The Walt Disney Company is being forced to make some difficult decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the parks and resorts remain closed at Walt Disney World, questions are being raised about the future of many of the current construction projects. Some projects may be in jeopardy now that Disney is being forced into a turbulent financial position.
Thankfully, the projects that are close to completion, such as the Ratatouille ride at Epcot, will push forward and be completed. However, other projects with longer timelines could be on the chopping block. The overhaul of Epcot’s Future World may be the one with the most uncertainty at this time and could see significant changes. Meanwhile, the Star Wars Hotel, which is formally known as Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, could be shelved indefinitely.
New rumors suggest Disney is looking to delay the Star Wars Hotel construction in order to reallocate funding to projects that are a bit closer to completion. They’re also looking for ways to cut their overall construction budgets during these uncertain times. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was originally scheduled to open in 2021.
Strategically, postponing the Star Wars Hotel at this stage could be a wise business decision based on the current economy. The hotel is a premium offering that was rumored to cost in the ballpark of $1,000 per night, per guest. The experience would be similar to a cruise ship mixed with a murder mystery, and would require a large volume of cast members to pull off that guests are truly in their own Star Wars story out in space. It wouldn’t be cheap to stay at the hotel and it certainly wouldn’t be cheap for Disney to operate.
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is also located out of the way from guests and it’s easy to overlook if you don’t know where it is located. It won’t be quite as obvious as a shuttered attraction sitting abandoned inside one of the theme parks.
While it may be surprising to see Disney put the brakes on a project that’s well underway, it wouldn’t be the first time hotel construction was halted abruptly at Walt Disney World. The Art of Animation resort has a fascinating history where it was originally supposed to be the “Classic Years” as an extension of Pop Century resort. Disney built multiple buildings for this Pop Century addition, which you can read all about here, but the events of September 11, 2001 and its impact on the travel industry froze the project.
The Classic Years portion of Pop Century could be seen sitting abandoned for years.
As we all know, Art of Animation eventually rose out of the ashes of the Pop Century Classic Years and the rest is history. The same will likely be said of the Star Wars Hotel once the economy – and the world in general – settles down and Disney is able to reallocate resources back to this premium offering.