Disney is charging $5,000+ for two nights at their new Star Wars hotel. Can the experience possibly be worth it?
We’ve visited Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser both as guests of the media event and as paying guests on the inaugural sailing. Now, we’re using all of our expertise and research to answer the question everyone has been asking: Is Disney World’s Star Wars Hotel worth it?
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is a fully-immersive two-night experience similar to a cruise ship where you are launched into your own Star Wars story on a “space cruise.” You’ll have the chance to wield a lightsaber, go on missions with characters, interact with familiar Star Wars heroes, eat space food (Blue Shrimp, we’re looking at you.), and more.
Your experience on Galactic Starcruiser includes your food (meals, snacks, and most non-alcoholic beverages), park entry to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for one day, your cabin, and most onboard experiences.
Like a cruise, the $5,000+ price tag includes many aspects of your experience.
Even when you consider ALL of the included amenities, Galactic Starcruiser is still one of the highest-priced experiences in Disney World. So, why has Disney World made this hotel SO expensive?
What you’re really paying for is the STORY. Disney has used all of the resources at their disposal (technology, money, the Star Wars IP, etc.) to craft an almost totally immersive experience. Speaking first hand, when you’re aboard the Halcyon, you’re about as close as you can get to being in Star Wars.
$4,809 is the starting rate for two adult guests in a standard cabin ($1,209 per guest per night). We’ve done the math and the full value of included food and park tickets for two people traveling on Galactic Starcruiser is around $878 (You can read more about that here!), leaving the base value of your room and onboard experiences at a still-WHOPPING $3,931 for a two-person voyage.
A comparable (but still bigger!) room at Disney World’s most expensive hotel, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, has a base rate of around $760 per night or $1,520 for two nights. Starcruiser costs significantly more than DOUBLE that.
The Star Wars hotel is not a hotel.
And that pricing has led to contention amongst fans. There has been a LOT of controversy surrounding Galactic Starcruiser. When it was first announced, fans were excited about what was an ambitious and intriguing idea from Disney. Of course, that all changed when Disney announced base prices, ranging from $4,809 for two people per cabin to $5,999 for four guests per cabin.
With such a shockingly high price tag, many of the people who had been so excited about the project now saw it as unobtainable and as Disney continued to release marketing for the experience, audiences didn’t get the feeling of how immersive the experience truly would be. Cue a lot of hate and rising doubts about how such a hotel could ever be worth $5 grand for two nights.
Now that we’ve been on board, both as guests of the media cruise and paying our own way, we can say that you are NOT dropping that kind of cash for two nights in a hotel. It’s not a hotel at all. It’s a game – a really, really big game.
Galactic Starcruiser is like a cross between a two-day escape room, a choose-your-own-adventure book, and a murder-mystery dinner…but you’re doing them all at once with no answer key.
You’re meeting characters like Sammie the mechanic, Gaya the galactic superstar, and Captain Keevan – and they’re meeting you, learning your name and your allegiances. Those characters are then giving you missions around the ship and even in Batuu once you make it to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on Day 2 of your voyage.
And yes, you’re seeing those characters in person, but you’re also “communicating” with them via your Datapad (A.K.A. your phone) and completing missions like you would in the Play Disney Parks app in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – scanning cargo crates, tuning into First Order frequencies, and more.
Deciding what characters you help or betray, what missions you complete or skip, and even where you’re hanging out onboard has a lasting effect on the way the story plays out for you.
And these aren’t the character interactions you recognize. We’re talking Chewbacca or a Stormtrooper weighing in on your game of holo Sabacc or First Order Lieutenant Croy slyly chatting with you about his fandom for superstar Gaya. At one point, I found myself sitting in the atrium when Sammie the engineer slid into the seat next to me and told me he needed someone to distract Stormtroopers. Next thing I know, I’m single-handedly directing the First Order towards a made-up disturbance near the brig.
