Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (Part 1)

I’ve been trying to figure out how to summarize the incredible experience I had this past weekend. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible, so I’ll just jump around a bit.

Here’s some quick context: A few years ago, Disney announced that they were building a full-immersion experience where guests could feel like they were on an interstellar cruise ship for a few days, caught in the middle of a Star Wars conflict. Basically, Westworld, but in space.

I was hooked, and I followed along when the Starcruiser opened last year. As I tend to do with special vacations, I promptly put it off as something I’d do in the future…until I started hearing rumblings that Disney might make big changes to it at some point. So I got my act together, assembled a group of friends who were equally excited, booked the reservations, bought a costume, and headed to Orlando for the weekend.

I can’t possibly recap every moment step by step, so I think I’ll just share a few particularly memorable moments in photos and words each day over the next few days.

However, before I get to day’s moments, I’d like to jump to the present. I’m back in my house with the cats and my job and my games and Megan (who also went on the trip). I have a great life. But I’m definitely experiencing a form of emotional whiplash after the intensity of the weekend. It was an amazing weekend, a full suspension of reality. It’s the ultimate wish fulfillment for a Star Wars fan. It’s so good that it makes ordinary life–even a life I love–seem like a step down. If anything, it’s a compliment to what the Disney Imagineers have created. It’s remarkable.

The first aspect to highlight is the set design. Every single element of the hotel is designed to make you feel like you’re in a starship, from the main atrium (shown below) to the bridge with it’s movie-theater sized screen displaying space to the cafeteria to the side rooms and the guest rooms. Other than literal gravity, there’s almost nothing to remind you that you aren’t actually in outer space.

The second aspect are the talented members of the cast and crew. They made the stories come to life. The entire weekend has the arc of an epic movie, and within that movie are a multitude of storylines, allowing each guest to tell their own story.

There’s plenty of technology and wizardry to make that possible, but the most important elements are executed by the cast and crew. There were a few lead characters, but they’re not on stage (at least, not often); rather, they’re wandering among the guests, talking to them, sharing secrets and tasks, and leading them on missions. They are incredibly engaging, and they’re great actors–I hung from every word that Saja Kir said about the Force, I genuinely wanted to help Raithe with his underworld tasks, and I was a bundle of emotions when [spoiler] appears on the ship. And the rest of the crew are great too–the servers, bartenders, assistants, etc. Everyone was in on the experience.

I’ll give the Starcruiser even more credit in tomorrow’s post, but before I go there, I have to thank the friends who joined me on the journey. Their enthusiasm, humor, cosplay, and commitment to the experience made it special for me (and for others on the ship too). I’m sure it would have been great with only me and Megan or a smaller group, but Andre, Alex, Bryce, Margaret, Mel, Adam, and Collin elevated the trip to the next level.

I’ll be back tomorrow with part 2! If you have any questions along the way, let me know!

8 thoughts on “Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (Part 1)”

  1. Jamey – that sounds awesome. I still remember walking into a movie theatre with my dad in Hong Kong in 1977 to watch Star Wars. There was a full sized cardboard cut out of Chewbacca in the lobby and I freaked out and didn’t want to go in, but my dad convinced me to stay and the minute the space ships appeared across the screen I was hooked and I’ve been a fan ever since – and I’ve also managed to get my 3 kids hooked on all the movies too. Looking forward to hearing about Part 2 tomorrow – or should we say Episode II

    Reply
    • That’s wonderful, Stuart! Even though it was more of an adult experience, there were plenty of families there, and they seemed to have a lot of fun.

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      • This may get answered in Part 2/Episode II – or you may have mentioned it in your LIVE video this morning (I’ll watch it later) – but was interested to know whether you were each given a character to play – name/role on the ship/a back story and any public/private objectives that you were trying to achieve/discover on the ship – or were you just reacting/interacting with events as they unfolded. I was just interested to see if it was a bit like a “Rise of Fenris” scenario in Space – with reveals along the way. Or were you all sworn to secrecy – No Spoiler Alerts.

        Happy “May the 4th” Day

        Reply
        • Good question! We weren’t given anything other than a prompt when we arrived asking us to choose an initial inclination, just as a starting point. You could change it later, and any character building you wanted to do was entirely up to you. It felt right to tell the cast our real first names–easier for us to remember and more real for them to play off of.

          Reply
  2. This is incredible, I never knew such a thing existed . I feel like you have left us on a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the next instalment! .

    Reply

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