Disney’s Galactic StarCruiser experience is – if you’ll pardon the pun – truly out of this world!
We know that Disney is the world’s best as theming an attraction, but what they’ve achieved with this … it’s a whole new mind-blowing level.
Let me give you and example – getting aboard the StarCruiser:
You start out at the ‘space port’, where you go through security and then through an air-lock door to board the shuttle craft. It’s a super realistic-looking craft with narrow windows. Through these windows you can see the scene outside – where you just boarded. Within a few moments you sense yourself lifting off and the scene outside falls away. You’ll be completely convinced that you’re actually looking through a window and the shuttle is going up. But then … you suddenly pick up incredible speed, pass through layers of cloud and – boom: you’re looking out at a black sky with stars. You’re in space! The next thing you see out these windows is a gigantic space ship – your StarCruiser – and you approach it, get a close up looking at the docking bay, and your shuttle attaches to it. You will feel the ‘click’.
Then the air lock door – the same one you came in through – opens up revealing the Central Atrium of the StarCruiser Halcyon!
Nothing in the whole experience gives away that you didn’t really just go into space and board a space ship. Only common sense will keep you from believing that you’re actually on a space ship in orbit around a strange planet.
Once aboard, a crew member greets you, gives you your “Magic Band” (a Disney wristband) and takes you to your cabin. Your wristband opens the high-tech cabin door.
The cabin is spectacular! A queen bed, two bunk-bed alcoves, and an extra fold-out double-bed if needed. You also have a view port looking outside and a console where you can interact with your ‘butler robot’. The view outside is “live”: if you’re in orbit around a planet, you will see ships moving around and the occasional First Order patrol going by. If you’re traveling through hyperspace, you’ll see that. If a battle happens to be raging outside – well … you’ll see that too.
The butler robot is pretty cool. It interacts with you by voice. She will keep you up to date on what’s going on around the ship and can handle any requests you may have. Need fresh towels? Just as the robot and she will have them brought in.
This ship’s bridge is very impressive. The view out front is insanely realistic. It isn’t just big screens in place of windows. Even parallax is handled correctly: you walk around the bridge and the view outside does what it’s supposed to. You can look at it up close or from far away or from any angle – and there is no way to tell that you’re not actually looking out into space.
One of the many ‘activities’ onboard (each like a mini Disney experience) is ‘Bridge Training’ . You will learn how to operate various stations: shields, weapons, systems, cargo, etc. There will be simulation training and then, of course, when the Halcyon is actually under attack – you will be called upon to help in the actual battle.
Using an app that you download to your phone (or to a phone they lend you), you will be interacting with various characters around the ship. You can either take the side of The Resistance or of the First Order. By talking to the characters (either through the app or in person – they are wandering around the ship) you get clues and unlock access to secret areas of the ship and collect items and help break people out of the brig and help Chewbacca (yes – he comes aboard at one point) get past the storm troopers (yup – they board at one point as well) and much much more.
During dinner on the first night you will find live entertainment and a lot of the ‘drama’ playing out around you. The First Order gets into an argument with the captain and entertainer. Chewbacca is found on board and arrested. And there is much more.
If you’ve ever looked closely at the crowd at any Disney theme park, you will have noticed a lot of happy people … but also a lot of long lines, tired parents, and crying children. That is just not the case aboard the Halcyon. Every kid is running around excited with a BIG smile on their face – for the whole 3 days! And you will not see a single unhappy adult either.
It’s a bloody-expensive experience — but if you’re even a little bit of a Star Wars fan, you MUST do it.
Oh … one more thing: Make sure you don’t miss the Light Sabre training! It’s very cool!