Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge may be open, but the Star Wars expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not yet complete. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a multi-night resort destination, designed to fully immerse guests into the Star Wars galaxy. While there isn’t an announced opening date yet, this destination is getting ready for when visitors can arrive. Let’s look at how Disney plans on making guests believe they’re staying in a Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in outer space.
Recently, trees were added to the entrance of this hotel. And, while it is always nice to have foliage, these trees were added for a specific purpose.
If we are to take this concept art as the final product, then we can discern that guests must drive one-way to the resort entrance.
Why is the one-way important? Storyline is everything, especially for a hotel that is supposed to sell immersion at a hefty price tag. If the concept art and proposed theory of valet-only parking is true, then guests will take the above path. Guests will drive on the green, stopping at the first yellow where they will check in at security. Guests will continue on the green, stopping at the next yellow marker which is the entrance to the hotel. From here, guests would leave their vehicle and it would be parked by the valet team. Theoretically, guests would not see their car again until after their multi-day experience at the hotel. Guests, at the end of their stay, would then pick up their car at the same secondary yellow line, then drive on the red back out of the resort.
This matters, especially if you look at the newly planted trees on the berms. They are built in such a way as to hide portions of the hotel and backstage area from guests. Eventually there should be more trees in this whole area, but notice the focus is strongly on hiding the hotel on the drive in. This hotel is incredibly difficult to build and run, because every bit of the experience is meant to simulate another location. This isn’t a five minute ride or a dining experience. This must fool, or immerse, people for days and make them believe they’re in a Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
So, if you are one of the Imagineering magicians, you don’t want to giveaway your trick before you do it. Instead, focus heavily on selling the illusion that this hotel is in outer space. Get guests so focused on what’s around the next corner that they don’t notice the large hotel sitting to the right. Using elevated trees on a dirt berm is not new, but they are rarely used in such a way with a resort destination. For new resorts, such as Disney’s Riviera Resort or the Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney wants guests to see the splendor of these structures.
Berms and trees have been used by Disney parks since the very beginning to help create a barrier without creating something as unflattering as a plain wall.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge uses a berm covered in trees to help sell the immersion of a forest encampment near the entrance to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Along with the newly added trees, we can also get a better look at the bus loading area. These highly-themed buses will simulate guests flying in a star shuttle from a luxury starcruiser in space and landing at the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu. In reality, guests will load into a bus at the hotel and be dropped off inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land.
This excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be just one of numerous themed experiences available during the stay. Guests will also have the opportunity to go on the bridge of the “ship” during a space battle and learn how to properly wield a lightsaber.
This entire resort experience can be simplified to three sections. Yellow is the entrance; here guests will drop off their cars and check in. They will also be lead to a motion simulator that sells the illusion of taking off into space up to the Starcruiser. The purple section is the majority of the hotel experience. Guests in this area can visit a bar, check out the bridge of the ship, meet characters and interact with nearly everything. The blue area is where the hotel rooms reside. This is where guests will be staying, complete with simulated views into space.
If successful, this hotel could be “the start of something very very big”, according to Disney CEO, Bob Chapek. Which other Disney property would you like a hotel experience themed after? Marvel? Haunted Mansion? Or maybe you’d like to actually stay in the Hollywood Tower Hotel? Let us know in the comments below.