Having just returned from the Maiden Voyage aboard the Halcyon, this week, we’re going to share our experience via 10 Things You Need to Know About the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser, including what it is, what it isn’t, what’s (and who’s) unique, some (very secret) secrets, and of course, is it “worth it?” to help you make an informed decision of your own.
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[00:00:00] Lou Mongello: In August of 2019, Disney revealed to fans at the D 23 expo, a small glimpse into the star wars, galactic star cruiser, and promised what was, would be the next step into a much larger world of star wars storytelling with a brand new one of its kind. And first of its kind, truly immersive vacation experience in a galaxy far, far away.
[00:00:28] And in my mind, that was a huge promise and one that they had to over deliver on. And for nearly three years, fans and crew. I have wondered and speculated dreamed, imagined, and hoped. And yes, hope like in my personal case where I hoped that this experience would not just live up to the hype, but more importantly, touch reach and impact the little boy in me that watched star wars with his dad at Middlesex mall in 1977, and literally had my life changed forever.
[00:01:08] And that's a tall order, not just for me, but for the countless fans that share paralleled stories of memories, fandom, and expectations. And I was invited for a very abbreviated four hour preview or so of the house yawn just days before its initial voyage with actual guests. But it was more important for me to experience an actual journey as a guest with my family, to see what it was really like.
[00:01:42] And judge from there and thanks to our friends at mouse van travel specifically, Becky Mankin, who is family, by the way, we were all passengers aboard the house. He ends maiden voyage on March 1st and having justice embarked. We want to share our thoughts feelings, [00:02:00] and there were many and review with you.
[00:02:02] So I want to welcome back to the show. My family, Deanna, Marianne and Nicholas Mongiello. Oh, hello.
[00:02:14] Nicolas Mongello: What's up.
[00:02:16] Lou Mongello: Wow. And of course, like I said, Becky Macon from mouse van travel, who isn't just my travel provider and partner, but she is a member of this rag tag, Mongiello, family clan. Ah, you
[00:02:29] Beci Mahnken: called me family.
[00:02:31] Lou Mongello: I'm just reading off the script. I just do what it says
[00:02:35] Beci Mahnken: I needed to I'll give you a little credit for that one, but yes, thanks for having me. I'm so thrilled to be able to talk about this because I have been bursting at the seams ever since we, we disembarked
[00:02:48] Lou Mongello: the star wars, galactic star cruiser, where you embark as friends and you disembark as family.
[00:02:55] And I just made that up on the fly, but it's kind of true. Um, and we'll talk about not just the interactions we had with each other, but with other guests cast crew and some, uh, out of this world, visitors as well. However, before we get started, I'm going to ask you to indulge me for just a minute or in my case too, because I want to address.
[00:03:21] For the first and for the last time. And I mentioned at the intro being a star wars fan that really, since that fateful day in may, 1977, and I've been a Disney fan even longer, going back to not just November of 1971, when I first came to Walt Disney world. But long before that, growing up with the movies and TV with my family and I've stayed a Disney fan and been, become more of a Disney fan since I began this.
[00:03:54] Trivia book, WDW radio journey nearly 19 years ago when I started writing my first [00:04:00] book and more importantly on day one show one of the podcast. And along the way, I've been influenced by nothing more than my heart, my head and my love of this place and my internal philosophy of choosing the good, which is something that I do with everything I encounter Disney or otherwise.
[00:04:24] And I have, if nothing else been consistent since the beginning, because it's who I am. I am a positive person. I live a positive life. I have a positive outlook and I hope to be a positive influence on others. And one of the things that I love about podcasting so much is that you can't fake that you can't fake the authenticity.
[00:04:44] You can't fake the emotion because you, my friend, Alfred, who's listening, you can hear it. And you can tell, and I've mentioned this because as the launch date for the galactic star cruiser came closer and closer, the internet was the internet and people were people critiquing, bashing, trashing, and complaining about so many things about the house.
[00:05:06] Again, without ever having stepped foot on board, which is, I think, honestly, not only a bit of disrupt dis disrespectful, disservice to the experience, but more importantly to the countless people who brought this concept to life from. The creatives at Imagineering and Lucasfilm to the construction workers who meticulously put on the final finishing touches of paint on the sign to the chefs, designers, the cast and crew who worked so tirelessly and put their heart and soul into creating, adjusting, rehearsing, and preparing them, preparing to get the house again for their first guests.
