- Disney’s immersive Star Wars hotel is struggling to attract guests
- Starting in October, the hotel is only taking reservations three nights a week
- Prices for a two-night stay at an Orlando hotel range from $5,000 to $20,000
Disney is rescheduling its billion-dollar Star Wars hotel due to falling demand.
The hotel, which opened in March 2022 in the Orlando area to great fanfare and sold out ‘rides’, is costing guests anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 for a two-night immersive experience where they are thrust into a story set in a galaxy far, far, far away.
The booking portal for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser shows that there are discounted dates throughout October, November and December.
Starting in the fall, the hotel is only open for reservations three or four times a week. Many hardcore Disney and Star Wars fans have long criticized the resort’s exorbitant prices and the fact that it’s windowless.
Among the in-house running beer prices are $13 for a beer, $23 for a cocktail, plus $99 for an official Star Wars-themed photo. New York times I mentioned at the time the park opened.
In January, several Disney blogs reported that the company was offering discounted hotel rates of up to $700 to Disney Vacation Club members who also stayed at another Disney hotel for two nights.
Galactic Starcruiser cut dates were first reported by Tourist amusement park. The site said travel agents were notified of the changes in an email from Disney.
When the flight calendar is active, you may notice the schedule has been adjusted to provide two flights per week, excluding holiday weeks when we may do three flights. We learned a lot during our first year of operation and have adjusted our flight schedules to meet the needs of our guests,” the email read.
The 2-night fee includes a trip to Disney’s Star Wars-themed Galaxy Edge theme park.
In May 2022, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Forbes that customer interest in the hotel was “exceptional” and ratings were “incredibly high”. He noted that the Starcruiser will be kept at “100 percent utilization through 2022.”
At the end of 2022, Disney was offering discounts of between 30 and 50 percent. This came after the company canceled several Starcruiser flights last summer.
In December, Disney removed a promotional video featuring the hotel from its official YouTube channel and Twitter page due to negative comments from visitors.
“Lightsword training,” said one tourist, “is about as exciting as a roadside sobriety test.” New York Post.
Another said, “It’s way too expensive.”
Official reviews differed, a CNBC The review called it worth the price as it takes “immersion into a new meaning”. While a San Francisco Chronicle reviewer complained, the rooms were described as “a suburban high school built in the mid-1970s.”
At the time of this writing, consumers can book practically any night on Starcruiser through September 2023.
The designers said the Starcruiser experience takes elements from gaming, theatre, storytelling and hospitality. Matt Martin, chief creative officer of Lucasfilm Story Group, described it as “immersive theater meets cruise”.
Like traditional cruises, all guests board at the same time. The captain and cruise director give a welcome, but things go awry when Stormtroopers show up. The characters ask the Visitors for help, urging them to decide to side with the Resistance or the sinister First Order.
“You can choose to lie to a character, you can help them, you can earn their trust, you can double down on people,” said Anne Morrow Johnson, executive producer and creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “And you can really continue that relationship with them as you want your story to unfold.”
Star Wars costumes are encouraged. To dress for the occasion, guests can pop into The Chandrila Collection, an onboard boutique that sells Hungarian fashion.
Afterwards, guests can tour the Engineering Room before heading to the Bridge, where they will have the opportunity to experience what it would be like to operate the ship’s navigation and defense systems under the supervision of the crew.
What’s more, crew members are willing to provide training on how to handle a lightsaber.
When evening falls, the Crown of Corellia Dining Room offers nightly musical entertainment from an intergalactic singer and band.
At the Sublight Lounge cocktail bar – suitable for all ages – visitors can play a round of card game in the Star Wars universe. Or they can relax in the lobby without any pressure to participate in the story, said the creators.
Once guests have retired to their sleeping quarters, they can look out from a “window into space” built into the wall of each cabin, offering views of “magnificent ships and galactic landmarks.”
“We try to make playing Star Wars safe and fun,” said Scott Troubridge, executive creative portfolio portfolio at Walt Disney Imagineering.
‘If you want to put on some Hungarian fancy dress and make-up, that’s totally fine,’ said Troubridge. “But also if you just want to sit back and put on a Star Wars t-shirt and drink a cocktail and watch the planets drift by, that’s fine too.”
The company did not disclose what it spent on building the experiment, which has been in development for more than six years. But the executives said they stick to Disney’s famous attention to detail and aim to create a high-tech luxury experience.
With Starcruiser, “there is a significant investment, not only in this particular version that we’re launching, but also in the core technology and capabilities that we’ve developed,” said Trowbridge. “We are optimistic about expanding the ways we can communicate with our guests.”
In January, reinstated Disney CEO Bob Iger began offering lower ticket prices and more perks while trying to win back loyal fans who had accused the company’s parks of being a “money grab.”
At Disneyland in Anaheim, park-goers will now have more days throughout the year as one-day tickets will cost $104 — a special ticket price that was usually limited to certain school days in the winter and spring. The regular ticket on other days will still cost people $179.
Park-goers will also get free ride photos, and park navigation rules have been relaxed—allowing guests to explore from 11 a.m. instead of 1 p.m.
At Disney World in Orlando, park-goers will get photos with the attractions when they purchase a Genie+, and hotel guests will get free overnight parking—it can be as low as $25 per day. Annual Pass holders arriving after 2pm will not be required to make reservations from Monday to Friday.
When Iger, who served for 15 years as CEO and retired in February 2020, was reinstated in November, he promised to work on the company’s creativity and profitability, and to return to its “core values.”
Fans have spent the past two years complaining about issues at the parks, including two price increases in 2022, just in case.
“Disney sends out surveys constantly, and they really pay attention to these surveys,” said Don Maunsell, president of travel website MouseSavers.com. “All of these are things that fans have complained about,” Mancel said.
Chapek, Egger’s predecessor, had been fired after company managers lost confidence in his leadership. And the outrage against him became so popular among the guests that they often wore T-shirts reading “Your Young Man Killed Magic” and other slogans against him. Some Disney visitors even began referring to broken or broken rides as having been “Chapek’d.”
Disney has also raised ticket prices twice since October 2021, with one-day tickets going as high as $244 for a one-day Park Hopper pass.
In January, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reignited the fight to wrest home rule power from Disney World in the latest blow as part of an ongoing battle between the company and the state.
The fix began with a “Don’t Say Jay” bill — it would also force the company to pay $700 million in unsecured debt that taxpayers would otherwise have to pay.
Since 1967, Disney has been responsible for managing an area known as Reedy Creek, which is partly within Orange and Osola counties.
Critics say the arrangement gives the company special legal and tax advantages.
Last week, a notice posted on the Osceola County website said that legislation would be introduced to create a state-controlled board for Reedy Creek.
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