• Olivia Ujlaki

Is Immersion the Hotel Amenity of the Future?

The Star Wars Hotel is set to change the hotel landscape

We love theme parks because they are just that: themed. And no one does themes better than Disney. Every paint color, crack in the pavement, and rock in the queue has been carefully curated to evoke a certain mood. And that’s why you feel like a princess in Fantasyland and a world traveler in Epcot.


This also carries over to the resorts. Some embrace different geographical locations, such as the Yacht and Beach Club’s tribute to New England seaside towns. Others embrace atmosphere, such as Wilderness Lodge’s homage to nature. Even the value resorts like the All-Stars, Pop Century, and Art of Animation are themed to perfection. Again, this is what separates Disney from other vacation destinations.


This idea will go to the extreme with the Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser. By now, you’re likely aware that this hotel will be a two-day, immersive experience. From a simulated “blast off” into space to checking into your room, you will eat, drink, and play like you’re in a galaxy far far away.


The hotel will offer lightsaber training, maintenance on the bridge, full Star Wars attire, and missions with your favorite characters. This is not for someone who just likes Star Wars; staying on the cruiser, called the Halcyon, is for someone who lives and breathes Stars Wars. And, for someone who can afford the estimated $1,500/night price tag.


We thought the lightsaber experience at Savi’s was pricey. Just walking around Batuu and riding the attractions feels like a luxury experience, but this hotel will be more immersive than we’ve ever experienced before.


This leaves me wondering if there is a limit to immersion in a place like Disney? I know for some fans, this will be the most magical experience, and for that, I’m happy for them! But think about it this way: if the cruiser has you living a story 24/7, won’t that make the other hotels seem bland? And by extension, do newer rides like Rise of the Resistance dull older attractions?


While this will unquestionably be a cool experience, I think this intense level of immersion actually takes away from the larger immersion of the parks and other hotels. It also further isolates certain guests: the Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser will be beyond a financial comfort level for the average family, which I would argue, is a large segment of the population Disney wants to target. Or at least, wanted to target at first.


The actual opening date of the resort is still unknown, however, Disney claims it is coming sometime in 2021. But there is speculation that it won’t open until 2022. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how fans react. Will they love it? Will it become the standard hotel experience that’s copied around the world? Could it be too much? Or, will it flop because of cost?


Either way, the Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser will be a first. And good or bad, firsts are always memorable.

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