[00:05:46] And one of the biggest questions which continues to be asked me to be somewhat rhetorically. Uh, and for some, in my opinion, unwarranted complaints is, is it worth it? Right? [00:06:00] And we're going to get to that question later, but I want to, at the outset, tell you that there's only one person who can answer that question and that's you, why?
[00:06:11] Because what's worth it is incredibly subjective and wholly subjective and something that only that you can answer, right? Because you have to determine what is quote, unquote, worth it to you, right. Is really good sushi or exceptional, feminine worth it. Is it worth it to spend $300 to go to an NFL game?
[00:06:32] Because that's what it costs is it wasn't worth it to spend $6,000 to go to a super bowl ticket. It depends on you is a Lamborghini worth it. A house in golden Oak, a piece of art, an annual pass to Walt Disney world lightning lane. These are things that you have to answer yourself and. You have to determine what makes a thousand dollars bottle of wine worth more.
[00:06:57] Right? Is it worth it more than the $15 one is a $5,000 celebrity autograph work worth it. The list goes on and on the, the examples that go on and on, because while we might think that what we do as, as annual pass holders and Disney fans is worth it, I'm sure there's some people who say that a day in Walt Disney world isn't to them.
[00:07:17] Right? Cause you can talk about anything and that question, can we ask? But the answer is ultimately up to you. And for me, the answer usually involves if it makes my family happy, then yeah. It's worth it for me. In the case of the star cruiser, you are going to have to determine if this experience is worth it for you.
[00:07:35] I am not here. None of us are here to tell you one way or the other. We are simply here to share our experience and our feelings, and then you need to weigh what you hear and decide for yourself. Um, you know, I have my feelings about it. My family will share their feelings about it. Becky will, as well. I said, as I said, at the beginning, I choose to choose the good [00:08:00] I in everything that I do, not just in Disney, if you've listened to the show before, you know, that, that I am unapologetically positive because it's who I am.
[00:08:07] And I like to talk about the happy things. And I think life is too short not to. So while some people I think out there sometimes look for the negative for the sake of being negative or sometimes for the attention and clicks. That's not who I am. And as I said, at the beginning, you can go back to my very first book in 2004 and my very first podcast in 2005 and any feelings that I, and we have about this experience, we're going to discuss solely based on this voyage, which was not free, was not given to us by Disney or anybody else.
[00:08:40] Thank you, mouse fan travel for making this happen. But even when I do, like even when I do attend something that a toasted, which I always disclose, my feelings are always my own. And if somebody is not able to separate the personal feelings from an invitation that's, that's on them. That is not on me. So forgive my very long-winded soliloquy, but this was important for me to let you know.
[00:09:02] And like I said, just as my feelings and experiences are going to be different than anybody else's, including those people who are on this call, you need to take a look at the star cruiser with, and through your own eyes and perspective, we are only here to help you make an informed decision. If you're thinking about going.
[00:09:17] And if it's not something you're interested in doing, wanting to give you an idea of what the experience was like for us. That's the important thing to remember because everybody's experience for a lot of reasons is going to be very, very different. I, again, not here to try and convince you of anything or to do anything.
[00:09:35] I gained nothing either way. I have no horse in the race. Uh, we're just here to share our experiences and let the decisions be up to you. So in thinking about our galactic star cruiser experience, I've thought a lot about this. And I really don't think that there is an easy or cohesive way to really convey what this full experience as a light and certainly not [00:10:00] through a step-by-step linear discussion of it.
[00:10:04] And with that, we decided that we want to share our top 10 things you need to know about the galactic star cruiser. And again, before we get into this, I want to be clear that. This podcast, nor any video live video blogs, social posts is not going to be able to do what we did justice. Um, it could be a very lengthy conversation because there's so much to it.
[00:10:30] And there's so much to unpack, but I, I want to qualify what we're going to do by saying that, trying to describe an accurate, accurately convey what we experienced during our time on the, on the house in is relatively impossible. It's trying to describe, but some of these amorphous subjective things that are incredibly difficult, I also have to tell you that we're not going to spoil anything.
[00:10:53] We will allude to certain aspects of it without any detailed, because if you are going to go on the star cruiser and spoiler alert, I hope that you do. We don't want to spoil some of the surprises that are in store for you before we get into our list of the things that you need to know. I want to sort of go quickly around the horn, Marion, Deanna, Becky, and Nicholas.
