Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World is undeniably expensive, with prices starting at ~$5,000 for two people and only increasing from there. We’re here to help you decide whether the new resort is “worth it” for you with comparisons to other theme park and cruise vacations, followed by commentary on whether we felt it offered sufficient value for money to us.
One of the difficulties in assessing the cost of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is that there are no easy comparisons. This is unlike anything Walt Disney World has ever done, an amalgamation of a bunch of different entertainment offerings. Rather than being comparable to a theme park visit, it’s more like a cruise on land, with all-inclusive (mostly) food & drinks, similar staterooms, and comparable programming.
But wait, there’s more. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser also has an immersive ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style story layered on top, as well as opportunities for nearly-endless show elements. It’s an unprecedented hospitality and entertainment endeavor, with the end product being awesome or alienating, depending upon your perspective. As a threshold matter, you should determine whether this is good fit for your party by reading our spoiler-free Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Review.
To be frank, it’s difficult to argue that a lot of what Disney offers is “worth it” from an objective perspective. Rack rates for the Grand Floridian or Contemporary Resorts are usually higher than the Four Seasons Orlando, and Disney hotels don’t offer a commensurate caliber of service or quality to their real world counterparts. Disney Cruise Line is often exponentially more expensive than its counterparts for nearly-identical (or sometimes inferior) itineraries. The list goes on and on.
When it comes to all things Disney, there’s always an inarticulable x-factor. An emotional or nostalgic pull that causes many people to overlook objective on-paper comparisons. We justify it on the basis of location, perks, theme, or other perceived advantages. But it boils down to something far more nebulous, intangible, or–dare we say–magical.
This is true not just with Disney super fans, either. A large swath of the public is willing to pay premium pricing for Disney’s product and that’s in large part because there’s the perception that there’s no “substitute good” for what Disney offers. Never has that been more true than with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Cruises and luxury resorts, even those with the Disney brand or location attached obviously do have substitute goods. They may not have to compete on price for some consumers because of the aforementioned brand power, but they do have analogous alternatives. There are other (better) opulent hotels in Central Florida or cruise itineraries to the Caribbean or wherever.
There is nothing else like Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Despite there being no reasonable baseline for comparison, people want one even more than normal since it’s so expensive and because they can’t fully comprehend just what the not-really-a-resort is and is not. Before plopping down so much money on such a big unknown, people want to know whether Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is worth it.
It should go without saying, but value is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, not everyone is equally cost-conscious. If you’re some hotshot running a frozen banana stand empire, the price of going to play a star war is chump change for you. Meanwhile, if you’re a middle class family, the cost of doing 2 nights at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser might exceed your annual vacation budget.
It’s impossible for us to put ourselves into everyone’s shoes and account for all financial circumstances and perceptions of value. The best we can do is offer our viewpoint and how it compares for us. Hopefully, this is useful for regular readers who are already familiar with how we do and don’t spend money.
For those who are not, we are generally frugal and try to save money wherever possible, while also having a willingness (and ability) to splurge on travel that we feel will be unique and memorable, and for which discounting or cost-cutting is not possible. We almost always avoid paying rack rates at Walt Disney World, but have done extravagant experiences and extensively traveled, usually on a budget or with the help of travel hacking.
Our voyage aboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser cost $6,634.32, but that was for a party of 4. We shared the room with another couple, friends of ours with whom we’ve previously traveled to Europe, Japan, and pretty much everywhere. Sarah and I paid a total of $3,317.16 for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser–or $1,658.58 per person. (We could break that down by day, hour, or whatever other unit, but presumably you also have the calculator app on your phone.)
Obviously, sharing a room won’t be possible for everyone–or even most people–reading this. We did it both because of our aforementioned frugality, and also to see how comfortable or uncomfortable the close quarters of the cabin would be. (More on that soon.)
As such, rather than attempting to give an up or down “worth it” proclamation, we’re going to put Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser into context relative to other Disney and real-world destinations. Along with each comparison, we’ll offer our personal preference–which we’d rather do again, and would recommend to someone who hasn’t done either.
