Star Wars Hotel

While The Walt Disney Company is proud of all their 2019 D23 Expo announcements, a few matter more than the rest. For movie fans, two of the Disney park updates tower over the rest. They’re the new Star Wars hotel and the multi-park Avengers experience. We’ll talk about the latter next time, but let’s start with the most tantalizing proposition for Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members. Here’s everything we just learned about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

You’ll Spend Two Nights on a Realistic Space Cruise

Disney officials have decided something a bit unconventional with the upcoming Star Wars hotel. The theme of this resort is that you’ll board an intergalactic cruise, and cruises aren’t one-day trips. Instead, you’re signing up for three days and two nights onboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

Imagineers will create the most immersive theme park hotel experience in history. From the moment that you arrive, you’ll become a part of the story. This transition will happen in several phases, starting with how you “board” your starcruiser.

Disney Star Wars resort ship concept art

Guests travel on the Halcyon, the intergalactic equivalent of the Titanic. It’s a majestic vessel capable of hosting hundreds of guests. But just like in real life, you’ll need to travel to the cruise ship before your vacation may begin.

In lieu of a standard hotel check-in, you’ll arrive at a terminal where you’ll enter a launch pod. The special effects will foster the illusion that you’re leaving your home planet, transported to a galaxy far, far away.

Yes, the start of the trip will involve space travel. Once you enter the launch pod, the background will change, showing various star systems in the distance. These celestial sights will grow closer as a realistic method of simulating the experience. Once you pass them, they’ll seem smaller once again.

Finally, you’ll recognize the mighty Halcyon off in the distance and grow excited as you approach. Once you reach this starcruiser, you must dock with it and board, just as with a real cruise ship. In other words, Disney will maintain the illusion from the moment you reach the Star Wars hotel until your adventure begins. Then, it becomes even more engrossing…

A Real-Life Star Wars Adventure

What’s a part of daily life on a cruise ship? Activities! Yes, the Halcyon provides guests with a plethora of entertainment options while you’re onboard. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser goes much deeper in its style of storytelling, though.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this hotel will feel like a real-life adventure. That’s by design. Imagineers want guests to believe that Batuu and the Halcyon exist and have intertwined stories at times.

Once you arrive on the Halcyon, you’ll become a part of an interconnected live action role-playing experience. All of the cast members at the hotel are also characters. Think of the entire situation as a murder mystery dinner party.

The basics are simple. You’re a cruise ship guest on a luxury vessel, and they’re the loyal crew members that cater to your every whim. Once you reach the atrium of the Halcyon, you’ve become a part of the Star Wars universe. You live in the same realm as Rey and Finn and Poe and Leia.

The immersion is total. During your cruise, you’ll gaze at windows with views of outer space. These visuals will change depending on the location of the vessel and time of day. Your “hotel” is a spaceship that’s moving at a leisurely pace across the local solar systems. The readily available digital monitors will reflect this fact.

Concept art of a family role playing at Disney Star Wars hotel room.

Pick a Side in an Intergalactic War

The situation is fluid, though. While you’re vacationing, others are fighting a war. Members of The Resistance are combating the tyrannical government of The First Order, and that civil war will come to your door. While you’re a guest, you’ll choose a side in this battle.

Disney’s D-23 statement about the Star Wars hotel adventure includes this description: “The choices you make affect the course of your journey and ultimately determine how your Star Wars story unfolds.”

From a vacationer’s perspective, your story is singularly unique. When you talk to cast members and other guests, you’re not only playing your part but also choosing your own adventure. When you’re rude to someone from The First Order, you could run into some bureaucratic red tape. Siding against The Resistance could cause you problems in some sections of Black Spire Outpost.

From all published information thus far, the belief is that your hotel and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge behaviors will build your reputation on Batuu, the home planet of Star Wars Land. Reputation scanners are already in place at Disneyland and are expected soon at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

On the Halcyon, the outcome of your actions is more immediate. Cast members will have their own stories as the aliens running the ship. Alienating one of them could alter your entire story arc during your adventure. Alternately, befriending the right one could open doors to additional hidden stories.

Disney has suggested that members of the crew host illicit Resistance meetings in parts of the ship. Earning an invite to one could position you to make an impact against The First Order.

To prepare for your adventure, you may even practice your Lightsaber skills in The Dojo. This training facility allows guests to master The Force in the same setting that Luke Skywalker utilized during the Holy Trilogy.

You’ll apparently need combat training, too. During the D-23 presentation, Disney hinted that representatives of The First Order will board the Halcyon at some point. Guests must fight off the invasion, something that certainly won’t happen the next time that you stay at a Marriott Hotel.

Closing Thoughts on Star Wars Hotel

Impressively, the level of immersion is even deeper than that, though. All of the other hotel guests are also Star Wars characters. They’re experiencing their own adventures, which may not sync up with yours. For example, someone might pretend that they’re a member of The Resistance to your face, only to turn you over to The First Order at a later date.

This level of detail is the game-changer for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. It could/should become a place where frequent guests develop detailed character arcs over time. And it’s a tantalizing proposition for DVC members. With contracts that last for decades, those of us who are program participants can maintain a Star Wars character over many years’ worth of visits!

We shouldn’t expect a DVC part of the hotel for several years, possibly even a decade or longer. When it happens, however, DVC members can book an intergalactic cruise that doubles as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in the Star Wars universe. And that’s pretty great.

On Disney’s side, this multi-day cruise experience is essential to their plans for Star Wars Land at Walt Disney World. During the D-23 presentation, they spent more time on this subject than anything else, punctuating their hopes for the project.

The only topic that park officials didn’t address is a projected opening date for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Current guesses range from 2020-2022.

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