What’s Happening with the Star Wars Hotel?
Did you know that The Onion’s articles aren’t factual? How about the content at the Sacramento Bee?
Yes, satire sites exist, but the art of satire is lost on many. In other instances, the satire isn’t any good.
For example, there’s a weird site that only makes up stories about Disney. And they somehow got a few people believing an absurd bit of satire.
No, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser isn’t closing despite a link you may have seen.
However, we should examine how 2022 has gone for the Star Wars Hotel and what’s in store for 2023.
The Story So Far…
We’re about a month away from recap season at MickeyBlog. As usual, we’ll end the year with a batch of stories recapping the memorable moments of 2022.
Friends, I can assure you that there have been a LOT! Still, nothing else can match the hype and level of conversation generated by the Star Wars Hotel.
Before the place opened, presales were through the roof! Then, Disney released an ill-considered promotional video for Galactic Starcruiser.
That kid from The Goldbergs acted like he was in a 1980s marketing video, which is his schtick, I guess.
For whatever reason, people hated it, and word spread of high volumes of cancellations.
At that point, many Disney critics arbitrarily dismissed Galactic Starcruiser as a failure.
These folks lamented the cheap nature of some of the equipment shown in the marketing material.
I bit my tongue a lot at the time, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether these people had ever seen a Star Wars movie.
George Lucas embraced 1950s science-fiction serial storytelling, which included spacecraft with switches and knobs rather than complex digital displays.
In short, Disney nailed the theming, but some “fans” assailed them for the cheap look and style.
To them, the failure of the Star Wars Hotel was a foregone conclusion.
For my part, I’ve written about movies for a living since the 1990s. So I know from experience that there’s no deterring Star Wars fans from doing anything Star Wars-related.
Also, I attended my fair share of Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios back in the day.
I can say with confidence that many Disney fans are also Star Wars fans…and diehard ones at that.
The idea of a Star Wars Hotel has always been a massive money-making opportunity.
The Early Triumph of Galactic Starcruiser
Critics did have a solid argument against Star Wars Hotel, though. It’s the Maserati of hotel stays.
Guests spend a few thousand dollars to spend three days and two nights living out their personal Star Wars adventures.
The immersive nature of the experience entices tourists to forget the outside world and join The Resistance or The First Order.
However, to do so, you must pay a lot of money. Galactic Starcruiser costs more per night than Cabins or Bungalows, the two previously most expensive room types at Walt Disney World.
As such, those in the business of hating Disney – and it IS a weird growth industry these days – expected few would-be customers to pay such high prices.
When the resort opened to guests, those hot takes quickly turned cold. During the early days of Galactic Starcruiser, it was THE Disney thing to do.
The Star Wars Hotel opened on March 1st, 2022. It promptly sold out all its bookings for the next six months.
In fact, the only thing that slowed the hotel’s runaway momentum was Hurricane Ian.
Disney understandably chose to close Galactic Starcruiser during this weather event to protect the safety of guests and cast members alike.
Similarly, management did the same thing during the recent Hurricane Nicole storm that was thankfully less severe.
Still, for seven months, the Star Wars Hotel booked every possible room, an impossible feat to any of us who have worked in the hospitality industry.
As a rule, if your hotel’s occupancy reaches 90 percent, you expect a raise and a promotion. Disney somehow managed 100 percent for more than half a year.
Anyone who tells you that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser’s 2022 was anything other than a staggering triumph is lying to you.
The Future of Galactic Starcruiser
Here’s where the story takes a turn, and that satire story comes into play.
Despite everything that has happened, the perception of the Star Wars Hotel remains negative in some circles.
People who aren’t as attuned to Disney remember those negative headlines and have no recollection of the achievement that followed.
To them, Galactic Starcruiser earned negative headlines and never recovered.
For that reason, a satirical story has somehow become believable to some. A site posted a fake news story that Star Wars Hotel is closing.
Friends of mine, people who should know better, quickly believed the story because it had the ring of truth to these casual Star Wars fans.
I’ve watched my wife correct multiple (usually smart) people today about the veracity of this clearly satirical article.
There’s a reason why this has happened. Word has started to leak about openings at Galactic Starcruiser.
We can verify this fact quite easily since Disney shows its availability on the official site.
As I type this, you could ostensibly book for Saturday, November 26th, which is part of Thanksgiving weekend.
Realistically, that shouldn’t be possible if demand were still high. Thanksgiving’s a massive week for tourism.
While it’s fair to wonder how many people want to spend their holiday pretending like they’re in a galaxy far, far away, it’s still concerning.
Similarly, December shows slightly more nights available than booked. Meanwhile, nothing has sold out in January.
This sort of booking is typical for standard hotels, but it’s the first time we’ve witnessed this with Galactic Starcruiser.
Understandably, people wonder whether Disney has met all its primary consumer demand for this premise.
In other words, now that the diehards have experienced the hotel, who’s left as a target audience?
What to Expect from Galactic Starcruiser in 2023?
I feel like we need to evaluate Galactic Starcruiser in a different way than usual.
There’s the topic of how the hotel has done during its opening year. That’s one giant victory lap for Disney.
Then, there’s the matter of what happens next with the Star Wars Hotel. Its critics have always believed that this experience offers a limited shelf life.
I’m conflicted on this subject because I know from the data that the current and next generation of tourists are more experiential in nature.
So, the premise of Galactic Starcruiser should resonate indefinitely.
Conversely, I know that the most popular Disney activity similar to this immersive cruise, The Adventurers Club, ultimately closed due to a lack of demand.
Now, The Adventurers Club remained in business for nearly 19 years. It wasn’t a fly-by-night operation.
Still, the recent lack of sellouts at the Star Wars Hotel causes me to wonder whether Disney may reconfigure on the fly.
We’re in an era of regular price increases at the parks and resorts.
Would Disney lower the price of Galactic Starcruiser after its first year to make it more affordable?
If the company adopted this strategy, it’d create a second wave of excited guests, the group priced out of the initial resort stays.
Simultaneously, the glowing praise for the resort experience – Star Wars Hotel is universally beloved – has built a buzz for a more budget-conscious group of guests.
Similarly, I wonder what will happen with Galactic Starcruiser if Disney doesn’t discount the price.
Let’s say that 80 percent occupancy becomes the norm. What would that do to the perception of the Star Wars Hotel as a success/failure?
No, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser isn’t closing. In truth, it’s done beyond Disney’s loftiest expectations thus far. But its future success remains in question.
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Feature Photo: (David Roark, photographer)