Disney fans received some pretty startling news recently about the CLOSURE of the Star Wars hotel in Disney World. The immersive hotel experience opened just a little over a year ago, in March 2022, so the news that it was closing so soon came as a surprise to many.
However, there were certainly warning signs about the Galactic Starcruiser‘s profitability. After a few sold-out months around the time of the hotel’s opening, we started to see voyages sell out less and less often, and Disney even reduced the number of voyages offered each week in response to the decrease in demand.
The Starcruiser’s last voyage will be from September 28th through the 30th (this final trip is now sold out). Disney executive Josh D’Amaro just shared more details about WHY the Starcruiser failed and how this will affect The Walt Disney Company.
On Monday, May 22nd, Josh D’Amaro participated in a Q&A session as part of the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media, and Communications Conference. D’Amaro is the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products at The Walt Disney Company. He was interviewed by Phil Cusick.
During the interview, Cusick asked D’Amaro about Disney’s future plans for the parks. D’Amaro said, “We’ve invested aggressively in these parks,” mentioning the upcoming Frozen lands at a few international Disney parks as well as the new Avengers Campus at Disneyland Paris.
Cusick then asked D’Amaro, “You’re closing Starcruiser — What drove that and how should we think about the impact?”
D’Amaro responded by stating that the Galactic Starcruise hotel is “a pretty stunning asset.” He said, “It’s essentially a spaceship that guests board, themed out to feel exactly like Star Wars. Our Imagineers did an incredible job pulling this asset together, and our guests gave it very high ratings.” Despite those high ratings, however, D’Amaro said, “It didn’t perform exactly like we wanted it to perform, so we decided that we’re going to sunset this in September.”
Although the hotel apparently didn’t fulfill Disney’s expectations, D’Amaro emphasized that the Cast Members who ran the hotel did everything they could have done: “Our Cast Members […] did just an exceptional job.”
D’Amaro went on to say, “We did decide that, despite the fact that this was a never-before-seen type of experience, and I think it’s raised the bar from a creativity perspective on where we can go next, we thought it was time to sunset this beginning in September.” Disney has adopted this optimistic perspective on the Star Wars hotel’s closure, repeatedly emphasizing that they will take the lessons they’ve learned from the experience and apply those to future experiences.
In Disney’s initial statement about the hotel’s closure, they said, “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever and has been praised by our guests and recognized for setting a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment. This premium, boutique experience gave us the opportunity to try new things on a smaller scale of 100 rooms, and as we prepare for its final voyage, we will take what we’ve learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our guests and fans.” Details on what will happen to the building and location have not yet been shared. Thus far, there are no current plans to announce.
The “smaller scale” mentioned in that statement may have been one of the problems with this hotel. With just 100 rooms, the hotel just can’t accommodate huge numbers of guests. In the JP Morgan interview, D’Amaro noted that the size of the hotel means that its closure won’t have much of an impact in terms of Disney World’s capacity: “The Galactic Starcruiser got a fair amount of attention. It’s a boutique hotel — it’s 100 rooms — and if you think about Walt Disney World, it’s actually 30,000 rooms. So this is this very very small in the context of what we deliver at Walt Disney World.”
In terms of the financial impact of the hotel’s closure on Disney, D’Amaro said, “I will note […] in both Q3 and Q4, as we accelerate depreciation on that Starcruiser, we should expect about $100 to $150 million acceleration in depreciation.” Cusick clarified that D’Amaro meant $100 to $150 million in each of the quarters (not total), to which D’Amaro said, “Correct.” In other words, Disney expects to lose about $100 to $150 million in value in both Q3 and Q4 with the Star Wars hotel’s closure.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser opened last year for two-night voyages aboard the starship Halcyon that allowed visitors to live out their ULTIMATE Star Wars dreams by becoming part of the onboard Star Wars story. Not only that, but they also got to have unique dining experiences, get lightsaber training, help fly the ship from the bridge, and more. If you’re wanting to book a voyage on the Halcyon before it closes, keep in mind that a trip on the Starcruiser is not cheap. Voyages start at around $1200 per guest per night for two guests in a cabin. We have previously seen discounts for Annual Passholders and Disney Visa Cardmembers.
The Galactic Starcruiser’s final voyage on September 28th to the 30th has officially sold out. Bookings for other dates are currently paused for most guests and will reopen on May 26th. Anyone who had a trip booked for after September 2023 is able to reschedule right now.
Note that Disney did offer guests with voyages booked for AFTER September 2023 an opportunity to rebook at half off, so some of those reservations for the final voyage could be coming from them. Other dates are still available but you shouldn’t expect Disney to release any other discounts to the public.
The experience is unlike anything else in Disney World, but it won’t be around for long so you’ll want to book your trip as soon as you can if you’re hoping to experience it before it’s gone.
Once reservations become available again, you can reach out to our friends at Small World Vacations to help you with all your booking needs, so you don’t have to worry about it all on your own.
Our favorite people over at Small World Vacations are ready to help you save time, headaches, and best of all, money, when you book your Disney trip or cruise.
