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'Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser' at Disney World is very cool - and expensive - say first reviews
Is the two-night experience in the galaxy far, far away really worth the $4,800-$6,000 price tag?
After several years of accumulated hype, Orlando's Walt Disney World is finally ready to open Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to the general public next week. Based in the Galaxy's Edge theme park in Disney's Hollywood Studios, the luxury — emphasis on "luxury" — experience includes a two-night "journey" amongst the stars in Lucasfilm's galaxy far, far away.
Guests can pick a side (i.e., the Resistance or First Order), interact with famous Star Wars characters, train with lightsabers, undertake missions on Batuu (the Outer Rim setting for Galaxy's Edge), and nosh on culinary delights one can only get on a 100-cabin Corellian MPO-1400 model starcruiser operated by Chandrila Star Line. Here's the rub, though: the cosmic fun will set you back between $4,800 - $6,000. That includes everything — from cabin accommodations to food — but is Galactic Starcruiser really worth all those credits?
According to some members of the media who got a chance to check it out ahead of launch, your mileage will vary based on disposable income and level of Star Wars fandom ... unless, of course, you count yourselves among the galaxy's wealthy elite who can afford to regularly blow a small fortune on Canto Bight every weekend, anyway.
"I never, ever (ever) would have paid what it costs to take my family to this thing," wrote Joel Cunningham of Gizmodo. " But when presented with the opportunity to do so for free, I certainly didn’t say no. Since few others are likely to be so lucky to visit when the hotel opens to the public from next week, barring some sort of Make-A-Wish-level tragedy, I’m here to tell you all about it, and help you decide whether it’s worth the money. The short answer? No. But it is really is incredibly cool."
Polygon's Charlie Hall described the experience to be "far from perfect," going on to add: "I found that the facility itself feels tiny, at times verging on claustrophobic. The price point ... puts it well out of reach for many American households. And the actual hotel experience of it all would fall flat without the cast of characters, a team of skilled, tireless actors who help bring this corner of the galaxy to stunning life. In spite of those flaws, it’s an experience I’ll always remember, something of a dream come true for a Star Wars fan."
Garrett Martin of Paste Magazine praised the overall narrative immersion, writing: "Above all else, Galactic Starcruiser is about story. Every crew member has their own story to tell, and they will tell it to you, if you give them an opportunity. When I first stepped onto the bridge, I was immediately hailed by a friendly bearded man in the Halcyon’s distinctive blue uniform. He gave me a quick tour of the bridge, shared some facts about the ship, and talked briefly about his home planet Kijimi, an icy rock that was apparently the site of one of Han Solo’s adventures. He wasn’t familiar with the planet Atlanta when he asked me where I came from. His name was Dan."
"Galactic Starcruiser takes immersion to the extreme," echoed Brooks Barnes of The New York Times. "If guests arrive the minute they are allowed and stay until checkout, they get 45 hours inside a game. Disney has always called its employees cast members, but the people hired to staff the hotel go a step further — all of them, even the bellhops, are “Star Wars” universe residents who stay in character when you ask a question."
CNN's Ashley Strickland characterized the schedule as pretty rigorous, which seems like a dream for youngsters with short attention spans.
"If you're ready for an adventure with little downtime and a fast-paced schedule, this is the Disney excursion for you," wrote Strickland. "And if you want to explore the Disney parks afterward, build in a day to catch up on rest. I feel like I need a vacation to recover. The intensity of the schedule and action is meant for Star Wars fans who want to live out their own story. Worried about how your kids might handle it? During my stay, the kids were the bravest and some of the most eager to jump in and help their favorite characters like Sammie and Chewbacca."
Nerdist's Amy Ratcliffe was more critical of that breakneck speed: "On one hand, you’re paying a lot and they keep you busy. On the other hand, I left my trip feeling as though I’d just worked five days at San Diego Comic-Con. Just utterly drained and wiped after less than 48 hours. That’s not a bad thing — I had a good time — but I want people to be aware this isn’t a vacation with downtime. The pacing needs work."
"Even though this is a unique experience, it's not going to be for everyone. One of the most important things to note is that this is not a relaxing vacation," added Chris E. Hayner of GameSpot. "When you leave, you're going to be tired from being so engaged for three straight days. So if you're hoping to rest during your stay, maybe you should just book a hotel somewhere."
Terri Peters, the lifestyle editor for Yahoo! Entertainment, put it best: "If you're not willing to suspend disbelief, jump in full-tilt and spend the voyage immersed in the acting, activities and storyline, you, too, will probably take to Twitter to complain about the cost. If you love cosplay, Star Wars and food you'll never eat anywhere else, you might think you got your money's worth."
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser blasts off Tuesday, March 1. For more details on booking and availability, click here.