Note that the math isn’t perfect on any of these. Actual costs of the alternatives range from around $4,400 to $6,200. This shouldn’t be an issue, because Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser doesn’t charge a flat-rate fee. A lot of reporting has called it a $5,000 experience, which is because that’s (roughly) what Walt Disney World advertises as the starting rate ($4,809) for the off-season. Opening month prices haven’t deviated from that by too much.
Since you can’t price out Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser without calling and dealing with a multi-hour hold time on the phone, we don’t yet know what peak season rates are around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. My guess is that they’ll end up being a lot more than $5,000 for a party of two.
Other unknowns is whether discounts will be offered for Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club members, and other select guests during the off-season when bookings might be lower. Alternatively, will prices quickly increase if most voyages sell out at the current price points. We hesitate to make any predictions, as this is incredibly supply-constrained, but also incredibly niche.
With all of that out of the way, here’s how we’d compare various Disney and real-world destinations to a stay at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser for those who have not done the respective experiences. It should go without saying, but this is an imperfect exercise. There’s no way to precisely account for discrepancies in seasonality, discounts, or airfare (this is especially true with the international destinations, which can vary wildly).
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 8-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
For the same price as Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, you could choose from a variety of one-week or longer itineraries aboard Disney Cruise Line’s legacy ships (e.g. all but the Disney Wish). Among the more approachable options for many Americans will be the various Caribbean sailings. We’ve done a couple of these, but always of a shorter duration.
With that in mind, I would choose Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser over even the lengthier Eastern Caribbean cruise. As with so much of the titular question and these comparisons, this is going to vary highly from person to person. The biggest reason for my choice is that Galactic Starcruiser offers a wholly immersive experience, and while good, the entertainment aboard DCL doesn’t even begin to touch this–even 7 nights’ worth as compared to 2. I’m also far less keen on the Caribbean than other destinations.
Conversely, Sarah would choose the cruise–but it would be a close call. She enjoys the standard DCL programming more than I do, and also would like to explore some of the ports of call on this itinerary.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 7-Night Norwegian Fjords Cruise
Both of us would choose the Norwegian Fjords cruise over Galactic Starcruiser. We did Disney Cruise Line’s Norway itinerary a few years ago (albeit at a deep discount due to booking last minute) and it was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken, Disney or otherwise. It also felt surprisingly “Disney” (beyond just the ship), as we visited numerous destinations represented in Epcot’s World Showcase and that were the real world inspiration for Frozen.
For me, neither of these first two comparisons are close calls. I’d choose Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser without hesitation over the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, and the Norwegian Fjords option would be an easy pick over Galactic Starcruiser. If anything, this should demonstrate that all of these comparisons are highly personal. You may have zero interest in Norway, but a strong desire to see the Caribbean.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 8-Night Tokyo Disneyland & Japan
We’ve spent significant time in Japan, doing month-long Airbnb stays in Kyoto for around $1,200 total. That’s not really a relevant comparison here, as most families considering 2 nights at Galactic Starcruiser aren’t going to consider 30 nights in Japan as a viable alternative (and the per night cost is considerably higher).
With that said, Tokyo Disneyland plus Japan is a great comparison here because that trip would offer a high-caliber of service, attention to detail, and immersion. As noted elsewhere, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser feels like “old school” Disney…in many of the same ways as Tokyo Disneyland. In addition to superior service, maintenance, entertainment, etc., the Tokyo parks are also less expensive, with cheaper ticket, monorail loop hotel, and food prices. (We joke that all of this is “subsidized” by Duffy merchandise, which is ridiculously expensive.)
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 9-Night Disneyland Paris & France
While we love Disneyland Paris, it is most certainly not “old school” Disney. It’s the most mismanaged resort complex in the world, and is a great place in spite of itself. Similarly, France is not particularly renowned for its high-caliber of service. It’s a different culture, and you take the good with the bad, just like anywhere. (We have zero issues with French culture or service standards, but you might. Check out “Is Disneyland Paris Right for You?” for more insight.)
