Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Ends & Other Important Losses

Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Ends & Other Important Losses

While we like going into the weekend with lighter news, this week a couple of key announcements were made, and they are reflective of some tough financial decisions being made particularly at the Walt Disney World Resort. First and foremost, Disney has announced that the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser will cease operations in a few months. We explore why this is coming to an end, and most importantly, what lessons can be learned from it. Disney has also announced that it is no longer going to relocate staff into a planned campus that was to be located in a Lake Nona campus here in Orlando. And we also look at the tea leaves to see how attendance is doing at Walt Disney World.

This conversation is timely, as we have worked with organizations big and small to consider how they can save their customers time. It’s one of the major processes that really trip up a customer experience. At  Performance Journeys, we work with organizations in the public, private and non-profit sector to help give their customers the gift of time. We can help your organization as well. The concepts presented in this podcast are an outline of the kinds of improvements we can help you make. Call us and let’s chat.

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Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser to End

Disney’s Statement:

“Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is one of our most creative projects ever and has been praised by our Guests and recognized for setting a new bar for innovation and immersive entertainment. This premium experience gave us the opportunity to try new things on a smaller scale of 100 rooms, and we will take what we’ve learned to create future experiences that can reach more of our Guests and fans.
We will be contacting Guests booked for voyages departing on or after Sept. 30 to discuss their options and modify their plans. To prioritize these Guests, we are pausing new bookings until May 26.

We are so proud of all of the Cast Members and Imagineers who brought Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to life and look forward to delivering an excellent experience for Guests during the remaining voyages over the coming months.”

Why Did This Fail?

  • Too expensive
    • Out of range for most families
    • Out of range for many Star Wars fans
    • Comparatively more than other Disney offerings like the Disney Cruise Line
  • Disney needs to cut costs–it may be better as a tax write off
  • It has Chapek’s name all over it–An era of overpriced product to high end spenders
  • Looked like a warehouse on the side
  • Lacked resort ammenities
  • Required a structured arrival/departure
  • Drove a structured story line in a determined point in time
  • Travel planners were not given opportunities to see it and sell it
  • Didn’t offer enough value
    • Spend the only full morning in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
    • Bedrooms were well themed but like small cabins
    • Technology was not quite there
    • It required investing in CosPlay

What Options Are There?

  • Could they try more options?
    • More like a resort stay
    • Flexible itinerary
    • Less cosplay
  • Could it be a Marvel campus?
    • Assuming you could make it happen legally, what would it take?
    • Could it be like Disney’s Hotel New York: Art of Marvel?
    • Could you add more resort amenities?
  • Could it be a Toy Story hotel?

Your Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser Souvenirs

  • Pilot Your Ideas
    • Big Red Boat-Disney Cruise Line–See Thirty20Eight Podcast
    • Could you have done weekends at Contemporary or elsewhere?
    • Could you have remodeled and existing property?
    • Don’t get too carried away by only one target audience
  • Star Wars Crowd–What is their repeat attendance pattern?
    • Upcharging a high-end market
    • High-end market is not always a repeat customer
    • All of the upcharges combined will not make up for the loss of infrastructure.

Lake Nona Imagineering Campus Cancelled

Dear Community Leaders,

Today, you may have heard the news that Disney is no longer moving forward on the construction of a new campus in the thriving and growing community of Lake Nona in Orlando. Since we first announced this project, several dynamics have changed, including a change in company leadership and evolving economic and business conditions.

Regarding our world-class destination, our desire is to continue investing in our core business in an effort to attract and welcome millions of visitors to Walt Disney World and Central Florida each year so they can enjoy the kind of hospitality our region is known for around the world. Our plans currently call for us to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years and create 13,000 new jobs to continue doing our part as a leading employer in the hospitality and themed entertainment industry. We hope those plans will become a future reality.

For decades, we have operated our business responsibly and being the region’s largest taxpayer, we paid and collected over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes during last year alone.

As the largest single-site employer in Central Florida, we are deeply rooted in this community, and we continue to make investments for the betterment of our region such as our contribution of 80 acres of land to create affordable and attainable housing for our community, which we announced last year.

Groundbreaking on this development is targeted for next year, with the first of 1,400 units anticipated to be completed in 2026.