[00:11:18] Talk to me a little bit about where you are star wars, fandom exists, right? Because we're all sort of on different levels of fandom. And what were your preconceptions about the star cruiser? What were your expectations? What did you think it was going to be like before we even stepped foot on board? Yeah.
[00:11:37] Marion Mongello: um, honestly I have not been the, the biggest star wars fan. Um, I've seen the movies. I really enjoy Galaxy's edge and the ride, but that's just not, um, by the ride. I mean the star wars ride, um, I, it's just not, you know, my favorite thing. Um, but going into it, my expectations were definitely set extremely [00:12:00] high based on my knowledge of the price point.
[00:12:04] And, um, because I'm a person that, you know, likes to know what's going on. And I like to have an idea of, you know, what it'll be like, I try not to spoil too much, but I did see some videos before going in. Um, and my expectation was just set super, super high, even though I wasn't, um, you know, a big fan of the star wars universe, I guess.
[00:12:27] Um, and also I'm, you know, a huge fan of theater, um, and, and performing, um, and, and like technical theater. So I was really excited to see how that was going to play into our experience there as
[00:12:43] Lou Mongello: well. Right. You were very much coming into this with, and I think wonderfully, so a different perspective, again, from the performance stage management theatrical aspect to it.
[00:12:55] And I'm sure we'll touch on that later on. Deanna, what about for you? What are sort of very quickly, you're a star wars fandom lie. And what were your expectations before you step foot on.
[00:13:04] Marion Mongello: I
[00:13:04] Deanna Mongello: didn't know what to expect. I didn't
[00:13:06] Marion Mongello: know what type of
[00:13:09] Deanna Mongello: experience we were going to get ourselves into. I didn't know if w w if it was going to be new star wars movies, or old star wars movies, and yes, I am a star wars fan, not a huge star wars fan, but a star wars fan.
[00:13:21] Nicolas Mongello: So going into this, my expectations were kind of going both ways at the end of the day, because I had heard, like, when I first saw the price point, I was like, they need to over-deliver on this because of how expensive it really is. And I would, when I got in, or like, when I first heard about it, I was kind of skeptical on it because I'm not the biggest fan of like the sequels.
[00:13:45] And I was worried that I was going to focus on just that. So my expectations were kind of going both ways. I was super excited in terms of what they could do with it, but also skeptical because of like how they would
[00:13:59] Beci Mahnken: [00:14:00] execute
[00:14:00] Lou Mongello: it. Yeah. And you and I talked a lot about this when it was first announced at D 23 expo.
[00:14:05] Cause I think we were very much of the same mindset from an outside perspective. Looking in, I was the same way I was optimistically cautious and hesitant because they said. Because this is for star wars fans and Disney fans where our levels of standards and expectations are so incredibly high, they absolutely need to over-deliver.
[00:14:31] And the more detail that came out, including things like price point, I said, wow, you really need to exceed expectations on a level that we might not have seen before from a fan perspective, admittedly. And I've said this on the show before my fandom, very squarely set sits we're sat in the 1977 original trilogy.
[00:14:55] It was lost a little bit for the prequels and even more so when the second, when the third trilogy came out, it was rekindled thanks to the Mandalorian and places like Galaxy's edge. But I really was wondering, not just how I, but how others would respond to this, especially because. Disney, I think had sort of that impossible choice in where do we set this?
[00:15:21] Where do we set this in terms of timetable? Because if it's original children in 1977, well, now all of a sudden the younger generation of fan might not have that same emotional attachment to it because those are quote unquote old movies. If it's based on some of the newer properties and maybe you lose.
[00:15:40] So there is that very, very difficult choice and balance. And I can imagine what those conversations across boardrooms or zoom over the years had to be, because how do you try and appeal to all star wars fans across the board? And the answer is you can't. So Becky, you and I obviously [00:16:00] talked a lot about this too, from the moment it was announced because we were at we're in the room and in dethrone expo back in 2020 19.
[00:16:09] But tell me about, again, your sense of star wars, fandom, and then your levels of expectation as a fan from a travel perspective, et cetera.
[00:16:21] Beci Mahnken: Yeah, exactly. I am a star wars fan. I'm not an Uber fan. I, I can't tell you exactly what. You know, characters are from what planets, but I love the movies and I love the stories behind them.
[00:16:35] So when this was first announced, I was excited at the thought of walking into this world, into these stories, into this wonderful galaxy that I had come to know since 1977. But what really got me when we heard about what this was, is that for me, from a travel industry perspective, this is a disruptor.
