Walt Disney Makes Another Big Bet on Star Wars

The company has a hit with its Star Wars hotel so its taking the famed science fiction brand to new places.

When Walt Disney (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report spent $4 billion buying LucasFilm from George Lucas it created a lot of questions as to how the company would integrate Star Wars into the greater Disney universe. Everyone understood that Disney would make more movies and likely expand the brand’s presence at its theme parks but few (if any) people saw just how much the Mouse House would do with the brand.

Star Wars has become fully integrated into the company’s theme parks with the “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and at Disneyland in California. The theme park company has even built a Star Wars hotel, Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser that despite its high price tag has been surprisingly successful.

And, of course, while Star Wars has been absent from the big screen since the the third “Skywalker” trilogy underwhelmed (although the box office returns were strong), shows set in the “galaxy far, far away” have been hugely successful in driving subscriptions to the Disney+ streaming service.

Baby Yoda (Grogu) has been a virtual cultural phenomenon on “The Mandalorian,” and the return of famed bounty hunter Boba Fett led to his own successful spin-off. And, of course, a short-run Obi-Wan Kenobi series fixed a lot of problems from the prequel films.

In a broad sense it’s a full-on Star Wars revival where Disney has found every way possible to deliver new experiences around the beloved brand. Now, the company has taken Star Wars to someplace new that may help it drive business to yet another branch of the company.

Image source: Walt Disney

Disney Brings Star Wars to Its Newest Cruise Ship

The Disney Wish, the company’s latest cruise ship, offers a first-of-its-kind Star Wars experience “Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge.” The company describes the new space as a “high-end bar in a luxurious yacht-class spaceship. This richly themed, immersive experience is reserved for adults every evening, offering interactive tasting experiences and signature beverages inspired by a galaxy far, far away.”

Adults-only spaces are rare on Disney cruise ships, and the Hyperspace Lounge is a somewhat exclusive space as it only seats 45 customers at a time. The theme park giant said the venue’s “sleek” interior was meant to be evocative of Dryden Vos’ ship in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story.’

That seems like an odd choice given the relative failure of that movie and the fact that few people will get the reference, but you don’t really need to know it. It’s a “fancy Star Wars space bar” is probably enough for most people and the experience will be an ever-changing one.

While guests sip their galactic concoctions, this space-faring voyage transports them to iconic locations from the eras of the Republic, Empire and First Order, jumping from one location to another via hyperspace. After each jump, sensational scenes unfold just beyond the ship’s panoramic viewport.

Ranging from serene vistas to action-packed encounters, the spectacles seen through this virtual “window” into the galaxy feature fan-favorite locales like Batuu, Tatooine, Mustafar and Coruscant. Surround-sound audio amplifies the experience as famous ships such as the Millenium Falcon and the Razor Crest rocket past.

That’s an experience that does not require being a Star Wars fan which should make the new onboard bar a big hit (likely one with a line to get in due to the limited capacity).

Disney Needs More Star Wars

Star Wars has a devoted fan-base that will support pretty much any experience based on that universe. Galactic Starcruiser has proven that there’s a demand for high-end Star Wars experiences and the presence of the lounge could drive reluctant parents to book a Disney cruise when they otherwise may not have chosen to.

Disney knows what its fans want and they have shown they want more Star Wars pretty much any way Disney can give it to them. Making the Hyperspace Lounge adults-only and putting it on a cruise ship offers a new kind of experience that’s just a little different than anything else Star Wars the company has offered before.

There may be a limit as to how much Star Wars people want. So far, that has not proven to be true and Disney has been very smart with how it uses this intellectual property (aside from “Solo,”) in order to protect the long-term value of the brand. 

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