Why I'm Happy And Sad Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Failed
If you haven't heard, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is taking its last voyage on September 28th, 2023. It only opened on March 1st, 2022. There were some hefty 30% discounts for certain voyages this summer for DVC and Disney Visa card holders, but it seems that wasn't enough to tempt people to do it. These voyages STARTED at around $5,000 for two people for a two-night voyage. That's also not taking into account that it's advertised as a two-night voyage, but it only includes one full day, and part of the day is in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Day 1 starts at check-in at 1 pm, and on day 3 you're shipped off after your 9 am breakfast in the morning.
5 Grand Is Just Too Much
$5,000 for a two-night experience is a lot of money. That's comparable to two or three 3-night Disney cruises. My Dad (who has no desire to go to Walt Disney World whatsoever) was interested in doing this until he saw the price. "I'd go halves if it was 2 or 3 grand total," he said, "but 5 grand plus? No way." (Ignoring the costs it takes for us Brits to get to Florida). It looks like over the year of operation Disney burned through everyone who had the money to spend on this experience. From what I've seen online, the experience resulted in mostly positive reviews. However, there are only so many people with that kind of money and Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was never going to work long-term if Disney wanted to continue to charge $5,000+ for it.
Listen, I love Star Wars and would loved to have tried this. I've loved Star Wars since I was a whippersnapper. At half the cost, and not having to even touch money while you're in there (which means including alcohol), I probably would have done this. But as per my previous comparison, and also understanding that everyone allocates their holiday money differently, I'd have chosen to use that money on two or three Disney Cruises instead.
Questioning The Era
There's an argument to be made that they made a mistake focusing the storyline (including Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge as a whole) on the sequel era. The sequel films, while making good money, weren't overly well received. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (and also Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) sort of feels like you're somewhere Star Wars themed, but not actually in Star Wars. The most common factor of wealth is age. So, if the storyline was original trilogy era, for example seeing Luke and Vader fight rather than Kylo and Rey, would it have drawn more of the wealthier and original trilogy fans? My dad might have stretched to $2500-$3500 if it was the original trilogy era. (Although Dad if you're reading this, I'm totally not calling you old).
Why I'm Happy
I am happy it's gone because as a customer I don't like Disney focusing on making insanely expensive experiences that don't cater to the 99% of us. Disney is inherently an expensive experience and we pay over the top as it is, but this experience was a massive paywall. Charge $1k a night at Grand Floridian, I don't mind, I'll just roam around the hotel but I'll stay at Pop. Charge $500pp to eat at Victoria & Albert's, no sweat, I prefer some noodles so I'll go eat at Ohana. Disney has been quite good at making the most out of people with more money, but not hindering the experience for everyone else. Take the $5,000 cocktail on the Disney Wish for example. If you want to buy that, you go right ahead, but we all experience Hyperspace Lounge the same. Of course, I don't need to do Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, but it was created and marketed in a way that is just a non-starter for most people - there's not been anything like that at Walt Disney World. Another criticism is that some parts of what was promised for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, like roaming Droids, were scrapped but ended up being part of this $5k experience instead.
Why I'm Sad
I'm also torn on my opinion (which I know comes off as hypocritical), but on the flip side I am also sad it's gone because Disney took a huge risk. I applaud when Disney (and any company really) allows their top talent to just go all out and build something amazing. Forget about the money and just build something incredible. Let the accountants price it up afterwards. I feel they did that with this, and after its closure, we might not see that happen again. But did it NEED to be $5,000+? Is it a case they could run it at half the price (with a couple of things scaled back) and still make a profit, or would it be damaging to the people who have previously paid $5000+ for it? We'll likely never know.
What Disney plan to do with this space will be interesting. I'm not sure what they'll do. Turn it into some boutique Star Wars-themed hotel? They'll likely want to charge deluxe pricing for it, but with small rooms that aren't deluxe standard, will that even have enough draw at that price? From what I've heard the cast members working the experience have been incredible, and I hope their talents are not wasted and they manage to find roles elsewhere. I look forward to seeing what they decide to do with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser nevertheless.
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