[00:16:58] This is something that no one else has really done to this scale before. Sure. You have, um, one day theme things going on, but never a place that you walk into the story like you're walking into a movie and being part of it. So my expectations, I got to say kind of bounced around a little bit, because at some points I had some low expectations thinking, how are they really going to execute this?
[00:17:25] How is it going to be pulled off the price point? You know, that's something that everybody's talking about. So for that, I'm expecting them to just knock it out of the park because there's a lot of investment and investment of time and investment of money for this, this adventure over two nights. And. It was so amazing to try to think through all of the options and all the possibilities and thinking about where they could take something like this.
[00:17:53] And I'm happy to say that we now know where it's gone and I'm just so [00:18:00] thrilled to be able to talk more about it in detail, because for the longest time they have held everything so close to their vest, that we didn't get a chance to really understand what this was going to be. And now we know
[00:18:13] Lou Mongello: that that being said, we want to share 10 things that you need to know about galaxy galaxy said about the galactic star cruiser, whether you were thinking about.
[00:18:25] Going on a voyage of your own, or you've just curious to know more about it. And I think the first question that to have to ask yourself is what is it? So number one is what is it? And I want to start by entering, by saying what it is not, and it is not without doubt. This is not a star wars hotel. It is very much a misnomer that is sometimes attached to this, because that is not what you are paying for.
[00:18:53] You are not paying for a hotel or a hotel room. I think the room overall makes up 5% of your overall experience. What you are paying for is this next level of interaction and personalization, which are buzzwords. We've heard over the years and continue to hear, but this is something that has never been done before.
[00:19:18] And, and I think we all sort of keep describing it the same way it is this marriage of interactive theater, a cruise line experience and escape room, a choose your own role, playing adventure, combined with video games, puzzle solving, and a dinner theater show. It just happens to be attached to a very cool and wealthy themed place to sleep at night.
[00:19:43] Um, and I know there's also been a lot of discussion about the look and feel, right? The look and feel of this house, the on vessel versus what you've seen. And we'll talk about, um, the choices that were made and what it looks and feels like. But something [00:20:00] else that this is not, this is not a relaxing vacation.
[00:20:03] And I mean that in the most wonderful way, it is wonderfully exhausting. And we'll explain why, because. It's also dependent on you because you decide how participatory you want to be. And I think we can all agree that the more you choose to participate, the better your experience will be. What does that mean?
[00:20:28] If you choose to come in costumes, your interaction with the cast and crew, your curiosity, leading you through different locations, the choices you make, the alliances and allegiances. So it's not a hotel, but it is this very truly. And I think, and this is where I want to sort of hear your thoughts. It is this immersive experience.
[00:20:50] And I know we talk about these things a lot, but it is unlike anything else that I have seen or experienced anywhere. So Becky Marion, Deanna Nicholas, in terms of, again from an a 30,000 foot view, cause we're going to go into the details about immersion, the interaction, the characters, et cetera, but what try and sort of encapsulate and describe what this experience overall is like, try and put them in your own words, because I think it's an, it's an interesting sort of perspective and discussion to sort of help people understand what it is and what it is not, and what your time on board is like.
[00:21:31] Beci Mahnken: Part of the challenge is to actually put this into words because it was more of a feeling than it really was something that you can describe, which is, like you said, it's part video game, it's part dinner, mystery theater, it's part puzzle room, it's part resort stay. But the thing that I could, as I walked away from it, I didn't even expect the amount of time and the amount of effort and the amount of, [00:22:00] um, immersion, I guess I don't really like that work.
[00:22:03] So I think it's overused, but just how exhausted I was at the end of the day, but how excited I was to get up as early as I could in the next morning to attack the missions and things that we had
[00:22:18] Lou Mongello: coming at us. So Nicholas, give me your sort of quick expression of what the star cruiser experience is like overall without getting into the specifics.
[00:22:31] Cause I think trying to describe it, especially from your perspective, both as your age and where you are in terms of your star wars fan. Describe what the star cruiser experience is like. It's really
[00:22:42] Nicolas Mongello: tough because as you mentioned, the starkers, our experience is so many different elements, like combined together into this one, like of star wars, amalgamation of amazingness, and like the best way I can describe it would probably just be like your star wars story, because every single element just combines together could create a story.
[00:23:05] That's distinctly yours with your characters and like events that happen. And so much more that like, it's really hard to describe, but I think that's the best
[00:23:16] Lou Mongello: way to put it the Anna Marion, any, any,
[00:23:19] Deanna Mongello: I agree with Becky and Nicholas completely, but just quick words to tell you exactly some of the experiences, it was fun, immersive, exciting, exhausting, and very suspenseful.
