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After Reports Spread About Disney Not Filling Its New Star Wars Hotel, What’s Really Going On?

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser characters
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has been open for business for a couple of weeks now and the general consensus among both critics and the first wave of guests is that, while the experience will cost you, there is actually a lot to love about this first-of-its-kind themed entertainment experience. However, a new report is out claiming that the new “Star Wars hotel” is having difficulty filling up, but that’s not really the whole story.

A new piece from SFGate uses the word “struggling” to describe Disney World’s new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. However, the evidence of struggle is that, if you want to book a reservation onboard the brand new experience, you can, as long as you're willing to wait three months. There are three different sailings available in mid-June, beyond that the starcruiser is booked solid from now until July, though how many cabins are available for those few dates is impossible to tell from the calendar. 

Availability does start to open up in July, and between August and December you do have basically your pick of dates. There are a few that are sold out here and there as late as the end of November, but for the most part, if you’re interested in doing this, you can. So is the Galactic Starcruiser really struggling to fill up?

alien and droid at Sabacc table

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Why The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Is Doing Just Fine…Probably 

First and foremost, it’s clear that there are a lot of fans interested in the Galactic Starcruiser by virtue of the fact that the experience is booked solid for the next three months. The positive word of mouth is only going to help, as the vast majority of guests seem to be truly impressed with the experience. People are saving their money to afford this thing.

At the same time. There are only 100 rooms on board the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, so filling them shouldn’t be that hard, right? There are Disney World resort hotels with hundreds more rooms that have less availability this summer. If the starcruiser can’t book 100 rooms, maybe there is a problem?

The fact that some amount of availability opens up 90 days from now isn’t really that concerning because it’s actually exactly what we would expect to see happen. Guests need to make full payment for the Galactic Starcruiser 90 days out from their trip, and when that happens, we would actually expect to see cancellations happen. 

The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser works on a cruise ship model in more ways than one. The story on board is that guests are on board a luxury cruise ship in space, but the pricing and purchase structure also works much the same way. You're paying for a largely inclusive experience, with all the key elements part of the price. It’s not uncommon for guests that book trips on cruise ships to end up cancelling when the payment comes due. Sometimes you book the trip thinking you’ll be able to go, but when the money comes due, you reevaluate and things change.

We saw exactly that happen three months ago. In December and January, ahead of the first Galactic Starcruiser trips in March, we saw a significant number of people cancel trips, which opened up availability for some of the early experiences. Those trips were then fairly quickly snatched up by other guests who wanted to go. While it’s too early to know if that will happen here, it’s also too early to be sure there’s any problem. 

Rey Fighting Kylo ren

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Is Not A Theme Park 

Traditionally you would expect to see any big ticket item at Walt Disney World extra busy in the summer. It’s the time when kids are out of school and the weather is more reliable, making it a good time to go on vacation and visit the parks. But none of the things that make Walt Disney World popular in July over March are of a concern to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. 

The experience is almost entirely indoors, so there’s no value in visiting in July over November. Honestly, doing this when the weather sucks outside is maybe the better choice, save your sunny days for outdoor activities. In addition, because this is a set three day experience, there’s no specific need to book this during a traditional vacation period. 

Book it during a long weekend or anytime you can take a couple days off work and hop down and do it and go home. Maybe the reason the summer is less full right now is that guests want to spend that time visiting Walt Disney World itself.

alien and droid at Sabacc table

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

The Galactic Starcruiser Is So New There’s Just A Lot We Don’t Know 

Beyond all this, reservations for dates in the fall and winter of 2022 were only made available in early March, so those dates couldn’t have been booked before now. It’s also unclear just how many cabins are available for the open dates. With the fact that some dates in September and November are sold out, it could be that most of the “available” dates only have a few slots left and could end up becoming full as soon as one or two more groups book trips. Maybe it’s only the really expensive rooms that are left.

It’s also unclear just how full the Galactic Starcruiser needs to be in order to be a “success” for Disney. The $5000-$6,000 per cabin price tag is, largely, so high in the first place because of the limited number of cabins in what is, one assumes, a fairly expensive endeavor. But because the price tag is so high, maybe the Starcruiser doesn’t really need to be full to be profitable.

And a less full starcruiser is only going to mean a better experience for those that are on board. They’ll spend more money, tell their friends what a great time they had, and be more likely to want to come back. Disney knows this.

The simple fact is that everything about the Galactic Starcruiser is new. Perhaps the fact that it isn’t fully booked through the end of December is bad news, but it could also be no big deal. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.