Chewie, We’re Home: Everything We Know About Disney’s Star Wars Hotel
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When Disney’s Star Wars-themed hotel opens, your family will be able to board a spaceship near Disney’s Hollywood Studios and not touch the ground again for two nights — or at least, that’s what it will feel and look like.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland in May and we recently got a first peek at the Disney World version in Florida that officially opens later this week. While the second of two attractions in the lands, Rise of the Resistance, won’t be open for a few more months, Star Wars fans are already able to live out their galactic dreams in real life in the Disney parks. But, that’s just the beginning.
With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge now in both parks, attention is rapidly shifting toward the opening of the high-end, immersive Star Wars-themed hotel that is currently under construction at Disney World. (Sorry, Disneyland.) Disney is holding some details closer to its spacesuits, but we now know more of what to expect — and, pardon the pun, but it seems out of this world.
At the recent D23 Expo in California, we learned that lucky (and perhaps wealthy?) aspiring resistance fighters will board the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser named Halcyon for a two-night and three-day immersive experience that sounds more like a Disney Cruise than a traditional hotel stay in that meals and activities are all part of the package.
Upon arrival at the starcruiser Halcyon, you’ll enter a launch pod to travel to the ship for your boarding. Along the way, the “windows” above will show you the stars as well as the space cruiser in the distance. You’ll no longer see Central Florida at all — technology will completely immerse you in what should look like space.
You’ll then dock with Halcyon, hearing the “whoosh” of the airlock as your launch pod engages and you’ll emerge into the ship’s atrium. Once onboard, you’ll start two nights and three days of your Star Wars dreams.
Every guest room (er, pod) will have a view of space from its “window,” which will change as your journey continues and you explore new parts of the galaxy. You’ll also see familiar friends, such as Chewbacca and, of course, a few foes, too.
As part of your multiday journey on Halcyon, you’ll take a special journey to Black Spire Outpost (aka Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge). Skilled fighters will be invited to the bridge of Halcyon to demonstrate the navigation and defense skills that they have learned, and maybe even get a chance to pilot the Galactic Starcruiser.
Kids and adults alike will follow in the footsteps of Luke, training to use h a lightsaber. During the voyage, they’ll be allowed to explore the mechanics of the ship and may even find hidden spots where the crew hold meetings. After all that hard work, there’s a place to relax called the Silver C Lounge.
While we don’t yet have an opening date for this Star Wars hotel, we can see with our own eyes that construction is majorly under way on Halycon. We were able to snag some images of the construction on a visit to Disney in mid-August.
Even Disney has to dabble in the “real world,” and due to construction permitting requirements, we have some intel on the Star Wars-themed hotel project beyond just the announcements.
There are multiple documents that have been filed. If you really want to nerd out, we’ve included links to download some of the more relevant PDFs below:
- DW-DISNEY-Drawings_108219_11092018 (this one has all the meat and potatoes)
- PW-WDW PROJECT H Drawings-HS SENT (with a bit more good stuff here)
- DW-DISNEY-62-604.300(8)(a)_108219_11092018 (only for the true nerds among us)
- DW-DISNEY-Engineer Permit Application Submittal
Based on the filed documents with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the official Disney releases and our own drive-bys, here are some things we know about the Star Wars hotel.
1. Location of Disney’s Star Wars Hotel
The location of the Star Wars resort is just south of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but it will not be connected directly to the park.
Disney’s announcements have said the hotel would offer a “seamless connection” to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. Now that we’ve seen the construction, we can see a bridge being built to the backside of Batuu. This should make for a short “transport” to Black Spire Outpost from Halcyon. We’re pretty certain the windows on the transports will have a good view of the galactic voyage.
2. Layout of Disney’s Star Wars Hotel
California Coaster Kings did a great job stitching together some of the plan images, along with adding a bit of color for perspective. Here’s what we believe the layout of the Star Wars Hotel will look like:
As you can see from the construction pictures, the public areas of the hotel will likely occupy multiple floors.
There’s virtually no parking shown on the plans. This jibes with the announcement that you’ll arrive at Halcyon via a launch pod. We’re guessing check-in for your journey will begin elsewhere, perhaps at the front of Disney Hollywood Studios or a nearby Disney resort. The diagrams reference a luggage screening and metal detector area as soon as guests enter Halcyon, which could mean you don’t have to be screened again when entering the parks, which would be great.
The plans show us that the first floor of the hotel contains 34 “cabins” or guest rooms. Thirty-two of these appear to be standard rooms, while two are labeled “First Class Cabin” and appear to be approximately double the size of a standard cabin.