[00:23:31] And everyday you couldn't wait to see where you were going to go. What you were going to do, what you were going to experience, who you were going to see what mission you were on.
[00:23:42] Marion Mongello: So it was, it was a lot of. So I have to say that I am her person. I want to look at all the little details and just every detail about the experience made you feel just totally immersed, like Nick said in your star wars story.
[00:23:57] And it's really interesting. There's really [00:24:00] nothing else like it, how everyone is going to have a completely unique experience from the food that you eat to the performers you interact with. Um, every part of it is totally unique to what you choose to do. Um, which I think is just a super cool. Um, and, and really there's nothing it's never been seen before.
[00:24:20] Like, like it has been here.
[00:24:25] Lou Mongello: Yeah. And the, one of the thing I wanted to add is, is something I wanted to punctuate with, which Becky you alluded to. The thing that surprised me most was how emotional this experience was. I, if you watch the live video, you heard me talk about it. I am not too proud to admit.
[00:24:43] I cried on more than one occasion, both boarding the ship, watching my kids' reactions. Even I saw one of the Imagineers anamar Johnson was, was onboard. And I went over to thank her. And I broke down, like not even like choked up, like I literally just broke down from a parent perspective from, you know, nine year old Luma Angella we thought about doing something like this with his dad and played with star wars toys on my carpet for more hours than I can remember.
[00:25:12] This is what I had dreamed of. Like, this is literally what I dreamed of doing I'm crying. She starts crying. And I think that is the most wonderful testimony we can give to that experience is the tears of joy. The laughter we all shared again, I don't remember having this much fun with you guys in a long, long time, and it has nothing to do with star wars.
[00:25:34] It has to do with the storytelling that takes place on board. For me, number two, I get, I alluded to the fact that it's called the star wars hotel. This is not a hotel there just happens to be a star wars hotel themed. There, your experience is 95% in the areas that are outside of your cabin. That being said, I think it's important just to talk about [00:26:00] a little bit, the types of cabins and what the cabin experience is like.
[00:26:04] There's basically three different classes of cabins and Becky, you being the resident travel agent. I'll let you describe what those three, that the standard cabin and the two different sweets are,
[00:26:17] Beci Mahnken: right? The standard cabin sleeps four or five passengers, uh, depending on if it's got one of the, um, the full down, uh, beds that is coming out of the wall, which is really amazing.
[00:26:32] I do have to mention though, the standard cabins are the ones that have the two bunk beds that you see in a lot of the pictures. And a lot of people look at those and think, oh, those are great for kids. Well, yeah, they're great for kids, but you can actually put an adult in there pretty comfortably. As a matter of fact, Lou, I watched you walk in that room, scurry up that ladder as fast as you possibly could and said, the bunk bed is mine.
[00:26:54] Now. I don't know what happened after that, but you looked pretty comfortable in the darn thing. So I
[00:26:59] Lou Mongello: think the relative term when talking about me, but that's okay. Well for these purposes,
[00:27:05] Beci Mahnken: This is true, but you were you scurried. I watched you do it. So, but it just kind of goes to the fact that you could probably put four adults pretty comfortably in there.
[00:27:13] If you had a bunch of friends that were sharing, um, the next category up is the galaxy class suite. It sleeps four passengers. It's like a one bedroom suite, which has the same bedding, but then you also have a little living area that's attached. And then the one that we were lucky enough to stay in was the grand captain suite.
[00:27:36] And this can sleep up to eight passengers. Um, it was really comfortable and it had a lot of space. One bedroom has, uh, just, uh, a queen bed. The other bedroom is like a standard cabin with the two bunk beds, the queen bed, and then the, um, the trundle that comes out of the wall. And then there's also, uh, another trundle that is in the main living area.
[00:27:59] It also [00:28:00] has a small kitchenette with a refrigerator, a sink, that type of thing in that main common room. When you first walk in, uh, it also has two bathrooms. The master bath has a double sink and a shower that could probably fit 16 people. And if you really wanted to, nothing was a huge and has double shower heads and it's, you know, very comfortable to move around in, uh, the other bathroom.
[00:28:23] It has a single sink and then a shower. So you could easily put eight people in there. From my perspective, unless you do have a big family, you don't spend a lot of time in these cabins. So I probably wouldn't suggest to spend the extra money to get into these larger cabins. If you didn't, um, didn't need this space or didn't need a whole bunch of people to be together.
