Over dinner at Disneyland this weekend, I had a conversation with my girlfriend and her sister about what our “dream theme parks” would be. We all started with the basis of a highly-themed park, like Disneyland; but from there our priorities differed. Bethany’s park would feature more live music and be absent of motion simulators. Collette wanted a park with thrill rides, no lines, and a bike for every guest. My wishlist included more immersive, interactive experiences similar to activities I really enjoy like scavenger hunts and escape rooms. As I went through my list of wishes, it occurred to me that I was wearing a Star Wars hat and shirt, with Fastpasses for Disneyland’s Star Wars ride in my pocket. So, naturally, my dream theme park would feature plenty of Star Wars.
Disney World and Disneyland rumors always excite me, but I rarely get as downright giddy as I did this morning when I read WDWNT’s report about a survey that describes a Star Wars luxury resort in detail, including concept art. When I first saw the tweet, I figured it was vague rumors about a Star Wars-themed resort, but as I read the article, the details that I saw ended up describing something remarkably similar to my dream theme park experience.
As detailed in the third-party survey, the Star Wars resort would be located next to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, Orlando. Most likely, this resort would be adjacent to Star Wars Land in DHS. No word on if this experience will also be available in Disneyland, but considering Disney has much more space to work with in Orlando, this makes sense as a WDW exclusive. The resort will be themed to be a Star Wars spaceship, and the concept art shows sleeping quarters with spectacular planetary views, a classy cantina, and a bridge/command area. (Nerdy theorizing commencing now: this “starship” is most likely similar to a large capital ship like the Mon Calamari use in Return of the Jedi. End of nerdy theorizing). Like any good Disney resort, there will be amenities like a pool and fitness area. However, unlike other Disney luxury resorts, this one would feature Droid butlers.
While the concept art is very exciting for a Star Wars fan like me to look at, it isn’t just that Disney is creating a highly themed resort. They are creating an immersive, all inclusive experience that is part theme park, part cruise ship, and part choose-your-own interactive experience. The survey describes a two night experience starting at $900 to $1000 per person. The package would include theme park admission to Hollywood Studios during day 2, all meals including “buffet breakfasts, lunches, & signature evening dining,” as well as live entertainment.
This is where the fun begins: There is an added element of interactive story to this resort. The resort would offer set dates for guests’ stays so that everyone on board the starship would experience the story from the same starting point. Think of it like boarding an intergalactic cruise ship: everyone would board and depart at the same time. It also seems like how you experience the story will be up to you. Want to hone your lightsaber skills? You can do that. Want to go on a secret mission or try to become the best pilot in the galaxy? You can do that to. You’ll have chance encounters with Star Wars characters, and the story will follow you wherever you go, including the theme park. How immersed you want to get is up to you.
So, how likely is it for this resort to become a reality? If you had just described this concept to me a couple of years ago, I would say that it was a stretch. Everything abou this sounds too ambitious. However, it seems to be in line with a lot of what Disney has been doing at Disney World lately, from premium experiences to experiements with interactive storytelling (the Ghost Post being front of mind). At Star Wars Celebration this weekend, there was a panel that featured Imagineers and Lucasfilm creatives that talked about their goals for Star Wars land. They described a level of interactivity and immersion that simply hasn’t been done at Disney World, let alone theme parks. One of the examples they gave was that how you do on your mission aboard the Millenium Falcon could impact how characters in the land will treat you, and they also described getting missions from smugglers and bounty hunters. This resort seems to be the complete culmination of that idea. The existence of concept art and the fact that it seems to further Disney’s goals make me think that there is a real shot of this becoming a reality. However, until it’s announced by Disney, take this with the grain of salt it deserves.
At $900-$1000 for 2 nights, would this be worth it? It depends on your personal preference, of course, and how well they execute on the promise of the concept. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, then it probably would seem like a ludicrous amount of money to spend. For someone like me, being able to have an experience with Westworld-level immersion and interactivity set in the Star Wars universe is a no-brainer. (Even if the droid butlers end up having an uprising.) Sign me up, it will be worth every penny.
Here’s hoping we find out more at D23 this July.