Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel could open as early as next spring

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If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re likely waiting with bated breath for more details about the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel.

Earlier this month, Disney announced it will first open its airlock space doors to guests in 2022. Not only that, but it has released a peek at what appears to be the most realistic lightsaber on this planet — ever. That lightsaber and many more high-tech and immersive elements will be on board for this two-night adventure.

So, we know the hotel is set to open at some point in 2022, but Disney has otherwise kept quiet about a more specific timeframe. But reports on recently filed permits and newly posted job openings suggest we could see this new experience open as early as next spring.

Hopefully, you’ve been saving your “credits” for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. The one-of-a-kind experience and hotel will take you and your group into space in a way never before seen on earth. While the pandemic made the “Star Wars”-themed hotel miss some milestones, it’s clearly getting closer to liftoff.

While there are plenty of things we don’t know yet about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, we’ve learned quite a bit. Based on official intel from Disney, documents filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and our own drive-bys, here’s everything we know so far about the Star Wars hotel.

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It’s not just a Star Wars hotel — it’s an experience

Image Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm
(Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm)

When Disney’s first “Star Wars”-themed hotel opens, your family will be able to board a launch pod near Disney’s Hollywood Studios before making the hyperspace jump and not touching the ground again for two nights — or, at least, that’s what it will look and feel like.

Though the Rise of the Resistance attraction within Galaxy’s Edge changed the game when it comes to how immersive a theme park ride can get, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is set to change the rules when it comes to theme park hotels and immersive experiences.

Related: Best credit cards for a trip to Disney

This won’t be a hotel you just book to stay at while on a Disney World vacation. Instead, it is a two-night immersive adventure aboard the Starship Halcyon. Perhaps in some ways, it makes more sense to think of it as a themed Disney cruise where you live out a “Star Wars” story, in that meals and activities are all part of the package.

Upon arrival at the “terminal,” you’ll complete your earthly tasks and then enter a launch pod that blasts you off into space toward the Halcyon ship for your boarding with the main starcruiser.

Related: TPG guide to Disney World

(Image courtesy of Disney)
(Image courtesy of Disney)

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 — the magic of technology will completely immerse you in the scenes of outer 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 on board, you’ll start two nights and three days of your Star Wars dreams.

Galactic Starcruiser cabins

Guest rooms (er, cabins) will sleep up to five and will provide a completely different hotel room experience. Disney recently released new renderings of the first guest room mock-up, and they’re awesome if you ever wanted to live aboard a starcruiser.

There’s a door, bed and bathroom. But that’s pretty much where the similarities to regular resort rooms end.

A mock-up of what a cabin aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort could look like. (Photo by David Roark/Disney)

The bunk beds are meticulously themed pods that kids are sure to love. Each bunk/pod has its own command center. A slightly less cool queen or king bed is available for Resistance members to get sleep before their next mission.

A mock-up of what a cabin aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort could look like. (Photo by David Roark/Disney)

Looking out from the pod, we see plenty of features to be excited about. There’s a video monitor on the wall that appears to be interactive (with the name of the fictional Johnston family displayed). Underneath could be storage or other hidden goodies.

Or, it could be as simple as a Halcyon-ized murphy bed for that fifth guest. Disney has even found a way to fold the HVAC into the theming, with some cool vents on the exterior wall.

Where we would normally find a hotel window, we have a view of the galaxy flying by as Halcyon is on its journey. Given previous reports and rumors, we expect the view to change during your journey with a few friends like Chewbacca flying by.

Here’s a brand-new, real-life look at a cabin from the Instagram account of Walt Disney World’s President.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jeff Vahle (@jeffvahle)

Still, there are so many open questions. Are the bunks as small as they appear in those images? How will such an all-in-one environment adjust for a world where fresh air is at the top of the priority list? And will kids (and excited adults!) ever sleep at all while on board?

The other detail that’s still a bit of a mystery is that at least some guest rooms do actually appear to have windows.  As you can see from this recent construction picture, there appear to be tall, narrow panes of glass at regular intervals in the “cabin” wing.

Photo by Edward Pizzarello / The Points Guy.

The newest images bring almost as many questions as answers. They also further reinforce the fact that guests will be fully immersed in the experience, from the time you wake up until the time you lay your head down to sleep.

Related: How to use points to buy Disney tickets

Onboard activities

As part of your multiday journey on Halcyon, you’ll take a special journey to Black Spire Outpost (also known as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge). You’ll be invited to the bridge of Halcyon to demonstrate navigation and defense skills you’ve 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 the extremely realistic-looking 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 Sublight Lounge.

When it comes time for a full meal (after all, being a Jedi is hard work), guests can head to the Crown of Corellia Dining Room. This name is a tribute to Corellia, a planet known for its famous shipyards that were the origin for not only the Halcyon but also the Millennium Falcon. It will serve breakfast, lunch and then a “lavish multicourse menu of both otherworldly and familiar origins” for dinner.

Related: Guide to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World

Image courtesy of Disney.
(Image courtesy of Disney)

When will Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser open?