[00:28:51] That's just my personal opinion, but you do have three options for space and cabins on board, and they are so beautifully designed for the story with the very clean line, still an industrial look and feel that you would have on a, on a space cruiser. I felt very, um, much into the story from everything that was around us and the details were amazing with the, um, uh, the logo from the cruise line was pretty much in Boston.
[00:29:22] Everything from the pillowcases to the, um, to the blankets that were on the bed to the, the soap dispensers, all of it had that, that theming that you would like if you walk into any hotel and you see the different things, that brands that are themed, we had that experience like you were walking on a cruise
[00:29:44] Lou Mongello: line.
[00:29:45] So I agree with you in terms of, because of the amount of time that you spend in your room, as cool as the rooms are. You aren't spending a lot of time in there. And even if you're not overly participatory, I don't imagine a lot of people just sort of hung out in the room. Although there [00:30:00] was plenty of space in both the standard room, as well as the expanded space as well.
[00:30:05] One thing I do want to mention is you have the, the view screens, the sort of windows out into space, which you could dim at night. My kids were disappointed that you couldn't keep them on at night. They wanted sort of that view into space, but they are illuminated on the outside frame, which is unfortunate.
[00:30:22] But one of the things that really is, I think an interesting aspect of the room is your artificial intelligent droid. There's a button up on the small view screen in your cabin that allows you to communicate with this droid that was built by the founder of this general A-star line, who chats with you about your day, your itinerary, more importantly, she's there to answer questions.
[00:30:51] So if you have questions about your journey. Or what's coming up on not just the overall schedule, but more importantly, your individualized schedule. She knows what is the communications and the schedule that are on your data pads, more portly. She can answer questions that you have about what is coming up.
[00:31:12] And she will also ask you, she knows where your allegiances are to the resistance or the first order. If she has trust in you. If she sees that you're a member of the resistance, she might help you unlock some of the restricted areas of the ship that you might not gain access to otherwise. So while it's part Alexa, it very much is a to what is going on.
[00:31:36] As far as your personalized experience. I almost wish we had more time in the room to spend with her, but in the morning and in the evening, I suggest clicking on the button and chatting with her because you'll be very surprised about some of not just the dialogue that you'll get, but the answers you get to your questions as well.
[00:31:58] Marion. And then Nicholas, [00:32:00] especially, I know that when we walked through in one of the things that got me choked up was your reactions to that room. I haven't seen you react that way since you guys were little kids. Give me your thoughts just very quickly about the overall state.
[00:32:13] Marion Mongello: So I was super, you know, I did not know what to expect going into the state room because, you know, walking into the atrium and all the other spaces, like, you know, my jaw dropped at how it truly is just such an immersive experience.
[00:32:25] And going into the state room felt like, you know, the same thing. Um, seeing that window out to space was like one of the coolest moments ever. It's like an elevated version of a mix of a TV and a window on a cruise ship. Um, and I feel like that can kind of replace your veranda style room because you're getting a view of literally the stars in space.
[00:32:47] Um, and I have to say, you know, going into it, I wasn't sure the direction that they would be going with the state rooms, um, since star wars is, you know, a lot of people know at first sort of that, like, I don't know exactly the right way to articulate it, but, you know, it's kind of like this almost like dirty, like things are kind of thrown around depending on where you are, the only place that you see that super like crisp and clean is the places, you know, in the first order, I don't know exactly how to describe it.
[00:33:14] The first or the death star, the star destroyer are like crisp and clean and even risers distance. Everything is like, the floors are waxed. And I was like, I feel like that's not the direction they're going. Um, but you go in and it's like a luxury. The best way I could describe it is like, if an astronaut could design a luxury cruise line, state room, like it was super, it still felt like a space room, like a space vibe.
[00:33:41] Super elevated and super clean. Everything had the little touches like embroidery on the towels. Um, and like they put little stickers on your toilet paper. Like it was super elevated. It felt like you were on a luxury cruise line, but it was also space.
[00:33:57] Lou Mongello: And I want to quickly put a pin in that because [00:34:00] if you want to sort of, and we'll talk about that, the comparative aspect later on, if you want to compare this to a resort hotel, this is very, very much an upscale.
[00:34:10] Like this would be like a deluxe plus resort in Walt Disney world, Nick. Okay.
