Disney will lose $250m on its ‘Star Wars’ hotel… but it was really cool

Disney will lose $250m on the epic Star Wars immersive experience it’s closing after just 18 months.

‘Star Wars’ hotel

Orlando, Fla - March 01: Chewbacca, a legendary Wookiee warrior, waves goodbye to passenger as he escapes capture from the First Order, as the first passengers experience the two-day Walt Disney World Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser, which is a live action role playing game that doubles as a high-end hotel in Orlando, Fla. The event is billed as Halcyon's 275th anniversary voyage across the galaxy. at Walt Disney World Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser in Orlando, Fla on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. First Order lieutenant Harman Croy and his garrison of stormtroopers patrol the ship. Guests arrive at Batuu, a destination for a planet excursion. Players use a data pad to play the immersive game while they participate in activities such as light saber training. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Disney Parks made a surprising announcement in May: its Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience in Orlando, Florida, will close in September after just ~18 months.

During the Walt Disney Company’s Q3 earnings call, the company revealed that the closure would result in a $250m loss. (Don’t worry, it’s still worth $162B+.)

By all accounts…

… What Disney accomplished was amazing.

It not only looks like a starship inside, but it’s entirely immersive. We’re talking costumes, actors, themed food and drinks, and complex narratives in which guests play starring roles.

(Wanna hear some immersive theater aficionados geeking out about their experience in great detail? Look no further.)

What went wrong?

Disney hasn’t said officially. But it’s not easy to run a bespoke immersive experience of this caliber, and it wasn’t cheap to go — a minimum two-night stay for two started at $4.8k.

Disney ultimately struggled to fill the hotel despite only offering 100 rooms. Before closing, it had planned to reduce available check-in days, per CinemaBlend.

Also not helping:

  • CEO Bob Iger wants to cut costs by $5.5B. To that end, Disney laid off ~7k people and removed a ton of content from Disney+.
  • Consumers are cutting nonessential spending amid inflation woes.
  • Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been feuding for months.

What happens now?

It’s not clear what will become of the empty hotel, but there’s a lot of potential in those walls, perhaps for cheaper experiences or one-off events.

But hopefully it won’t become one of Disney’s creepy abandoned parks like, you know, these.

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