The Wreck of the HalcyonThe Dark Herald
Disney is spending a lot of money to learn the answer to something they could just find out just by reading the Arkhaven Blog. Why is the Star Wars Galactic Cruise a failure?
When you have a massive collapse like this, it’s rarely if ever just one thing. It is always a string of bad decisions and they always come from the very top.
First and foremost: Chapek didn’t spend the money he needed to. This thing is cheap and it shows. He couldn’t keep his miserliness within the acceptable limits of going cheap where you can’t see it. This Halcyon reeks of Six Flags Over Orlando.
The interior doesn’t look like Star Wars. Now, if you looked at the original concept art, that looked like Star Wars. The aesthetic had the right kind of “a galaxy far, far away,” feel to it. But the finished product was closer to the 1980s version of Buck Rogers. Okay, not spending a ton on a “shuttle” for the Halcyon to Batu day trip makes sense, the passengers never see the outside of the box-truck so that’s fine. But they do see how cheap the plastic tables and chairs in the lounge are. Let’s take Gaia as a better example. The actress playing her is a perfectly fine lounge singer, but Disney is pretending that Gaia is delivering a Lady Gaga stadium-level performance and she just can’t, she doesn’t have that kind of talent or charisma. If she did, she wouldn’t be working on a Disney attraction. She simply isn’t a draw. You know what would have been? Sonny Eclipse.
People come to Disney to see animatronics. One that you would never see unless you paid to be on the Halcyon would have been a genuine draw. And yes, it would have been a flex on the regular peasant parkgoers. However, there are no animatronics to be found aboard the Halcyon because they cost a lot to build and maintain so Chapek hates them. A live act in make-up is cheaper. The lightsaber training is embarrassingly feeble, IR beams and dirt in the air to show them is pathetic compared to what people were promised, Disney would have been better just to have cut the whole thing out. The same goes for the bridge battle, it’s the kind of thing you do when you are waiting in line for the real attraction.
Staffing is a major issue. And Bob Chapek is responsible for that one too. When Galaxy’s Edge opened the long-time veterans of Disney Parks were given the option of transferring into the new attraction before anyone else. Which also meant they got to play on it when the park is closed which is a major job perk of the cast members. And then they found out that the Chairman of Parks and Experiences, one Robert Chapek, had stripped them of their seniority when they transferred. So, when cuts had to be made, these 30-year veterans were the first fired. This created a major trust issue. NONE of the permanent cast members were willing to transfer into the Star LARP hotel. The actors are contract employees but the staff itself had to be drafted from the College Program.
Let me repeat that. This $6000, two-night experience was staffed almost entirely by INTERNS.
They aren’t remotely up to the job. Most of the people going to Disney World are generally middle-class families making a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. Put them in a bad motel and their bad motel reflexes kick in. That is the level of service they will expect. They don’t like it but they can live with it. But at 6K for two nights, people used to a genuine high-end, white-glove luxury experience showed up. These people expected perfect service no matter what, and they weren’t getting it. Important people have to listen when they complain.
The ride’s backstory is just plain dull. It’s a 600-year-old space liner that is the most luxurious ship in the galaxy and has been since the day it was launched. That’s it. That is its prolonged backstory. I did better without even trying. Captain Keven was clearly another Kathleen Kennedy insert. Apparently, we needed another one of those. No one but Women and Gender Studies professors will find her interesting.
The LARP stories have no replay value. It’s going to be the same thing pretty much every time. That’s fine for a dark ride but lousy for a role-playing game. From what I’ve heard they don’t have enough player-guests for the First Order story, so they end up drafting people. And it doesn’t matter anyway because the story ends the same way every time, the big fight between Kylo and Rey.
Which brings us to the biggest problem of all. The idea of a lockdown, overnight Star Wars LARP session was fundamentally flawed, to begin with. The overnight LARP concept first came to life at Imagineering when the Tower of Terror was in diapers. The idea was put on a shelf back then but was occasionally looked at for years. The only time it made any real sense was when Disney was in talks to acquire the Harry Potter franchise. An overnight stay at Hogwarts would have made serious bank back in the 00s. It would probably still be doing okay today.
Star Wars on the other hand is a broken franchise. I’m not convinced that the Halcyon would have sold even with First Trilogy characters running around the “ship.” But it sure as hell wasn’t going to blow the doors off with the detested First Order era characters. But Imagineering is now run by Wokeites and those twats love the Last Jedi on general principle even if they can’t force themselves to sit through it again.
I honestly don’t see what they can do to save this ride. You can replace Reylo with Vader and Luke then run the LARP session on a much more abbreviated scale. But Disney will have to significantly drop the price and I’m not sure that will be enough to pay for the maintenance and actors let alone pay off the construction loans.
Disney can’t fix any of its real problems without throwing a lot of good money after bad and they won’t do that at this point.
And no, they can’t turn it into a hotel. It simply wasn’t designed to be one and given that it’s basically a concrete bunker, there is no way to make it into one.
I suspect Disney will try my band-aid plan for a while but past a certain point they will put up a sign that says, “This Attraction Temporarily Closed for Refurbishing.” After a couple of years, they will demolish it when one cares anymore.
Okay, I’m done here.