[00:34:17] Nicolas Mongello: So the rooms for me, like, I know you barely spent any time there, but it's one of my favorite parts because of how it's like a S a such a nice room with like very high end, like decoration. And high-end like everything, but still is distinctly a star wars because of all the different elements from like your little droid buddy, that's on your wall that like, you can come back, I'd talk to you.
[00:34:42] And they know your schedule. I remember when it told us that like, oh yeah, you're going to Olga's Cantina tomorrow. And I was like, holy crud, like, how did it know?
[00:34:56] Beci Mahnken: And.
[00:34:58] Nicolas Mongello: Like everything about the room. Like even the soap dispensers in the shower are different from normal. So Spencer's, they're like, but you hit like a button and like the soap comes at the bottom and it's just the little tiny things like that that make it feel nice and high end and like a deluxe resort, as you said, but also make it feel distinctly
[00:35:18] Beci Mahnken: star wars.
[00:35:20] Lou Mongello: Yeah. And I think that the, the integration of the theming, the elegance, the comfort of, and the immersion because of the droid is really what makes the cabin so attractive. But again, because of the amount of time that you spend in there, unless you are going with a large group of friends or a large family, I think a standard cabin is way more than enough, but that actually will lead us to number three on my list, which is immersion.
[00:35:46] And I think immersion takes on new meaning. And what I want to sort of talk about here is the theming and the environment and inclusive in, in that is the merchandise, because there are so many [00:36:00] incredibly well themed locations throughout the entire ship that you can either choose to explore on your own.
[00:36:07] You can follow the action as it's happening in different locations. You can perform your individual or group missions, or just go to some of the things on the schedule that are interesting and attractive to you. You can just wander the ship and find activities almost as they are taking place, which is even more so different than what you might find on a cruise line.
[00:36:30] And there's a number of incredibly wealthy. We mentioned that grand atrium, when you first walk in, you instantly are dropped into this environment that makes you realize you sort of pass through this portal and you are no longer in 900 degrees. Orlando. You feel as though you're in space. The fact that there are no windows makes no difference because you don't even realize it.
[00:36:56] It's a, it's a bright, open cavernous room, even places like the sub lounge, the engineering room, the cargo hold, the Jedi training room are so well themed in terms of placing you in different parts of the story. And I know one of my favorite spaces was like, Marion's they have a climate simulator, which just happens to be themed like part two.
[00:37:19] If you do feel the need to go outside, it actually is an outside space that has a lot of, uh, real plant life sort of growing on the walls and this wonderful section in the middle with a stacking stone. So to let Mary and. 'cause. I know she spent a lot of time there and that was one of her favorite places, but I want you to sort of go around and just quickly touch on the theming of the locations and some of your favorite spaces on board.
[00:37:48] Uh, Deanna. So the
[00:37:49] Deanna Mongello: attention for detail was absolutely amazing. And every room that you went into, the feeling that you get, when you walk into that atrium, it's like overwhelming. It's like that. Oh my [00:38:00] goodness. And then when you start going to all these different rooms for these missions, like, and going to the portals and following, um, your group on a different journey, like the, the way that the experience is created is unbelievable how everyone has their own separate, you know, experience going to all these different rooms.
[00:38:23] I thought it was just that the. It was perfect.
[00:38:26] Lou Mongello: Did you have a space on board that was one of your favorites, whether it was going somewhere on a mission? Was it the, uh, dining room, the sunlight lounge, the atrium.
[00:38:36] Deanna Mongello: I love the sub flight lounge because of all the coloring. And I also love the engineering room because of all the detail and all the different things that you, you were able to do in there and experience.
[00:38:46] So those were two of my favorite places on sh
[00:38:48] Beci Mahnken: on onboard.
[00:38:50] Lou Mongello: Nicholas, what about for you?
[00:38:52] Nicolas Mongello: So one of my favorite spaces on the star cruiser would probably be the sublet lounge because it, how it fits into like the star wars vibe, and also like the very luxury aesthetic of the entire ship. The drinks are all super good.
[00:39:07] The appetizers are super duper delicious and like the perfect snack to have, like before dinner and the sub-arc table is so fun because you and a group of your family or friends, or even like just random people that you meet on the ship can all go down and have a game of space poker. So I think that's why it's my favorite
[00:39:25] Lou Mongello: part.
[00:39:26] Nothing like raising a little gambler in, in my family. Becky, I'm going to go out on a lens and say, you too, probably love the sublet lounge, not because of Suboxone, but because of the bar and cordial and cocktail.