Ready to nerd out, “blueprint-style”? Since this is just a submittal for wastewater plans, the pages revealed don’t have full room details. However, we can tell by the line drawings that the intent appears for the cabin to have sliding doors, and potentially sizable at that. Normal “swing” doors are called out for linen rooms and engineering closets. The cabins show one thin line at the entrance to each room, covering almost the entire width of the room. A sliding door would make sense with the futuristic theme of the Star Wars movies.
Additionally, with one exception (which could simply be an error or omission in these plans), none of the hotel rooms on the first floor are connecting. The lack of connecting rooms would represent a challenge for larger families.
3. Disney’s Star Wars Hotel Is Small
We don’t know exactly how many rooms will be on this starship, but we’re guessing the Halcyon won’t have more than about 100 rooms. Let’s pause for a minute to digest just how small that would be.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach has around 2,000 rooms, and even the more compact deluxe hotels, such as Disney’s Contemporary Resort, still ring in at over 600 rooms. And, just for clarity, even at those larger sizes, the resorts sell out — regularly.
We don’t have “elevations,” a diagram that would definitively show how large upper floor(s) of the hotel would be. But, there are some breadcrumbs that help us define the size. A key detail that is found not in the drawings, but in the application, likely reveals how many guest rooms the hotel expects to have, give or take a few. The term “key” is generally used in the hotel industry to detail how many rooms you plan to construct. For example, the new Super Duper Inn will be five stories tall with 400 keys. Or, the new Super Duper Inn will cost $100,000 per key to construct. In the application, there’s a calculation for maximum water flow. I know, I know. We’re nerding out, but stick with me. See the image below:
The notes at the bottom say “100 keys x 230 gpd/key. If we translate that into English, the assumption is that each guest room will be responsible for about 230 gallons of water per day. That includes showers, toilet flushes, sink use and likely a calculation for food prep, etc. since most guests will dine at the hotel. If the first floor is 34 rooms, then the second floor and third floor have a similar footprint, backing up the assertion that 100 rooms is about the right number. This is a really small property. For perspective, your typical roadside Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express is probably 80–100 rooms.
A hotel that small would be a major departure from Disney World’s previous ventures. There are some smaller buildings, like the 136 units at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. However, Boulder Ridge is virtually connected to Wilderness Lodge, which has over 700 rooms. With wetlands surrounding the Star Wars Hotel, this will be the (by far) smallest free-standing guest housing complex on the grounds of Disney World.
The hotel features one table service restaurant on the plans, with a buffet line near the back, a larger open space and booths for four to six people around the perimeter. Word is a dinner show that was scrapped from Galaxy’s Edge may come to life here on the starcruiser.
Outside the restaurant, we find some themed spaces labeled Brig, Dojo and Transport Hall. We see a shuttle bus area that seems to be covered and/or connected to the hotel, most likely to simulate the “pods.” That’s all consistent with the theatrics expected for the immersive experience
Some of this is based on guestimations from the partial diagrams of the Star Wars resort hotel, so we aren’t certain on every detail. But — I think it’s safe to say, based on the information we know, that a stay at Disney’s Star Wars Hotel is going to cost quite a bit of cash thanks to simple supply and demand Disney economics. Standard Disney deluxe resort rooms at other properties sell out at $600+ per night, so imagine what this immersive experience might cost.
The news that Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser visits will consist of an at least somewhat inclusive two-night journey is very interesting. As we were listening to that development, we could hear the dollar signs adding up. While it’s just rumors at this point, it’s not hard to imagine that a journey on Halcyon will probably cost $1,000 per person, maybe more. For a family, prepare yourself now for sticker shock when this spaceship comes to earth in the coming years (perhaps 2021?).
The Star Wars hotel is going to be a very small, immersive and likely, very cool experience. Spectators without a reservation might not be able to visit the hotel and rates seem destined for the stratosphere. What does all that point to? In the Disney World universe, a potentially out-of-this-world experience for an out-of-this-world price.
If a trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is in your future:
- First Look Inside Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Was The Force With Disney for Opening Day of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
- The Essential Guide To Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland
- Best (and Worst) Food and Drinks at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- TPG Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World
- Save Money at Disney: Rent Disney Vacation Club Points
- The Best Points Hotels Near Disney World
- Best $69 You Can Spend at Disney World
- Best Restaurants at Walt Disney World
- Reasons to Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort
- Review of Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Is Disney Club Level Worth It?
- Disneyland: Staying On or Off Property?
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Featured image courtesy of Disney
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