Is Disney’s Star Wars Hotel in Trouble?

The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Disney World opened amid much fanfare on March 1, 2022. The 2-night, immersive experience is an innovative – and risky – experiment that delves into theming and personalization more than any other Disney lodging built before it.

The engineering room of the Galactic Starcruiser

It also comes with a hefty price tag – about $6,000 for a family of 4. To no one’s surprise, there has been backlash about the pricing of this cruise-like experience. But is the Starcruiser barely surviving, or it it thriving?

Since the news that Disney plans to conduct focus groups with Galactic Starcruiser customers broke last week, there’s been a lot of speculation that the Starcruiser is not meeting expectations.

The Galactic Starcruiser atrium

We’re taking a deep dive into the facts that point to how the Galactic Starcruiser is performing. 

What is the Galactic Starcruiser?

The Galactic Starcruiser is more than the newest Disney World hotel. The easiest way to think of it is to compare it to a cruise where guests arrive and depart in the same time block and stay at the hotel throughout the entire experience (aside from a “planet” excursion). Guests “board” the Halcyon (aka the Star Wars ship) for a two-day, two-night adventure.

A Galactic Starcruiser cabin

And, it’s more than just your average Disney World hotel food and entertainment — Disney has described the experience as “part live immersive theater, part themed environment, part culinary extravaganza, part real-life role-playing game—and yet so much more.”

Gaia performs for guests on the Galactic Starcruiser.

Like a cruise, that big price tag for your stay includes more than just your hotel room. Here’s what’s included:

A MagicBand is included with your Galactic Starcruiser stay.

The key to staying immersed in the experience is through your Datapad — accessed through an app on your phone. You will get the full schedule of activities through the Datapad, as well as being contacted for covert missions.

Click here for our complete guide to the Galactic Starcruiser

What Disney is saying about the Star Wars hotel’s success

In the Walt Disney Company’s Q2 Earnings Call last month, Disney CEO Bob Chapek touted the successful launch of the Galactic Starcruiser. “Response to next-generation storytelling like Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has been phenomenal,” he said.

Crowds in the Galactic Starcruiser’s Atrium

As for demand, Chapek said that is in line with Disney’s “best-in-class offerings,” and that the company expects 100% utilzation through the end of Q3.

You have lots of Galactic Starcruiser questions, and we have lots of answers

What we know about Galactic Starcruiser bookings

The success of any lodging venture hinges largely on its occupancy rate, and Disney is certainly accustomed to its newest offerings selling out. We’ve been monitoring the Star Wars hotel’s booking calendar since reservations were first accepted in October 2021. As Chapek noted in Disney’s last earnings call, the hotel has been in high demand.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

In fact, the Galactic Starcruiser has remained sold out for nearly every cruise since it opened. However, we’ve noticed that bookings drop off around Aug. 15 — about the time that summer Disney World crowds start to wane at back-to-school time. Nearly every date from Aug. 15 through the end of the year still has cabins available.

©Disney

And, while you could begin booking 2023 vacation packages at Disney World earlier this month, there’s not currently an option to book a Starcruiser cabin beyond Dec. 31, 2022.

Click here to explore the map of the Galactic Starcruiser

Disney and focus groups

So, does the news that Disney has invited certain Galactic Starcruiser guests to participate in a virtual focus group mean the Galactic Starcruiser is under-performing? Chapek’s optimistic remarks about demand for the new experience makes that seem unlikely.

Halcyon Coin

Are guests dissatisfied? It’s possible. There were a lot of questions about whether the experience would be “worth it” after pricing was announced, yet guests have still flocked to Galactic Starcruiser. And Chapek himself said in that May earnings call that guest response to the Star Wars experience has been “extremely high.”

Bunk Bed in a Galactic Starcruiser cabin

While companies make many decisions based on tracking data and algorithms today, focus groups are still an important part of the product development process for many large companies — including Disney. In 2017, U.S. companies invested more than $800 million in conducting focus groups, according to Vox.

Space food!

Disney is known for frequently surveying its guestsoften while they are inside its parksthrough its My Disney Experience app. The company also uses feedback from focus groups to refine everything from movies to toys to Disney Junior shows (yes, Disney has famously used kid focus groups).

Chewbacca in the engineering room

So, is Disney’s new Star Wars hotel in trouble? The answer — at least for now — is no. Examining newly launched products and refining them is part of any good design process, and with all the innovation at work in the Galactic Starcruiser experience, some iteration would be expected.

Droid toys available on the Galactic Starcruiser

It’s certainly too early to tell whether the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a long-term success, and whether it will breed other, similarly immersive travel experiences, but the facts point to early success for Disney World’s newest hotel.


Star Wars Hotel — Galactic Starcruiser News and Information

Click HERE to See More About Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

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Do you think the Star Wars hotel will be a Disney World success? Let us know in the comments!

The post Is Disney’s Star Wars Hotel in Trouble? first appeared on the disney food blog.

source https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2022/06/17/is-disneys-star-wars-hotel-in-trouble/

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