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Some Fans Had Concerns Galactic Starcruiser Would Be Separate From Galaxy’s Edge. Here’s Why It Had To Be Its Own Experience

(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

When Disney first announced Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge it was described as something unlike anything we’d seen in a Disney theme park. More than just a land themed to Star Wars, it was supposed to be a place that was Star Wars. It would be a planet in the Star Wars universe where guests could feel like they were inside the galaxy far, far away.

In many ways, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was exactly what it promised to be, but in others, it came up short. A number of the elements that were either hinted at or outright announced for the land, like a Star Wars dinner show or individual storylines for guests that could change as part of their actions in the land, never came to fruition as part of the theme park experience.

They are, however, now a part of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a two-night Star Wars-themed experience that costs a great deal more that a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While visiting the Galactic Starcruiser recently, I asked Walt Disney Imagineering’s Wendy Anderson why the things people can do inside the Starcruiser couldn’t have been a part of Galaxy’s Edge, and she explained that the experience they wanted to create was something that simply could not be experienced in a single day. Anderson explained…

We wanted to give people the opportunity to play deeper and to have an experience that you couldn’t have in a single day. We wanted to give people the opportunity to live out their greatest Star Wars fantasy or their greatest play adventure with their families in a different and unique way. And I think the intimacy of the experience speaks to itself.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a massive land and it does a remarkable job making you feel like you’re inside the world of Star Wars. However, at the end of the day, it is just one land among many in one theme park. Most people won’t spend their whole day there because there’s so much more to experience.

But with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser you are dedicated to this one thing for a couple of days. Perhaps more importantly, you’re in a space with a finite number of people, all of whom have also come on board for the same purpose. Part of what makes this experience work is that you can also interact with the other guests in the same way that you do the characters. Anderson continued…

Galaxy’s Edge is incredible and it’s also detail-oriented and you can spend all day in there playing if you want, with your Star Wars datapad, all the characters you can interact with. At the same time, on the Halcyon, there are only 100 cabins. So, you’re able to meet other guests and other passengers in a different way, and meet them where they are in the story, and I think that’s part of where the magic really happens: when that passenger-to-passengers interaction of the story also starts to give to the gameplay.

There are certainly fans who are frustrated that things that were expected to be part of Galaxy’s Edge are now behind an additional, and not inexpensive, paywall. Something like the dining experience, that includes a live band performance, certainly could have been part of Galaxy’s Edge, though getting reservations would have almost certainly been the hottest ticket in town.

At the same time, other elements, like those character interactions which lead to additional adventures, would have been difficult to pull off in a theme park land. There, quite simply, would be too many people wandering Galaxy’s Edge for each to have their own experience. And lots of the guests would not be interested in playing, which would have made it difficult for those that wanted to play to have the full experience. 

As with all things, there are trade offs that need to be made. No theme park project has ever made it from blue sky to opening day in the same state. It is frustrating that Galaxy’s Edge is missing things that undoubtedly would make it a better place to visit. But in the end Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is its own experience that is not just another theme park. Perhaps for this new themed entertainment experience to truly shine it needed to be something else.

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

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