Event Recap – The Institute of Architecture hosts an Imagineering presentation on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Last night, the American Institute of Architects in Los Angeles (AIALA) hosted a virtual presentation hosted by three talented Walt Disney Imagineers, as they discussed the highly anticipated upcoming immersive resort experience, Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser.
The event featured Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Executive Producer and Creative Director Ann Morrow Johnson, Principal Interior Designer Tami Empero and Concept Architect Gregory Ashton in a PowerPoint-style preview of this incredibly innovative new adventure. In the bulleted list below, I’ve detailed some of the most fascinating information and facts we learned during the event.
- Ann Morrow Johnson introduced the presentation with a short montage video covering the basics of what Walt Disney Imagineering actually does, summing it up with “We build stories in physical places”.
- Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is described as a “deeply immersive multi-day experience” with a two-night structure, unfolding like a “gigantic three-act play”.
- You will meet characters who need your help and passengers aboard the Alcyon can expect to interact with factions such as Resistance, Underworld, Force, and First Order. The other story paths mentioned were “Rom Com” and “Pilot”, which all send the guest on the path of becoming a “Hero”.
- As this discussion was for an architectural institute, the Imagineers spent some time talking about how the Alcyon was designed as a civilian ship in the Star Wars universe, as opposed to a military ship.
- Guests will begin their trip to Walt Disney World, check in at a terminal (pictured above), and prepare to take off into space from an austere, monochrome bunker that is considered the “Star Wars antidote” before. to get to A Galaxy Far, Away.
- The launch pod then travels through hyperspace and connects to the Alcyon cruise ship. There, guests will encounter wandering droids, alien crew members, and life-size hologram columns, ensuring they now feel deeply immersed in the familiar Star Wars universe.
- Tami Empero spoke about the color choices for the atrium of the Halcyon and showed artistic concepts that I had never seen before. It is “a high-end cut above the grays and oranges” that we see in the movies. The costumes from the Star Wars prequel trilogy helped inspire the finishes, which are described as lightweight and synthetic.
- An on-board boutique will allow customers to purchase costumes and clothing with the Halcyon logo.
- Guest cabins are intimate and ‘space travel ready’. Everything is bolted to the ship to prevent furniture from moving during “turbulence”. All doors will open horizontally instead of opening like in a standard real world hotel.
- Part of the story will involve a space battle, allowing guests to use control panels on the ship’s deck. The panels were designed with “1970s realism” to mirror the original movies, with no touchscreens – just flashing buttons and analog switches. There will be text in English and Aurebesh alongside vector graphics.
- The group also briefly discussed the high-tech interactive lightsaber training pod and the Crown of Corella Dining Room, where guests will have three meals a day. At night, this room turns into a club dinner with live music. They brought up the “blue mohair upholstery” in the dining room and the food that “feels out of this world”.
- In the Sublight Lounge bar, space cocktails will be served while guests play the Sabaac card game on the holographic tables. Here, the smuggler characters may ask you if you want to join them for a heist. Gregory Ashton explained how the proportions of this room are distorted to make it look like it’s in a spaceship instead of a building.
- There will also be “secret spaces” like the Engineering Room, where guests can “hack” the ship’s subsystems and crawl through tunnels to other areas. Later, active participants may be invited to return here for a story scene involving the trapping of the ship “Alone at home-style.”
- We were shown a detailed cut of the Alcyon‘s bridge and they were told that the real world WDW facility is laid out almost one by one with the dimensions of the fictional ship.
- Finally, the Imagineers discussed the excursion to Batuu by transport, where guests of the Galactic Starcruiser will have priority access to attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. There will also be story reasons for doing these rides, as characters can ask for your help with missions that will pay off once you get back on the ship.
- After concluding the presentation, the team answered questions from attendees and revealed a few more details like the ‘climate simulator’ (an open-air space on the ship that will allow guests to go out when they want or need it. ) and the intriguing concept that this is perhaps just the first story told aboard the Alcyon, which implies that the overall narrative of the experience may change over time.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is slated to open in 2022 at Walt Disney World.
Mike is Laughing Place’s senior Southern California reporter, editorial director for Star Wars content and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars Podcast. He has been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general his entire life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.