The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser hotel sounds like Secret Cinema in hell | Star Wars
Disney World has long been touted as a place where dreams come true, which in reality was only the case if your subconscious mind had been plagued by visions of queues, tourists, crying children, depressed teenagers in unwieldy costumes and elements of the natural world that have been badly rendered in fibreglass. But today that all changes. Because today Disney World officially opens its Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort.
Billed as the ultimate immersive Star Wars experience, the Galactic Starcruiser (centred on its Halcyon hotel) is a top-to-tail recreation of a Star Wars spaceship. During a two-day stay, which costs around £4,500 for a family, guests will be plunged into their very own app-dictated storyline where they’ll be sent on missions, asked to sneak away to clandestine meetings, trained in the art of lightsaber combat and – if they’re lucky – be allowed out into a “climate simulator”, which reports suggest is the only part of the resort where you get to go outside.
“Wait,” you’re thinking. “If this is a mock-up of a spaceship travelling through the darkest recesses of the galaxy, then does that mean that Disney spent millions upon millions of dollars making an incredibly expensive hotel that doesn’t actually have any windows in it?” The answer, obviously, is yes. The hotel rooms all have screens where the windows should be, showing a representation of the inky nothingness of space, but nothing you can crack open in a panic if the air conditioning goes down and the illusion falls away and your throat closes up as you realise that you’ve paid several months’ wages to spend two nights in an airless box.
This, according to a report in SF Gate, was a dealbreaker for some of the resort’s early reviewers. The report from an influential Disney food YouTuber was that “Disney went all-in on an experience that seemingly puts only the wealthiest guests inside a windowless bunker for two full days”. To add insult to injury, others have complained that the rooms themselves – in keeping with what life is probably like onboard a spaceship – are smaller than expected, and uncomfortably cramped.
But, in fairness, this probably doesn’t matter. By the time you read the phrase “ultimate immersive Star Wars experience”, you had already solidly made up your mind about Galactic Starcruiser. You are either in, or aggressively and permanently out.
I have to put myself in the latter category here, which probably makes me a little biased. By all accounts, Galactic Starcruiser demands total participation of its guests. Dressing in costume is recommended (the official Galactic Starcruiser site will even sell you an official Padmé Amidala cloak for £110), and the best way to get the most out of your stay is to treat it like a non-stop 48-hour Secret Cinema event.
I’ve been to Secret Cinema in the past, and I still shudder at the memory. It’s the sort of thing that requires you to suspend all disbelief in a state of unquestioning compliance, and even a hint of self-consciousness will blast the whole thing to smithereens. Given that red-hot self-consciousness is my default setting, the thought of spending two days in close proximity to people who have paid through the nose to dress up as space beings and have fun no matter what sounds like my idea of hell. There is only one scenario where I would ever visit Galactic Starcruiser, and that’s one where an editor has commissioned me at double my usual rate to write at length about what a horrible time I’m having. And, for any editors reading, I would totally do that.
But I’m equally aware that some people will go absolutely bananas for Galactic Starcruiser. They will have been raised on Star Wars. They will have gladly embraced Disney’s dilution of the original trilogy. They will leap at the chance to be the star of their own Star Wars experience, no matter the cost. And for that reason, I couldn’t be happier that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser exists. It gives these people a place to live out their wildest fantasies, and I get to rest easy knowing that they’re all 4,000 miles away from me. It’s a total win-win.