Now that Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has finally opened with much hype, everyone is keeping their eyes on how it does. Disney is watching to see whether or not it will be a long-term success. The competition is watching to see if they should launch their own hyper-immersive experience. And fans are dreaming about what other franchises could be turned into a similar experience.
For a company to invest in a project on a scale this large, the franchise needs to interest as many guests as possible. For this reason, a Star Wars theme was a good choice for this first-of-a-kind experience. Star Wars spans multiple decades and generations while also appealing to numerous age groups. It’s not an easy task for a franchise to check off all of those boxes but let’s take a look at some options folks have been suggesting on social media. I won’t be listing any individual names here as these themes and ideas have been posted by numerous fans.
If Universal Studios wanted to get in on the game the most obvious choice is probably something related to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When the magical theme park land first opened, guests poured tears as they stood in the presence of Hogwarts Castle. It is certainly a sight to be seen. Although we get to step inside the castle while queuing up and experiencing Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, every Harry Potter fan still dreams of spending an overnight in the iconic castle. During the day, guests could attend spell classes, wand training, and more activities fans have fallen in love with. Admittedly, Quidditch would probably be hard to realistically pull off.
Although Harry Potter would be a good option for Universal, they unfortunately don’t own the rights to the films as they were made by Warner Bros. An option for Universal allowing them to avoid licensing fees would be the Jurassic Park (and these days, most likely Jurassic World) franchise. This concept is one of the ideas floating around social media that I would most like to see happen. But this would be a very tough one to create. If you’re going on a Jurassic experience you would expect to encounter full-sized dinosaurs. There’s a big difference in riding by a full-scale dinosaur versus having a lengthy experience with one. I’m not sure this option is plausible, but I would love to see them try.
If Disney decided they wanted to create another similar experience based on a different franchise, it would most likely be Marvel themed. The Marvel universe is so large that they would have many options and directions to go in. But one other option I’ve seen tossed around is theming a hyper-immersive experience to the Pirates of the Caribbean films. My gut reaction is that although the ride is extremely popular, I don’t think enough people would be interested in being a pirate for multiple days. But if they were to attempt this, I would hope that it would be created on an actual cruise ship that goes on a voyage.
For me personally, I would love to see a hyper-immersive experience created in the world of “Back to the Future.” I know that’s pretty much just the real world, but I love the idea of living in Hill Valley during a different time period. If Courthouse Square were recreated and everything was themed to the 1950s with activities, dances, etc., that would be a dream to live in.
Currently, our minds are focused on theme park corporations creating these sorts of experiences, but I would love to see a very wealthy individual or hotel chain get in on the action. Since they most likely wouldn’t have ownership of any franchises, the smartest thing to do would be to theme it around something in the public domain. One great option would be L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories. Imagine spending several nights in Emerald City.
I don’t believe these sorts of experiences need to be attached to any kind of theme park for people to be interested. I assume the excursion to Batuu is the thing most people “flying” aboard The Halcyon are least interested in doing. If I were paying a great sum to experience Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, I would want to take full advantage of everything on the ship during my limited time and not visit a theme park land I could see on any normal day. I believe that a fully immersive experience could succeed in a place like Las Vegas, sans the theme park excursion.
The biggest hurdle Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser has to get over right now is the price tag. Reviews from both media and fans seem to be that it’s an overall impressive experience unlike anything else, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth the hefty cost. If any other company does decide to try their hand at creating a hyper-immersive experience, the best thing they could do is make something as equally impressive with a considerably lower cost. That would make a huge statement and the public would take notice.
If you have any theme park topics you would like to hear my opinion on, let me know in the comments. You might just see it pop up in a future DePaoli on DeParks.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.