Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (Part 2)

Yesterday I explained the core concept of the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser experience in Orlando, along with highlights like the set design, the cast, and my friends and fellow guests. Today I’ll share some other highlights from the experience, focusing on the megagame itself.

In addition to being a beautiful, thematic hotel, the 2-day experience is also a big, cinematic game in which you can participate as much or as little as you’d like. I’ll separate the levels of participation into each section below.

Level 1: Watch the story unfold whenever there are big moments in the main storyline. This is essentially a play in a theater built specifically for one play. The cast is excellent, and the story works particularly well because of how it includes the guests–it’s a linear story, but it’s happening on our ship, not on a separate stage.

Level 2: Participate in scheduled events that appear on your datapad (a phone app), like bridge training and lightsaber training. These are particularly well designed, as they prepare you for plot-driven events that may happen later on the cruise. The lightsaber training feels amazing, and the bridge features a massive screen on which you get to control droids and blasters, as well as a number of tactile buttons and nobs that actually do things.

Level 3: Participate in non-story events that further immerse you in the Star Wars world. They’re all very short (10-15 minutes), like a quick Sabaac tournament and a Force-guided meditation.

Level 4: Pay attention to the prompts on the app. Characters will “message” you, asking you to go to different rooms to help them solve problems on the ship. This also extends to your visit to Galaxy’s Edge. The more you engage with specific characters, the more options you have and the more you advance your own storylines (which end up being unique to you).

Level 5: When we arrived at the Starcruiser, we were encouraged to drift over to the main cast members, particularly if a group is forming. As great as the other levels are, I think I had the most fun with this, as it felt the most real. I’d see a group forming around Raithe or Saja Kir, and I’d drift over to learn something new and join them for a mini-mission.

Level 6: If you actively, vocally, and even privately engage with the cast members, they will include you in secret missions and meetings. I didn’t quite go this deep (though I wish I had), but several people in my group did, and the things they did sounded awesome.

Six levels of gameplay–that’s amazing! It sounds like a lot, and it definitely was intense, but it was also really easy to participate in the metagame. The app is easy to use, the tactile games are satisfying but not difficult, and every step of the way there was someone to help you (if you wanted help).

They even did something I admire in narrative game design in that after you did something, the app would summarize what you just did (and remind you of it later) so you didn’t have to retain much of the increasingly complex web of storylines.

The entire experience was a testament to the sheer amount of joy that games can bring to all types of people: adults, kids, families, older people, younger people, people from different countries, big groups, couples, vegetarians, pescatarians, people of different abilities (several people were in wheelchairs, and they could go anywhere), people in costume, people not in costume.

I don’t know the stories of these people, but it was so special to see such a wide variety of participants–I think the one that touched me the most (I wish I had talked to them, but I kept getting distracted) was a man around my age who was there with his mom (who is around my mom’s age). It seemed like they had a connection to each other through Star Wars, and I hope they had a great experience on the Starcruiser.

Which level of participation seems like the right fit for you? Have you ever done anything like this? This is far from the only metagame, but most metagames don’t quite have Disney’s resources to make everything so immersive!

2 thoughts on “Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser (Part 2)”

  1. I just watched a replay of your Livecast from earlier today and sounds like it was an amazing experience, and I look forward to seeing your video on Sunday with more details.

    I really like the sound of the lightsaber training and the games of Sabac, but also getting involved in some of the secret missions sounded good.I thought the build your own lightsaber was pretty cool. I remember dressing up as Darth Vader for Halloween in Scotland in the early 80’s and I used a section of my mums Vacuum cleaner hose with a red sock over it, to make it look like a lightsaber – amazing how things have progressed over the years.

    Thanks for sharing your experience – I’ll have to put it on my bucket list


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