Disney Offers ‘Star Wars’ Fans New Experience

    06 March 2022

    Walt Disney World, in Florida, is probably the most famous amusement park in the world. Opened in 1965, visitors to the park buy an entry ticket, visit exhibits, go on rides and eat in restaurants inspired by the entertainment company's characters and movies. At the end of the day, people can go home, or if they live far away, spend the night in one of the many hotels inside or close to the amusement park.

    But starting this week, visitors who enjoy the Star Wars movies can do something a little bit more "immersive," as the park officials say.

    The park now offers a two-day imaginary trip on a Star Wars spaceship called The Halcyon.

    Star Wars characters pose at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida
    Star Wars characters pose at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

    The new attraction, "Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser," opened on March 1. It costs about $2,500 per person to experience the imaginary world created by filmmaker George Lucas. Guests can talk to robots and meet famous characters, like the large, hairy Wookiee, Chewbacca.

    The "trip" begins with captain and crew welcoming the guests onto The Halcyon. They tell the visitors that the characters Han Solo and Princess Leia vacationed on the ship right after they were married.

    Crew members will teach visitors how to use the weapons of the Star Wars story: lightsabers. They can work to fight attacks from the ship's control center.

    Visitors are permitted to come onto the ship wearing clothing from the movies.

    Scott Trowbridge leads the creative team at Walt Disney Imagineering. He said: "We are trying to make it safe and fun to play Star Wars."

    The Starcruiser experience lasts two days and two nights. It includes food and drink based on the movies. Visitors who look out the ship's windows see what looks likes outer space, stars and all. The "ship" has 100 living spaces.

    Matt Martin, who leads part of the Lucasfilm Creative Group, compared the experience to a theatrical performance that involves the audience directly.

    The experience begins with the crew and captain welcoming guests onto the Starcruiser. Then, evil characters known as stormtroopers appear. Actors ask the visitors for help in the fight. The visitors get to choose if they will join the Resistance or the First Order.

    Ann Morrow Johnson from Walt Disney Imagineering said visitors can also choose to tell the truth or lie to the actors in the show. They can "really continue that relationship with them" and influence the way the story is told, she said.

    Trowbridge said visitors can enjoy as much or as little of the experience as they want. They can get involved or they can "sit back."

    The Starcruiser experience took six years to build. Disney would not say its cost. However, it is next to two other Star Wars places at Disney World that cost a total of $1 billion to build.

    Disney said people are coming back to their parks in recent months as COVID-19 restrictions are reduced. Trowbridge said the company is excited to show off the new show and "about expanding the ways in which we can engage with our guests."

    I'm Dan Friedell.

    Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based a report by Reuters. Caty Weaver was the editor.

    What would you say if you walked onto a Disney cruise and were handed a lightsaber and asked to fight? Write to us in the Comments Section and visit 51VOA.COM.


    Words in This Story

    amusement – adj. the feeling of being entertained

    exhibit – n. something put out in a public place to be seen, such as a work of art

    inspired– adj. a way to describe something that is based on something similar that was created before

    entertainment – n. the act of amusing people

    character – n. a person who appears in a book, movie, television show or theater performance

    audience - n. the group of people who gather to watch or listen to a performance

    immersed - adj. to be fully involved in an activity or interest

    engage v. to get and keep someone's attention

    excited adj. eager or enthusiastic