So D23 has come and gone and WOW, this could have been the most announcement packed D23 ever in regards to future developments. Disney has taken charge and the next 5 years looks to be the most densely packed of any 5 year period since the early 90s in regards to expansion. Lots of amazing, ground breaking, and just down right cool projects coming, and I can’t wait! But in my opinion, the biggest news of the entire event, and maybe the last 10 years, is the fact that Disney is going ahead with the Star Wars Experience that has been rumoured for the last couple of months.
The Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts went on record yesterday to confirm what will most likely be a game changer in the “Hotel Entertainment Vacation” category (Yeah, I just made that up).
“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.” via Disney Parks Blog
Just to recap, this is a multi day/night experience that will take place at a Star Wars themed “hotel/resort”. This has the potential to be the most immersive experience in any entertainment category ever, period. Disney is calling this new category a “Disney 360 Vacation”. Every min of your stay will be scripted and part of the story, from the time you check in and take off into space, to the time you land back firmly on Terra Firma.
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty as I give you my thoughts on the Star Wars Experience and what it could mean for the future of vacations experiences.
First off, Disney did not announce a site for this hotel other than that it is coming to Disney World. I would expect to see it built directly south of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This would place it right next to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming sometime in 2019 to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This site just seems the most logical. There is enough space to fit a hotel of a smaller size and would allow a “back entrance” to Galaxy’s Edge which would fit thematically with the hotel (Why drive to Galaxy’s Edge when you can take a 2 or 3 night return flight on a starship).
Next, when will I be able to partake in the Star Wars Experience? Well, they left this importation information out as well. Star Wars land, sorry, Galaxy’s Edge construction is well underway now on both coasts. Disney says the land will be open sometime 2019. I don’t think we will see the hotel open along side the land but will see it by 2021, the 50th anniversary of Disney World. That said, whenever the opening date is I know we are going to want to jump all over it. That said I think it would be a bad idea to partake in this experience within the first 6 months or even year after the hotel opens, but more on that later.
How immersive is the Star Wars experience going to be? Well, its to early to tell for sure. But what we know is the experience starts at check in. Disney has confirmed that appropriate clothing and food will be included in the cost. That tells me that the experience will be the most immersive of anything seen anywhere to date. Personally, once we check in, I would like to take a ride on a transport to the ship waiting in orbit to start the experience. A couple of objectives or quests on the way to our destination that I would assume would be Galaxy’s Edge, then more of same on the way back to earth. I hope we are given objectives for our stay that we can be accomplished or failed accordingly. I have always been a fan of escape rooms, and this could be done along those lines.
How much is this all going to cost? Well, Disney has not said, but we can bet it’s not going to be cheap. Demand for a Star Wars Experience is going to be off the charts not only for grand opening, but most likely years and years to come. Given that this will be a “boutique” hotel and probably not accommodate a large amount of people we can expect the hotel to always be full. Cast members will need to be true to the word. Everyone will be considered on stage and acting the part. My guess is prices will be between $600 and $2000 per person for a 2 night experience. “Cheap” will never be used to describe the price of this experience. That said, this should be an all-inclusive experience. Park tickets, and food should not be an additional cost.
Ok, time to get into some planning advice and tips, I am the WDW Planner after all.
Start saving now!
Yes, this has the potential to be the most expensive per night vacation you will ever take. To me and my family, this could be a once and a lifetime event. We will most likely add a 3 night experience onto a full vacation. We have years to save, so if we start now, it wont be a burden when the time comes to go on our Star Wars adventure.
Don’t strive to be the first
Yes, it sounds and looks amazing, and yes I can’t wait to do this, BUT!!, this will be most advanced, multi-level experience ever attempted. I don’t know about you, but I want everything to work with no hiccups for the amount of money I’m inevitably going to spend. Give them some time for the staff to get acclimated to their roles. Let all the technical kinks get worked out before you take off. I would hate to go on my Star Wars Experience and feel like I didn’t get my moneys worth.
Try and avoid spoilers
I’m hoping that there are multiple experience to partake in. I want to be surprised by every moment on an experience like this. But, it’s in my nature to research every aspect of everything to do with Disney World and my vacations in general. I’m going to do my best to not spoil any story lines so it’s fresh for us.
Even though I favour Star Trek over Star Wars, I’ll be counting the days until we can go on our adventure.
How about you? What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below.
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