It is difficult to categorize Disney’s use of Star Wars since their $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm as anything less than a disaster. Bright spots, such as The Mandalorian and Andor, are pretty much drowned out but just about everything else.
Even the potential pure wonder of a Star Wars land at Disney parks has been a failure, with some well documented interference from Lucasfilm meaning the branding fans with disposable income wanted – original trilogy themed – was replaced with sequel trilogy motifs just as the sequel trilogy so spectacularly fell on its backside in with audiences.
Complaints include long queues, and only two signature rides, leaving the whole thing feeling like a highly themed retail experience with sky high prices.
If you can’t even get “Star Wars Land” right as a premiere theme park organisation, then maybe its time to start asking yourselves some really searching questions?
Now there appears to be another item to add to the long list of Star Wars related failures at Disney. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Opened as recently as March 1, 2022, upon opening the then-CEO of Disney Bob Chapek was confident, and boasted that it would soon be difficult to secure reservations with an expectation it would be booked solidly for months. This did not happen.
Like everything Star Wars Disney touches, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser turned out to be a litany of strategic blunders. Chief among these was the price point. At nearly $5000 for a two night stay they immediately placed it out of reach of anyone but the most committed fans, or those with a high level of disposable income. It simply did not represent value for money, a common complaint with Disney theme parks and experiences these days.
Even another division of Disney, Disney Cruises, offers a four night cruise including a stop at their private island, Castaway Cay, for under $2000. If you are already in Florida, everywhere from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral has three cruise ships a day departing and heading out to the Caribbean. If you are willing to slum it on a standard Carnival ship then you can get seven days, including food and a beverage package, for around $800 in the off season.
So how exactly did Disney get their price point so wrong?
Having rendered it so expensive that it is either out of reach of most fans, and a “one-and-done” experience for those who do pony up, they would need to hang on to the few repeat guests they have. This they have also failed to do.
Complaints include the repetitive nature of the interactive experience if you are a return visitor. This is on top of small, windowless cabins that are far from suitable for luxury accommodation.
Another complaint is that it is simply just hard work. In order to truly make the experience worthwhile, reviews say you need to fully engage in the role play and completely immerse yourself. This means you have a full-on two days of activities on board, with very little downtime.
It is participatory entertainment, requiring guests to put in a significant amount of effort to see and do everything they want during their brief stay, without spending much time in their cabin other than to sleep. Want to spend time unwinding in the bar and sample a cocktail menu? Alongside sky-high prices, you simply won’t get time.
This has now all combined and come back to haunt Disney. In a sign that is recognised by everyone in the hospitality industry as a signal of financial turbulence and low demand, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has been cancelling voyages during peak season at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Cancelling voyages due to not enough customers to make it worthwhile?
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