In the halls of the Halcyon starcruiser, Padmé Amidala’s travel cloak is a popular fashion statement, swishing along as passengers enjoy the amenities of a Toniray, the teal-colored libation that hails from Leia Organa’s home planet of Alderaan, on their way to the Crown of Corellia dining room where a Taste Around the Galaxy multi-course meal awaits.
For the creative minds behind Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the new two-night immersive experience now open at Walt Disney World Resort, no detail was too small in the planning stages for an innovative new way to step inside the Star Wars galaxy in every sense — and with all your senses engaged.
“We really started this whole project with a clean slate,” says Brian Piasecki, the culinary director in concept development for the experience. World-class chefs conceived fresh recipes and reimagined recognizable ingredients and menu staples. But first, Piasecki and his team set down some rules and guidelines to help craft the menu.
For starters, any sandwich you could eat on the ship had to look “uniquely Star Wars,” he says. “We’re not going to do any sandwich that looks the way a normal sandwich looks. So when you see something like the grilled cheese bubble waffle with the red dipper, in its essence, it is a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. But when the creative juices start flowing, that’s what came up.” In the first month of voyages, the dish has already become a fan-favorite. Another childhood staple, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is available at the lunch buffet but takes the form of a cream puff shell filled with sunflower butter and jelly from a piping bag.
For the fancier sit-down dinner on the second night of the voyage, chefs created a Taste Around the Galaxy, a multi-course meal that pairs innovative culinary creations with the worlds of Star Wars, like blue shrimp from Felucia and a Mustafarian bread service. “Food is an important part of a cruise experience,” Piasecki says. “And with this being an upscale cruise line, we wanted that food to also be at that elevated level playing within the Star Wars story. We were able to continue to be creative, tie into those planets, and really help tell the story with the food.” That also extends to the first night’s dinner, with a trio of colorful spiral dumplings served during the Gaya concert. “They match Gaya and her outfit,” Piasecki says. “We hope the guests pick up on those little things.” For the final dinner, the dessert course even includes a scent experience. “It’s very, very immersive and it hits all of the senses.”
A toast with Toniray
The exploration of the galaxy extends to the drink menu in the Sublight Lounge, where several beverages are either named for worlds we’ve only visited on film or nods to creations from books and comics.
“The beverages really give you that sense of place,” says Evan Rosenthal, the beverage manager for concept development. “For example, when you think of Hoth, it’s very icy and cold. How do you represent that in a drink?” The answer: the Hoth Icebreaker. “You get these notes of lemon and there’s some vanilla and sweet foam with an ice shard. And it really takes you to what Hoth should feel and should taste like.”
The blue Toniray Chardonnay was first conceived for books exploring Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan, with a classic flavor that has a completely new look to it. And the Fiery Mustafarian, which comes in a special souvenir glass, gives you the chance to control the flavoring. “You get this smoky drink reminiscent of Mustafar and you can pour in the lava extract really choose your own heat adventure.”
Blue and green milk are on tap in the dining room, but the Sublight Lounge also includes some nonalcoholic specials like the Blue Milk Citrus Fizz. “We take blue milk and then you mix with flavors of lychee and the ever so popular blue milk sorbet,” says Rosenthal. “You’re able to experience different tastes all throughout your journey.”
Dressing the galaxy
Of course, for many passengers stepping into the Star Wars galaxy also calls for a costume change from their everyday attire. Fans are welcome to create their own Star Wars-inspired bound, a more subtle nod to characters and themes from the saga reflected in color palette and other accessories. But you can also arrive fully decked out in a screen-accurate Rey costume, the full face paint and lekku of a Twi’lek, or choose to purchase in-world apparel at The Chandrila Collection, the Halcyon starcruiser’s boutique.
The shop hosts a range of exclusive items, from jewelry, pins, and backpacks emblazoned with the Chandrila Star Line logo, to Togruta montrals and Twi’lek lekku, as well as clothing that both looks at home on the ship — a pint-sized captain’s jacket for children and a blue coverall are styled after Captain Keevan and Sammie the mechanic — and on film. Merchandise creators worked closely with Lucasfilm and archivists at Skywalker Ranch to create the prequel-era Padmé Amidala travel cloak — “It’s phenomenal,” says Tracie Alt, the senior manager of brand merchandising — and a green ensemble closely matched to the costume of one of Bail Organa’s aides. Alt notes that although the two pieces based on film costumes repeated the patterns and key elements of the pieces, they weren’t made with the same materials. In reality, Amidala’s cloak has a stiff wax-like detail to form the pattern, which would be uncomfortably heavy to wear for some guests. Instead, the team recreated to look of the fabric with burnout velvet, taking care to ensure it still draped in the same manner as the accessory on screen.
Some items took inspiration from the films but gave it a unique spin. “We looked at images from Canto Bight and from Dryden Vos’s yacht,” Alt says. “What were the shapes? What were the fabrics? What were the colors? And we really infuse a lot of that into those designs.” The Solo: A Star Wars Story villain also inspired the look of the wine glasses that can be purchased onboard.
Other pieces are intended to be taken home and displayed as mementos of the experience, like a variety of Halcyon starcruiser models and miniatures and a customizable Legacy Lightsaber modeled after the Lightsaber Training exercise and a kid’s version that both include Aurebesh letters to add to the hilt. There’s also a shield fabricated to look and feel like the shields in the training activity and various action figures and interactive versions of astromech droid SK-62O.
In each case, the creators behind the consumer products offerings had one goal in mind: ensure that passengers aboard the Halcyon starcruiser felt like they truly belonged among the stars.
Learn more about the food, beverage, and merchandise available at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser in the latest installment of Dispatches from the Halcyon.
Book your voyage on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort now.
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is the author of the book Skywalker: A Family At War, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and an all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver
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