And these kinds of interactions happen CONSTANTLY with different ones happening to the people around you. Not only does your Star Wars story help to immerse you, but seeing a living, breathing story unfold around you (that you might not be a part of) helps to create the illusion of a REAL Starcruiser embroiled in Resistance/First Order conflict.
And all of THAT is what has driven the price up on Starcruiser – because it certainly doesn’t always feel like a luxury experience.
You’re not paying for luxury on Galactic Starcruiser.
Everything from the environment on the ship to the backstories of the crew, to the missions you’re sent on by characters, helps to trick your brain as much as possible into thinking the choices you’re making are significant to what might be a real story going on around you. Is there still some suspension of disbelief? Of course. We know we’re not really standing on the bridge of a galactic starcruiser in the world where Luke Skywalker once fought Darth Vadar, but the Star Wars hotel certainly makes you feel like you are.
At the same time, the hotel has few amenities and the rooms are small with some disappointing fixtures (I slept on a bunk bed with a pseudo-sleeping bag instead of blankets; it felt a lot like camping for a $5,000 price tag.). You take out the story and the hotel on its own is FAR from a luxury experience.
So, how can Disney justify such a high price when you can stay at a TRUE luxury hotel AND visit the theme parks for a fraction of the cost? You’re not paying for luxury, you’re paying for uniqueness.
Galactic Starcruiser is an experience that is unlike any other. Sure, there are escape rooms and immersive theater – but none of them are both multi-day and supported by such significant technology and creative teams. When this is your only option to have an experience like this, Disney doesn’t have to worry about pricing against the competition.
Starcruiser also has a dedicated cast of professional actors. Typically, when Disney employs performers, they’re performing for thousands each day and your ticket cost helps to pay them. These performers are improvising much of their performance, performing for small audiences, and wrangling kids (and adults) while they’re at it. Some of the cost of the hotel is working to keep these excellent performers paid.
On top of that, Starcruiser is small with only 100 cabins and suites. This helps keep the experience immersive and gives everyone a chance to get involved, but it also means that only a few hundred people can experience the hotel at a time. So, Disney is pricing for what could be a high-demand, low-supply situation.
Disney may have justified such steep pricing as this is the only place in the world where you can have an experience of this caliber, and only a few hundred people can have that experience at a time.
Who is Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser really for?
The Star Wars hotel is hands-down a NICHE experience. It’s not for everyone and we can safely say that the key to getting your money’s worth is buying into and participating in the story.
In fact, even if you love Star Wars, if participating in a super-involved role-playing-based game sounds not fun to you, then your love of Star Wars might not make up for that. The core of the experience is getting involved in a story to an immersive level; it could work just the same without Star Wars.
But that’s not to say that being a mega-Star Wars fan won’t improve the experience if you are open to the game. As long as you won’t be peeved by the introduction of new characters, some truly stunning moments have been woven in for Star Wars fans – from Easter Eggs to coming face to face with iconic characters.
In the words of Disney Imagineers, Starcruiser was made for “Star Wars fans and people that love Star Wars fans,” and that’s at least partially true. But with not much to do on the ship beyond engaging with characters and the story, those averse to doing so could consider it a waste of money – regardless of fandom level.
Can kids enjoy it?
And Galactic Starcruiser isn’t necessarily made for kids either. Kids were certainly in mind with the development; there are special activities for kids under 7, some fun kids’ menu offerings, and the characters will often prioritize interacting with kiddos during missions.
At the same time, they can’t participate in everything. Lightsaber Training, which is arguably what I would’ve been MOST excited about as a 6-year-old, is only for ages 7 and up. Plus, the food is NOT picky eater friendly. Sure, you’ve got chicken nuggets and cheesy pasta, but even the pickier options aren’t going to look like what your kid is expecting.
Then consider that many of the BIGGEST story moments happen late at night, with the finale occurring at 9:30PM. If your kiddo needs to be in bed before then, they and YOU could miss out on some of the most integral pieces of the experience.