Their agents compare current offers to find the best deal for you -- they've literally saved their guests millions of dollars since 1996. Plus, their services are 100% FREE FOR YOU! (They're DFB's recommended travel agency, and you can see why here!)
So book that trip now, then sit back and enjoy planning your Disney World Trip with a DFB-approved expert! Click here for a no obligation price quote today, and let them know DFB sent you 🙂
You can also click here for our FULL PAGE on the Star Wars Hotel with links to ALL of our food reviews, hotel room tours, and MUCH more.
We have a LOT to share when it comes to dining at the Star Wars Hotel, so we’re gathering more links below so you can learn everything about it:
- See our full review of EVERYTHING on the Dinner Menu for Night ONE aboard the Halcyon!
- And find our full review of EVERYTHING on the Dinner Menu for Night TWO aboard the Halcyon!
- What to eat (and what to AVOID) for BREAKFAST aboard the Halcyon!
- We ate EVERYTHING for LUNCH on the Galactic Starcruiser!
- One of our FAVORITE Disney World snacks showed up on the Kids’ Menu on the Starcruiser!
- Are you traveling to space with a picky or less adventurous eater? See the options HERE.
- Is the exclusive Captain’s Table experience worth the extra money? We talk about that here.
We’ll be watching for more updates, so stay tuned to DFB for all the latest news.
Star Wars Hotel -- Galactic Starcruiser News and Information
The Star Wars Hotel Is CLOSING
Check Out Our COMPLETE GUIDE to the Star Wars Hotel
We’re Breaking the MYTHS from Inside the Star Wars Hotel Rooms
What to Get (or AVOID) for Breakfast at the Star Wars Hotel
We Ate EVERYTHING for Lunch at the Star Wars Hotel
See Our FULL Review of the Entire Dinner on Night 1 of the Star Wars Hotel
Yes, Dinner on Night 2 at the Star Wars Hotel is Different. See Our Full Review
Is the Captain’s Table Worth the Extra Cost?
See How the Fireworks at the Star Wars Hotel Will (and Won’t) Surprise You
Get Our Full Thoughts on the BLUE SHRIMP
See What Snacks Look Like in Space
Some of the Best Food in the Star Wars Hotel is Hiding!
Get a Look at the Exclusive Star Wars Hotel Merchandise
Learn About What’s Included When You Leave the Star Wars Hotel for Hollywood Studios
Take a Look at the Pricing for the Star Wars Hotel
Watch Our DFB Video About Our Experience at the Star Wars Hotel
Click HERE to See More About Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Join the DFB Newsletter To Get All the Latest Disney News Delivered Right to Your Inbox Click here to Subscribe
Did you stay at the Star Wars hotel? Tell us what you thought about it in the comments!
This was doomed from inception. Normal folks that go a few times in a lifetime would never consider this. A half day “Star wars through the years “ show, a good meal and on to the next amusement would work. Someone is out of touch listening only to the minority. The failures continue to mount.
Jerre Hutcheson says
You got it wrong . You should have built a full scale enterprize stsr ship. It could have included duties on the ship. Commanding the ship. Fighting the borg. The adventures would be limitless. And easy to keep changing so u would never get bored. DISNEY in my opinion went in the wrong direction on this one. Imignage seeing a full scale enterprize. Wow!
Barbara Fritsche says
They aren’t listening to their audience. The targeted audience would love something like this but are not willing or able to afford this. This is middle class.
Disney us all about spend, spend, spend to get the consumer in but not able affordability or what will the consumer do with this and will is be enough of a good experience that they’ll come back. The Magic has been replaced with almighty dollar.
I would have loved to have done it once bit WAY TO EXPENSIVE
I go to WDW at least 2x a year as DVC.
Maybe they should have offered DVC members a deal.
It was the most incredible experience ever, and I am so sad my group of friends won’t get to go a second time. Every detail was well thought out, and watching the little kids run after Chewbacca was adorable ❤️.
The headline of this story is misleading. The statement from Josh D’Amaro is very general and didn’t provide clarity as to “how”.
It’s no shock to most of us that this project failed. I think many expected this when it was announced and is an unfortunate example of leadership not being in-tune enough with guests. It’s a wise move to cease operations and close now rather than watch it suffer a slow painful demise where there is complete desperation in efforts to get guests to book.
As Ree said ‘The failures continue to mount’ – i.e. the barges in EPCOT. Maybe they should consider having some normal, average people on their panels. We all saw this coming.
“It didn’t preform.” No s***, Sherlock!
You don’t have to be a graduate of a fancy business school to have known this was going to happen right from the start. Most SW fans who could afford this did it once and either didn’t feel the need to do it again, or were not able to foot the bill again. I’m pretty sure I noted this when Galactic Catastrophe was in the early days. Even hardcore Disney sycophants noted that the price one pays for a family of four, they could take a REAL cruise on a REAL cruise ship for a WEEK for less than two days locked into this hotel. The numbers just weren’t there. Whomever Disney is listening to (looking at you Kathleen Kennedy) was so wrong on this one. Disney needs to talk to regular people who are still interested in supporting Disney. With each failure, Disney loses more people. I just read that Disney+ streaming service lost 40,000 subscribers this year alone. That’s huge for the one thing Disney is literally banking on. Then losing $100 – $150 Million a quarter for the next two fiscal quarters spells bad news for Disney. They need to start logging some “Wins” quickly. The bloom seems to be off Disney and it’s products.