We would both choose Disneyland Paris plus France over Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Admittedly, this is less about the Disney side of the ledger than with the Tokyo Disneyland comparison below. Paris is one of our favorite cities in the world and we’d spend the bulk of our time there. With that said, a first-timer could easily do several days at Disneyland Paris. If you’re the type of fan who collects coffee table books about Imagineering or the design and architecture of the parks, Disneyland Paris is an absolute treasure trove.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 4-Night Disneyland (Deluxe Accommodations)
For around the same cost as Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, you could stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for 4-nights and do Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for 5 days. The flagship Grand Californian has its own entrance into DCA and is like a more luxurious version of Wilderness Lodge. (They’re actually quite different thematically, but the core architecture invites that obvious comparison.)
The similarity between Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and Disneyland Resort is that both are similarly lower-stress. We wouldn’t call either “laid back” (to the contrary, both can be exhausting), but neither are on the same level as the core Walt Disney World experience. That alone invites the comparison.
As far bigger fans of theme parks than Star Wars, we’d pick Disneyland in a heartbeat. If you’ve yet to visit Walt Disney’s original magic kingdom, it’s something every Disney fan should do.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 5-Nights at Walt Disney World (Moderate Accommodations)
Whereas the prior examples are aimed at first-timers to those respective destinations, both of these Walt Disney World comparisons apply to repeat visitors. This apples to oranges comparison is for a simple reason: this blog’s primary readership is Walt Disney World fans. In other words, people who have visited the Florida parks but are less likely to have been to Disneyland and beyond.
If you’re planning a first-time Florida vacation, the following does not apply to you. Walt Disney World is a rite-of-passage destination for a reason. For us “old-timers,” it’s easier to compare today’s guest experience to the superior one of two years ago, or take for granted just how envelope-pushing Walt Disney World is–like Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, except more mainstream. If you don’t have the burden of knowledge, so to speak, about what’s missing or compromised, you will still almost certainly be blown away by Walt Disney World.
With that out of the way, we used the calculations in How Much Does a Walt Disney World Vacation Cost in 2022?I redid the math in light of recently-released promotions, and found the numbers didn’t differ too much given actual resort availability (which is limited) and price increases in the last few months.
Obviously, this comparison is relevant since both Galactic Starcruiser and Moderate Resorts are located at Walt Disney World. Despite that, the two still differ significantly–an interactive adventure is not the same thing as a theme park with rides, and each will appeal to different people.
With that said, the biggest question from our perspective is whether the standard Walt Disney World trip can deliver something as consistently enjoyable as Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Don’t get us wrong, we love Walt Disney World. But reader feedback in the last few months makes us wince, and not because you all are particularly cringeworthy. It’s because the baseline guest experience can be hit or miss right now.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser does not have that. Again, this is old school Disney. The level of service is impeccable, with guest needs being anticipated and everyone treated as if they’re special. Just like the parks, it can be exhausting and isn’t a “vacation” in the traditional sense of the term, but it’s not stressful like Walt Disney World can be currently.
Honestly, this one is a toss-up. We are well-versed in visiting Walt Disney World, making it relatively stress-free for us since we can beat the crowds with ease. (We’re also able to operate on minimal sleep, which is incredibly advantageous at Walt Disney World.) This is a double-edged sword, as being well-versed in Walt Disney World also means it’s not as novel to us, whereas Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is. On balance, all of that makes it impossible for us to answer. It’s an incredibly close call, which alone should speak volumes.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser v. 3-Nights at Walt Disney World (Deluxe Accommodations)
Basically, this is the same comparison as above. There are two key differences here, though. First, it’s two nights shorter and only one longer than the stay at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Second, it includes a Deluxe Resort stay rather than one at a Moderate.
With this comes the implicit assumption that guests desiring a shorter trip but more well-appointed accommodations are looking for luxury. Although Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is absolutely not a luxury resort, it is a luxurious overall experience with greater attention to detail and service. It’s more individualized and less mass market, which presumably gives it greater appeal to that type of guest–even though it is, yet again, absolutely unlike the archetype of a luxury hotel.
In this scenario, it’s an easier call–Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Even on the resort side, Deluxes at Walt Disney World aren’t really luxurious, and those guests will have the same theme park experience (and accompanying headaches) as everyone else. To get the true white glove treatment in the parks, you’re looking at spending up to $850 per hour for a VIP tour on top of everything else. In other words, a day at Walt Disney World might end up costing as much or more as 2-nights in Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Obviously, that’s not an apples to apples comparison, but literally none of this is.