We also continue to invest in our community through our broad array of philanthropic and citizenship efforts. Over the last 20 months, we’ve provided $6.5 million in grants to locally based, non-profit organizations such as Give Kids The World, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Conservation Florida, Heart of Florida United Way, Hope Partnership, The Nature Conservancy and more. This is on top of the donation of millions of hours of time that our Cast Members have contributed to deserving organizations over the decades.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing dedication of the 75,000 Cast Members who call Central Florida their home. To them, we offer the best overall benefits package in the Central Florida hospitality industry, including an $18 minimum wage by the end of the year-which is well above the state’s minimum wage – affordable medical coverage, subsidized childcare, access to free higher education through Disney Aspire our 100% paid tuition programs, and pathways to help Cast at every step of their career.

While today’s decision was not easy, we remain committed to our Cast Members as well as you and our wonderful community.


Jeff Vahle


Walt Disney World Resort

Here’s what the governor’s office said:

“Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago. Nothing ever came of the project, and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition,” DeSantis’ office said in the statement.

The Problems with Lake Nona

  • This is a Bob Chapek idea–therefore it has a poster child for its failure, not a success plan for moving forward
  • The governor could care less and probably sees it as a win
  • Developers in Lake Nona are clearly ticked
  • Moving corporate from Los Angeles has been going on and will continue going on
  • Disney Imagineers were not set up well for this move
  • Timing and Flexibility was missing in making such an important move
  • All of this back and forth with Lake Nona has not only cost the company money, but it has lost them some good talent
  • One wonders how we measure the advantages and disadvantages. Are we simply using statistics to defend our interests–Disney’s America as an example

Your Lake Nona Souvenirs

  • Weigh the human costs of change, not just the bottom line financials
  • If it’s the right thing to move the business, then move it. It shouldn’t matter who is in charge.
  • Don’t play games
  • Anticipate compliance rather than wait to be made compliant
  • Show greater flexibility with your employees–Don’t draw lines in the sand

The Tea Leaves of Business at Walt Disney World

  • Parking lot still half empty at MK late afternoon
  • Seasons was closing at 4:00 pm
  • Garden Grill was down 40% in occupancy around dinner time.
  • The park was beautiful and the operation fairly smooth
  • Disney is late offering something big for the summer season. Here’s what it’s offering:
    • A new Passholder magnet is coming!
    • Passholders will have a limited-time, exclusive space to rest and cool off with dedicated seating (subject to availability).
    • Passholders can enjoy increased discounts on select merchandise and dining locations
    • New Passholder exclusive treats will be available for purchase.
    • Passholders will also get a chance to capture memories of their latest park visit with two limited-time photo ops.
  • I’m reminded of Frozen summer which was organized in two weeks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    • Parade
    • Frozen Sing-Along
    • Meet ‘n’ Greet
    • Ice Skating Rink
    • Dining & Retail
    • Banners and Signage
  • There is so much that could be offered in little time:
    • Night Time Parade to MK and Day Time Parade to Studios
    • Bring Back Star Wars Fireworks to Studios
    • Bring Back Missing Entertainment–Citizens of Hollywood & Main Street
    • Unique Character Experiences (Where’s Figment) to All Parks
    • Attraction Touches (Where’s the Hatbox Ghost)
    • Open Moana Journey of Water
    • Re-Open The Little Mermaid

Souvenirs in Disney’s Current Status

  • It’s hard to re-emerge when you’re busy laying everyone off
  • Organizationally you need to stay agile to address opportunities like this

Solutions from Performance Journeys

At Performance Journeys, we’ve addressed clients like this with

  • Solutions for better knowing your customers
  • Approaches for testing out ideas before you’ve sunk too much money in them.
  • Ways to better listen to your employees and their needs
  • Addressing solutions in being more agile
  • Better to anticipate compliance than have it forced on you

At  Performance Journeys, we work with organizations like yours to address challenges and implement solutions. The concepts presented in this podcast are an outline of the kinds of improvements we can help you make. Call us and let’s chat.

Please Share

Did you experience Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser. If the prices remained the same, would you have gone on it. Please join our Disney Insights Facebook Page and share! We would love to hear from you.

Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation, whether it is a Disney theme park vacation, a cruise, or an Adventure by Disney. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

David and Leah Zanolla
(309) 863-5469
Instagram: @otdwithdavid

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