That said, we did see some little ones having an absolute blast during our trips and the characters even called out some of them as their most prized allies. It might not be directly geared towards little ones, but that doesn’t mean your kids are doomed to not have fun – it just might mean the HUGE splurge on this vacation makes more sense when they’re older.
Can introverts enjoy it?
The experience is also especially scary for introverts. With all this talk of putting yourself out into the story, you might think the immersion wasn’t made for shy folks. There are a few things that help with this.
If you’re tagging along with a more extroverted friend or family member, you could let them do the interacting while you join in for the missions – without having to chat with strange alien characters.
You also don’t HAVE to talk to the characters to get missions and complete them! The missions are primarily dictated by your datapad. We had a reporter do most of her interacting completely through messages with characters and she still found herself in some secret missions interacting with cooler parts of the story.
Plus, the datapad does help to take some of the mystique away from these characters. Despite not speaking with a character in person, I felt like I knew something about them from “communicating” with them via datapad. That way, when it came time to chat in person, they felt less like a stranger.
So with all this mind, we can ask ourselves the big question… .
Is Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser worth the $5,000 price tag?
As you can imagine, this is a complicated question and one that will always be subjective. But, we can take a lot of the mystery out of the equation for you. There’s a lot to play into whether or not the experience is worth the money.
For Star Wars fans, gamers, and escape room fans who are willing to launch full throttle into the story, the experience delivers. If you’re one of these people and it sounds like a must-do, then it could be worth the money since you don’t have an option to do the same thing anywhere else.
Others who experienced the trip had varying answers when asked “Is it worth it?” Some said, absolutely – again and again while others were stuck on the price tag despite loving the experience.
And we spoke to a few people aboard who found it lackluster and felt the game was more like work than play. That very well could be you if you don’t think you’ll be able to buy into the story. There’s only so much to do otherwise and I don’t think you could play enough holo Sabacc and drink enough unlimited Blue Milk to find the experience worth the dough.
$5,000 to $6,000 is a LOT of money, but average families are easily spending $5,000 for a week in Disney World without this level of immersion – and that hasn’t been perceived as a luxury experience despite luxury pricing. The price for Starcruiser is pretty on-par with what we’d expect from Disney. Could it be cheaper? Yes, probably, but again…this is Disney.
And, Galactic Starcruiser will change.
Maybe every single person will have a different answer to the “Is it worth it?” question, but the perhaps bigger question is can Galactic Starcruiser stay as cool as it is now?
We’ve visited Starcruiser on the media cruise and the inaugural sailing. There are a LOT of eyes on the project right now, so of course, Disney wants to make their best impression. Still, as time goes on, guest and public reactions could drive Disney to make changes.
There could come a point where the average guest on the Halcyon isn’t as interested in playing along. What happens when Mickey shirts and the demand for pizza surpasses Twi’lek headdresses and the demand for Blue Shrimp? We’ve already seen the food in Galaxy’s Edge get toned down and renamed, sacrificing immersion but increasing broad appeal.
Changes that incorporate more guests or keep things fresh, can be a good thing, but will Disney make those changes or opt for others that make the Star Wars hotel seem more broadly appealing while losing the ingenuity that made it so unique in the first place? And will these changes make it even less worth it?
With all this in mind, you can see why the “worth it” question is a tricky one. Remember, this is a niche experience and it is NOT right for everyone. For some, they’ll think it sounds cool but not for the price, others might never enjoy an experience like this no matter the cost, and still others might walk away thinking that the opportunity was once-in-a-lifetime and $5,000 was more than fair.
Whatever the case, we hope we’ve helped to break down some of the drama surrounding the Starcruiser and that any space-cruise-related decisions are a little bit easier now.
If you’d like to know more, we’ve covered a TON of the biggest questions here on Disney Food Blog, so stick around – and when it comes to deciding on a Star Wars hotel vacation, may the Force be with you.
What is your take on Disney World’s Star Wars Hotel? Tell us in the comments!
Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Recently, we were invited by Disney World to attend their media preview of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Today, we are here on our own accord, but some of the photos in the post above are from said media event. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink.You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