Was Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Worth It For Us?
Maybe? Even now, we have mixed feelings about it. We’ll put it this way: we felt incredibly satisfied by our time aboard the Halcyon and are glad we did it. So I guess, yes, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was worth it for us. A total cost of over $3,000 for the two of us (after splitting the the room with another couple) for 2 days of immersive entertainment, quality food, superlative service, incredible attention to detail, and the most envelope-pushing experience we’ve had at Walt Disney World in years.
All of that makes us happy that we did Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Part of that might be that it felt like we were part of something special, witnessing first hand Imagineering swing for the fences with an ambitious but quirky experience.
However, I’m not sure that’s the same as saying Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is worth that high cost. It’s fair to say there are splurges we all make that bring us joy in the moment, but maybe we look back on with the “clarity” of hindsight and realize that, objectively, the money could’ve been spent better.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was more money than what we’ve spent on anything in recent memory. During the moment-to-moment action, we had zero regrets. Immediately after leaving the Halcyon, we were still on cloud nine, feeling a sense of euphoria and energy from what we had just been a part of. If you asked me then whether it was worth it, I would’ve given an emphatic “YES!” in response. It’s only upon ruminating on it for over a week that results in this more measured response.
We also feel more comfortable with the cost because we were able to reduce the expense by sharing a room. (Doing it with another couple also greatly enhanced the voyage, and relieved us of some “interactivity pressures.”) Not everyone is going to be willing or able to do the same.
Had we paid $5,000 for the two of us, neither of us would’ve felt Galactic Starcruiser was worth it. That’s just us, and that’s how we feel with more careful consideration and reflection, removed from the actual experience. It also comes from the perspective of that $5,000 coming at the opportunity cost of other travel we could do throughout this year. (Hence the above comparisons.)
To that end, we are not in a rush to do Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser again. Even with more story options that we’d love to explore, we feel satisfied with how our voyage and personal adventures, or whatever you want to call them, played out. I’m incredibly curious about what we did not see, but not “drop another few grand” curious. Maybe I’ll feel differently in 6 months or a year, especially if story elements have been tweaked or off-season discounts are offered. For now, that price-barrier outweighs what would otherwise be a repeatable experience.
This assessment could also vary considerably if our demographics differed. Kids are unquestionably the biggest wild card, and this really goes for “children of all ages.” If your kids are too young to actively participate or your group wouldn’t “buy into” the story elements, the value simply is not here. If viewed as a passive Star Wars cruise on land, Galactic Starcruiser won’t even come close to measuring up for your family–do something different.
Conversely, if your party is full of impressionable and imaginative minds, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser could be more memorable and formative of an experience than anything in Walt Disney World’s theme parks. (You know how some kids remember the resort pools more fondly than any rides? This feels like it could be that times one-hundred.)
Obviously, we can’t offer an armchair assessment of your children or you–but if we had kids in the ‘sweet spot’ age range of around 7-14 years old who were forming an interest in Star Wars, many of the above comparisons go out the window. We’d book Galactic Starcruiser even if our personal preferences lied elsewhere.
At the end of the day, that’s the tricky thing with assessing whether Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is worth it. Beyond it simply costing a lot, which presents an unfortunate barrier to entry for many middle class families, there are a ton of other considerations that might make it a good or bad option for a lot of other parties. It’s impossible for us to give a simple and concise answer to the titular question (hence all of this rambling).
About the only other thing we can add is that, from our perspective, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser comes very close to being the best conceivable version of whatever this hard-to-define thing is. Not everyone will love it, but the target audience will absolutely adore it. Assuming for the sake of argument that something like this could ever be worth $5,000 (a bold assumption), Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is the version of that thing.
If you’ve done Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, what’s your perception of the value for money? Was your voyage worth it? Even if you haven’t done it, do you think this would be worth the splurge or is it too much for too little from your perspective? (Please be clear as to whether you’ve been aboard the Halcyon if you’re opining on value.) After reading or seeing firsthand accounts of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Resort, has your perception of it it changed? Do you agree or disagree with our cost comparisons and value 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!