They should open it up as a hotel, minus the total immersion feature. My son and I were excited to go but the cost drove us away. But if we could stay at the hotel as a hotel and experience the Star Cruiser as a hotel, we’d still have a blast.
Blake Pace says
The Orville needs a new set for their next season; Disney could make them a real deal. Get Kathleen Kennedy onto it, what could go wrong?
Candy Havanick says
Everyone is right about the fact that Disney needs to listen to the guests. They’re getting ridiculous about rewarding people who spend the most on the resorts etc. What happened to Walt’s dream of having a place for All FAMILIES can affordability go. My last trip was all about the almighty $$$$$. It was disappointing
Lynn Manning says
The cost was prohibitive to say the least for most people. There are many Star Wars fans (and to the person who spoke of “fighting the Borg” in the above comments…Wrong franchise,) who would love so be able to take part in something like this but most don’t have that kind of money.
This was not only too expensive, but too niche as well, and even if I were a hardcore SW fan, I’d feel claustrophobic staying there. Could have been a normal hotel with Star Wars theming and cast members dressed as the characters.
Star wars, while very much beloved, is not a current interest in general. We all loved it in the beginning, but we’ve moved on after being inundated with series after series. The best part of the original Star Wars ride was the entrance. The ride itself was just OK. Disney seems to either be waiting too long to decide what’s popular or not acting fast enough once decided. We came to Disney World every two years, but even our grand boys were bored with the same old experience eventually. Somebody has got to breathe life into what was the “happiest place on earth.” Maybe instead of firing cast members and Imagineers, a few big salaried slow thinkers should be helped out.
Did we want to spend $5,000 for the less than 2 full days or stay a few extra days in the parks. Just booked a trip to the Universe, Portafino, 9 nights, park to park, express unlimited pass for 4500. True u can do The Universe in a couple days, but absolutely no ride breakdowns, security is a breeze. Even though their calendar is not available for Jan 24 reservations, I called and was able to make those reservations for Jan. Now waiting for May 31 to make reservations for Disney.
As far as the surge pricing for Genie+ u would think that as many people in the parks that Disney would just keep that at a stable price, if u gonna charge extra for Fast Passing keep it @ $10.00 per.
The statement by a guest saying it was so adorable watching the children chase Chewbacca sums
it up. It always looked silly . The blue captain. Something about saving a singer.A bingo game of sorts. Oh and a shrimp colored blue us still a shrimp. It looked uninspired and lazy. And lets be honest Disney created awful movies compared to the original 3 but just as bad as Lucas middle 3. So what did anybody expect.
The concept was wrong. Not the price. It never should have been sold like a “cruise” with 3 day package. Instead it should have been booked and run like a normal hotel. As many nights as desired and an average nightly rate mimicking Grand Floridian Villas. Heck, there should have been a nightly DVC point usage chart even. Allowed owners to stay with points per night.
Also no need for a forced itinerary and instead just make it like a normal hotel. Open up the restaurant to any patron, not just those staying there.
Those changes would have booked the place our nightly. Very strange they closed it down and so only willing to do 3 night “voyages”.
I would have paid $500-700 per night to stay there like it was the GF.
I also would have booked dining reservations at the restaurants without staying onsite.
And lastly would have booked “experiences” like light saber training, etc. without staying there. Similar to Savi’s Workshop for example.
So it wasn’t cost; it was the set up and forced itinerary that was its demise.
I spy Sage from All Ears in the Starcruiser cast pic!
DFB Gigi says
Sage? Sage who? That’s Sammie! Hahahah (Sage was such a good Sammie!)
Disney did it to themselves overpricing to stay in a closet. They need to poll families and bring their prices down instead of running off with the next best thing. Travelling to the moon is a great idea, too, but look at who could afford it If they keep increasing prices the parks will be ghost towns in no time. Families are the future for them because they are making memories for little ones who will then come back in the future with their families, too. Although singles have more money to spend, they get bored and don’t come back. Stop the price gouging, Disney. Your target audience should be families and what they can afford.
Someone posted in a previous post that the company doesn’t listen to the guest this is true they don’t. They don’t want the hotel to go away they just want it to be affordable for middle class people not just no offense rich people if they would lower the price then everyone would be able to enjoy the opportunity but no they don’t see it that way. So sad all that money that was wasted and building this hotel for people all people to enjoy that never happened. I wish they would have tried to just lower the price first before canceling it I bet you if they made it to where it was 500 bucks a night per person they might have been booked that’s still a little high but it’s better than paying 1209 per person per night.
No pool! Who vacations in Florida without having a pool?