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Welcome aboard Galactic Starcruiser, a windowless Star Wars space yacht forever moored in a galaxy far, far away alongside Florida’s Interstate 4 highway. It’s not quite Westworld by way of Naboo, but it’s the closest to playing pretend padawan that Disney’s offered to date.
Walt Disney World’s ambitious new project — officially titled Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a performance. When it opens to the public on March 1, 2022, each two-night journey will be jam-packed with Resistance challenges and First Order shenanigans unfurling into varied storylines that involve you, the guest, and culminate in a face-off between Kylo Ren and Rey. (Bunking with Luke Skywalker and C-3PO is a non-starter. As goes for Disney’s modern galactic build outs, we’re squarely set between Episode 8 and 9 in the timeline, so they’re nowhere to be seen.)
The hotel might mimic a starship but it operates like an earthbound cruise: Each stay is two consecutive nights with all food, activities, and entertainment included. With a price tag upward of nearly $6,000 for a family of four (almost $5,000 for two), it’s the priciest Disney World experience on offer, one that’s left its most dedicated fans reeling. The ambitious project has been in the works for years, developed in tandem with Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park land, offering what Disney hopes is the next level of immersive entertainment for Star Wars fans, gaming buffs, and anyone who’d throw down a few grand to spot Chewbacca from across the bar.
I was among the first passengers to launch into orbit on a recent preview stay aboard the Halcyon — the gem in Chandrila Star Line’s fleet of imaginary spaceships. Here I slept in a capsule bunk bed large enough for most adults, completed odd missions for random characters aboard the ship, and peered out of my viewport into the wonders of “space.” Like Las Vegas for cosplayers, you won’t see sunlight for two 17-hour stretches while aboard the Halcyon, but I found it only added to the effect.
Guests are assigned seats in the Crown of Cordellia dining room. Carlye Wisel
Of course like any good cruise, so much of the experience’s overall success rides on the food, which for captive passengers is equal parts sustenance and activity. Eating aboard the Galactic Starcruiser is not unlike eating aboard your average luxury liner, and the modernist tricks (Blue stuff! Smoke! Ice spheres!) might seem old hat to anyone who ordered from a high-end tasting menu in the early 2000s. Still, within the parameters of an intellectual property cruiser erected in Mickey Mouse’s Floridian backyard, the culinary program is, overall, a feat. (Just look at the Bantha blue milk and green milk on tap beside a Coca-Cola fountain soda machine.)
Disney isn’t new to creating robust theme menus for galaxies far far away — Satu’li Canteen,