experience due to its incredibly limited capacity. This resort is similar to that, but with a more elaborate and involved experience. These fan demographics alone will push prices even higher, at least for the first couple of years that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort is open.
Still have unanswered questions about the attraction? Read our Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which covers everything you need to know. If you’re planning on visiting the new land, you’ll also want to read our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Guide. It’s a good primer for this huge addition. As for planning the rest of your trip, we have a thorough Walt Disney World Planning Guide.
What do you think about the addition of a boutique Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort to Walt Disney World? Will you be booking this, regardless of cost? If not, what’s your maximum per person price-point for this experience? Would you prefer a more conventional hotel stay at a Star Wars-themed or decorated hotel? Do you agree or disagree with our advice and assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!