The Economics of the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser
Would you want to spend $5–6K to be stuck with 100 families for two days during the Covid-era?
When news first broke that there would be a Star Wars-themed hotel to complement the Star Wars land, excitement for Star Wars was at its highest. It was early December 2017, right before the release of The Last Jedi, and the official name of the land, Galaxy’s Edge, had just been announced at D23. Flash-forward four years, post a divisive last two Skywalker saga films, the first box office franchise failure in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and a land that has one must-ride attraction with Rise of the Resistance. Yes, the Disney Plus shows seem to be doing well, but the excitement level for Star Wars has been on its own ride these past few years. On top of that, the world has experienced a rollercoaster pandemic that, for now, has no end in sight.
And now, Disney has launched the trailer for their long-awaited immersive hotel experience, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser coming Spring 2022. Big shocker- it is expensive, which could be deduced with an initial description of what the hotel would offer, but the pricing has even exceeded expectations.
For this, you get:
- 2-night stay in a cabin or suite
- Ongoing, immersive, and interactive entertainment, where choices determine your experience*
- Food and beverages on the starcruiser (excluding alcoholic and specialty beverages) and a quick-service meal at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo or other select locations at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for your planetary excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Valet parking
- Exclusive Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser MagicBand
A sample itinerary provided on the website shows days filled with 7am Breakfast, 30-minute Sabaac lessons, 30-minute lightsaber training, 3 random story moments (chosen by the guest), and reservations for Smugglers Run and Rise of the Resistance.
For that cost, a couple could stay at the now second most expensive Disney World resort, The Grand Floridian, with more space and two days’ worth of tickets at Disney parks for about $2,150. They would also have a cool $2K+ extra to spend on theme park food or the restaurants in the Grand Floridian. And merchandise if you are into that kind of thing.
It will remain to be seen when the hotel opens if we will still be deep in the pandemic (variants look to be a continuing problem). And Florida is especially special when it comes to Covid cases currently. If Covid is still a big problem, expect to show proof of vaccination and/or wearing masks in the hotel. Then you are stuck inside a hotel for two days with up to 100 families.
But, with a guided itinerary, Disney is betting that an immersive experience will be more appealing than freedom. And the experience will have to be amazing because the hotel will rely heavily on new visitors and less on repeat visitors. Will it do well at first? Of course! Influencers and wealthy families will want bragging rights. But the experience sounds like a one-and-done thing and not even for every Star Wars fan.
As an adult Star Wars fan, I would rather take my coins and spend the two days at a Star Wars Celebration around other Star Wars fans, buying Star Wars stuff I don’t need, going to panels I won’t remember, and then go on my merry way. But I am not wealthy, and the Galactic Starcruiser is for wealthy Star Wars fans. And we are going to see just how many wealthy Star Wars fans there are in the world. After the influencers and the people who want bragging rights have had their fun. The ones who have enough money to stay at the Starcruiser, then fly to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in May 2022. Yes, that is still happening as well.
The future of this pandemic is uncertain and it will affect other things in addition to theme park attendance, but dropping thousands of dollars on what is essentially a stationary cruise ship feels more like a niche form of entertainment meant for the bright lights of Canto Bight.