Disney World’s failed ‘Star Wars’ hotel to close for good

inside a room in the Walt Disney World Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser on March 1, 2022.
inside a room in the Walt Disney World Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser on March 1, 2022.

One of Disney’s most high-profile failures in recent memory is now confirmed: After barely a year in existence, the “Star Wars”-themed Galactic Starcruiser is closing permanently.

The Galactic Starcruiser opened in March 2022 as an immersive experience never before offered in a Disney park. Bookings were required to last two nights to accommodate the narrative arc being played out by “Star Wars” characters on the pseudo cruise ship. A standard “voyage” cost about $4,800 for a two-person “cabin” in the lowest price tier; for families of four, it was even more.

But from the start, it was not a sellout. Reviews often noted that the hotel didn’t seem full, and earlier this year, Disney began rolling out its first major discounts, a clear sign that demand was waning. The cancellation of the ambitious project altogether, however, came as something of a surprise. In March, a Disney spokesperson confirmed to SFGATE that bookings were being cut back in response to low demand, but the booking calendar did have availability through the end of 2023.

A spokesperson for Disney confirmed to SFGATE that the Starcruiser will close in September, and the company will work with cast members assigned there to find new opportunities when the hotel shutters.

“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,” Disney said in a statement. “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.”

The brief experiment was niche for many reasons. For one, its price point and subject matter limited it to affluent diehard “Star Wars” fans. Although dressing up wasn’t required, it did invite fans to interact with the crew’s actors for two full days, putting it out of the comfort zone of more introverted guests. Guests who didn’t want to commit to the interactive elements — or who preferred to be cozy in their hotel rooms by 8 p.m. — could miss crucial parts of the storyline. Others disliked the rooms’ design, which only had screens mimicking outer space to look out on; some compared it to a “windowless bunker.”

The impact, in some ways, will be small: The Starcruiser has just 100 rooms, compared with nearly 30,000 across the entire Disney World resort.