'Star Wars': Galactic Starcruiser Opens Next Week — and We Got a First Look Inside
Training with lightsabers, jumping to hyperspace, fighting alongside the Resistance: Since the first Star Wars film premiered in 1977, fans have dreamed of exploring a galaxy far, far away — and now, that fantasy is a reality. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser officially debuts on March 1, but we got a first look at the new, completely unique two-night experience at Disney World. More than just a Star Wars hotel, the Galactic Starcruiser incorporates engaging theater performances, themed restaurants featuring dishes inspired by the galaxy, interactive technology and games, and more to create a wholly immersive experience in which guests (at all ages and levels of Star Wars knowledge) can be the heroes of their own galactic adventures.
Related: More Disney vacation ideas
From the moment you arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal to check in, the atmosphere feels unlike any other Disney hotel, but the real excitement starts when you board a Launch Pod to jump through hyperspace and hop on the Halcyon — your starcruiser home for the next two nights. Upon embarkation, you're shown to your room, with futuristic quarters and a viewport looking out into space, so you can see as the starcruiser passes other planets or star ships. Just like that, you're thrust into the action of your own Star Wars story, armed with a Datapad (on the Play Disney Parks app), which contains a schedule of events (including top-secret missions, should you choose to accept them), communications from characters on board and on Batuu (the planet featured in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios), maps of the ship and Black Spire Outpost on Batuu, tools like scanners and translators, and a user profile. Some activities, like lightsaber and bridge operations training, are available for every guest (just in case you need to defend the ship), while other small-group meetups further their individual story lines.
Who you interact with and the choices you make on board and on Batuu directly impact your story line. Characters — including favorites like Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren, along with captain Riyola Keevan, cruise director Lenka Mok, and galactic superstar Gaya — and cast members carry the story and interact with guests throughout the experience, and ultimately, tension between the First Order and Resistance builds to an epic point (we won't give away any spoilers, but the events that transpire are worthy of the Star Wars franchise). And, of course, your story is entirely in your hands — whether you just want to relax in the Sublight Lounge with a cocktail and soak in the atmosphere of the Halcyon as you watch the story unfold or you plan to dress the part and accomplish all the missions you can to engage with the action.
From the second you step on board the Halcyon to the moment you take your space pod back down to Earth, the experience redefines the expectations and bounds of themed immersive entertainment. Disney has long been a leader in this space, but with Star Wars in focus (and in collaboration with Lucasfilm), they've taken it to a new, out-of-this-world level. Day one welcomes guests to the ship — a luxury starcruiser designed with existing Star Wars ships and aesthetics in mind — where they find their rooms, explore the different areas, begin their missions, wield lightsabers or learn how to operate the shields and guns on the bridge, and more. The first night, guests enjoy a live musical performance from Gaya in the Crown of Corellia dining room as they feast on dishes like Tip-Yip Chicken, Bantha Beef Tenderloin, Surabat Spiced Flora, and more — all beautifully presented and delicious. Then, more action before passengers retire to their rooms to rest up for day two's excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
Guests get Lightning Lane passes to skip the lines for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, plus meal credits to use at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo (or other quick-service locations). Guests can also request reservations to sip drinks at Oga's Cantina, build a lightsaber at Savi's Workshop, or make a droid at the Droid Depot (those costs aren't included). They can also undertake more missions before heading back to the Halcyon and grabbing a drink and playing holo-sabacc at Sublight Lounge or trying to gain access to the engineering room or cargo hold to uncover more of the ship and its secrets. That night, at dinner, guests "Taste Around the Galaxy" with dishes inspired by different planets, including some bright blue shrimp from Felucia. After more exciting events transpire in the atrium (the main lobby area where most major events occur), there's a dessert party in the dining room and late-night fun before guests turn in and prepare to depart in the morning.
Two-night adventures start on March 1, with prices starting at $4,809 for two guests per cabin or $5,999 for four guests in a cabin. The price includes accommodations for two nights, entry to Disney's Hollywood Studios, and six meals in the Crown of Corellia dining room, plus a quick-service meal in Hollywood Studios. (Merchandise, alcoholic drinks, and other expenses are not included.) There are 100 cabins on board, two dinner seatings each night, and plenty of places to explore, so there's enough space to enjoy your own Star Wars adventures. Plus, cast members found a way to interact with every single guest on board (our waiters and bartenders even remembered details we told them the day before and stayed perfectly in character the entire time).
Ann Morrow Johnson, executive creative director and executive producer for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney Imagineering, told Travel + Leisure that guests just need to "come ready to play — whatever that means for you." And play we did. I, a 25-year-old woman, ran around that starcruiser, genuinely delighted to find Chewbacca in a hidden room, babble with a droid, cheer for the Resistance, and watch as the ship jumped into hyperspace. Those moments of immersive storytelling are exactly why so many people love Disney, and why this experience is unlike anything else out there.