Disney announced Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser will be open for guests sometime in 2022, but we’ve yet to receive official word on a more precise opening date.

However, some permit sleuthing reported by Blog Mickey and recent changes to job postings for the hotel point to a first-quarter blast off for the Halcyon in 2022.

A permit was recently filed for “Project H Facility Wide Assets” by Walt Disney Imagineering — the creative branch of Walt Disney. Through previous permit filings, we know that Project H is short for Project Hubble, the codename for the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel.

We also know that MAD Creative Fabrication (the listed contractor for the permit) is a company Disney regularly employs for prop work (including work on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway) and is typically brought in toward the end of projects. Combine that with the permit end date listing Jan. 29, 2022, and it stands to reason that construction on the hotel and the props needed for the two-day immersive experience will be completed by the end of January.

Something else to note is that Disney has ramped up hiring for the hotel staff. They began advertising for a hotel manager earlier this year, and multiple job postings have been expanded as of last week.

Why would Disney start hiring positions for a hotel that won’t be opening for almost a year? Well, it’s likely Disney is planning to bring staff on board as early as possible to make sure they’re highly trained for an incredibly immersive (and expensive) experience.

Everything we’ve learned so far about Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser paints this new experience as a gamechanger for the hotel industry. These positions will likely require a lot of character training and, since the hotel will feature a more “cruise-like” experience where the guests are on board for two nights, there will need to be enough people to rotate days off and account for other hiccups while still keeping the immersive theme in place.

Of course, this is all speculation right now.

Disney hasn’t released an official timeline for opening yet beyond a plan for 2022. Even if the hotel is technically ready to launch as early as February, we could see Disney put the opening on hold for a dramatic “May the 4th Be With You” grand opening event. But all signs point to what could be an opening as early as February or March of 2022 based on current construction and hiring timelines.

It’s right next to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you drive near Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can take a look at the construction for yourself. You’ll find the hotel very close to the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge portion of Hollywood Studios. In fact, in this photo of the hotel’s construction from back in October of 2020, you can spot spires from Galaxy’s Edge in the background. That’s how close the hotel is to the park.

Photo by Edward Pizzarello

But it’s not connected to the park, so your “on-planet excursions” will likely involve transportation of some sort for the short journey.

Related: Disney World introduces virtual queue for its newest attraction

Photo courtesy of Disney
(Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney’s Star Wars hotel is small

We don’t know exactly how many cabins 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 intimate deluxe hotels, such as Disney’s Contemporary Resort, still ring in at more than 600 rooms. And, just for clarity, even at those larger sizes, at least during normal times, the resorts regularly sell out.

We haven’t heard official numbers on the size of the hotel, but there are clues in some official applications if you want to nerd out with us.

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 below, there’s also a calculation for maximum water flow. See the chart 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 and other factors.

If the first floor is 34 rooms, then the second and third floors have a similar footprint, backing up the assertion that 100 is about the right number of rooms. So, this could be a really small property. For perspective, your typical roadside Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express is probably 80 to 100 rooms.

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:

Image Courtesy of California Coaster Kings
(Image courtesy of California Coaster Kings)

The hotel plans feature one table-service restaurant, the Crown of Corellia Dining Room with what looks like a buffet line near the back, a larger open space and booths for four to six people around the perimeter.

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.

Related: Best restaurants at Disney World

(Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm)
(Image courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm)

A hotel this small will be a major departure from Disney World’s previous ventures.

How much will the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser cost?

We know that the Star Wars-themed hotel now says coming in 2022. But what we don’t yet know is how much this experience will cost. (Though trust us, we did ask.)

But here are some numbers we do know. A Disney theme park ticket generally costs about $110 to $150 per day, per person. A deluxe Disney hotel can easily cost $400 to $500 per night. Meals at Disney can cost $100 per person, per day, if you have at least one daily character or signature dining experience.

Start adding those numbers together, round upward for the exclusive, immersive nature of this experience and we won’t be shocked if a cabin for a family of four costs more than $3,000 for the two-night journey if they go with an all-in number. Some have predicted a Halcyon journey could be $7,000 to $8,000 for a family. That seems high to me, but I’ve seen stranger things for some high-end Disney experiences.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will be closer to $1,000 per night for a family (again, not unlike a Disney Cruise), but we’re not expecting this to be a budget-friendly experience.

Related: How much does a trip to Disney World cost?

A model of the Halcyon starcruiser is viewable by guests for a limited time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo courtesy of Disney Parks/David Roark, photographer)

Bottom line

While we wait for official word on an opening date, we’ll be polishing our Jedi skills and dreaming of that “real” lightsaber we know will be on board.

There’s still plenty we don’t know (such as cost), but we think it’s safe to say, based on the information we have, that a stay on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is going to be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Simple Disney supply-and-demand assumptions combined with the size of the structure mean this is probably going to be one hot space ticket.

With that said, we can’t wait to book a journey into space when it’s time to blast off.

If a trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is in your future:

If you’re new to The Points Guy, check out our beginner’s guide to learn more.

Featured mock-up image courtesy of Disney

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