[00:39:39] Beci Mahnken: Well clearly, I mean, that's not really a stretch for me now, is it? The satellite lounge was pretty amazing.
[00:39:45] And I do like how they themed it. It felt like it was another world lounge with, uh, the, the decor and the lighting. But the, I love the atrium. I really love the atrium with all of [00:40:00] the different spaces that you can sit. It's big enough to have pretty much everybody in there for some of the activities that we did.
[00:40:07] Uh, but attached to that, I think is my very favorite space. Um, which is the bridge. I think the bridge was probably the thing that impressed me the most from how it's set up. It still looks like it's functional, uh, from a story perspective, but you are also, um, able to train in there on various things. And so it's, it was set up in such a way that you really could dive into the story and it's, it was just, it was easy to buy into the story.
[00:40:40] It was easy to believe that I was on board.
[00:40:43] Lou Mongello: Well into your corner about things like the bridge, the bridge was not only impressive just to step foot on, like you very easily buy into those screens, which are your sort of view ports, which run the entire length of the bridge. You almost forget just like when you're in your room, that you're looking out into something that is, is manufactured.
[00:41:06] It's almost not real, but having those four different sections with individualized stations, where when you go through training, you have these sort of different tasks you're supposed to perform, and then you rotate through. So you get a chance to put your hands on shields and, you know, moving cargo around firing lasers, which are all going to become an important part of your story and the overall ship story later on in places like the engineering room, which again, amazing theming, but there is, there are things to do there.
[00:41:42] It's, it's why we sort of describe it as part escape room, because there are puzzles that you can solve on your own because as part of this overall mission, as well as individualized missions, and we'll get to that a little bit later that you are given throughout your journey to. [00:42:00] Move forward the story either for the first order or for the resistance, or sometimes for individual characters that might recruit you along the way.
[00:42:09] So yeah, one
[00:42:10] Marion Mongello: of my favorite spaces, um, on the stock routes, or as you said earlier, was the climate simulation room. Although I feel like it's kind of tucked away, um, in the back of the ship. It's definitely, I feel like a hidden gem because there were a few times I just went in there to sort of, you know, take a step back again.
[00:42:30] Everything's super high case. Um, and there's always something to do, but, you know, I just wanted to check it out and see what was happening. Um, and I was intrigued because I'd been hearing people talk about like this rock stacking room, um, cause basically in the center, there's this, um, I don't know any way to describe it.
[00:42:48] More like a rock garden. There are these really large, almost boulders. And then these, uh, small, smooth rocks kind of like river rocks all in there that, um, people just sort of stack up. Um, and they, they say, you know, there were the, oh my gosh, I'm going to butcher the name again. people in there who, which are, which are performers, uh, characters on the, on the ship.
[00:43:13] Um, that, you know, talk to you about the force and, uh, you know, finding your inner power, being a jet guy. And there were some events that were not in the itinerary happening in the client, in the climate simulation room that were some of my favorite moments on my entire trip, um, that I wouldn't have even known about, um, unless I, I was in the right place at the right time.
[00:43:34] And I'm sure that there are many rooms and many experiences that I wasn't able to take part in just because, um, you know, everything is so unpredictable and unique. And I think that's the beauty in it is that you, it really makes your experience so special because everybody's going to have a little bit, um, you know, something different that they've done that, you know, you can tell another passenger will be like, oh my gosh, that's so cool.
[00:43:57] That's so cool. I didn't even know that was happening. I was in the other [00:44:00] room with this person doing this, and then, you know, it's really cool.
[00:44:05] Lou Mongello: And the climate similar is interesting because it was tucked away. There weren't necessarily missions that you could go there. It was a place if you wanted some time, either outside and or often alone.
[00:44:15] Cause it wasn't usually people there we'll talk a little bit more about the later on, but I love the fact that they had those stacking stones or the called Cairns, which sort of metaphorically you, you place them along a trail to show that you're on the right track. And the fact that the Sada are in there.
[00:44:33] Helping you along your, your Jedi path, showing that you were on the right path, it sort of fits so well into the story and is just a very beautiful, quiet. And like you said, Marian out of the way space. One thing I want to talk about in terms of the immersion and the theming and the environment, and, and I think this is sort of a good place to put it here is your ability to take some of what you experience home.
[00:44:56] And I know for a lot of people, merchandise merchandising, um, galactic star cruiser, the flame thrower, the kids love it. The, there is a, a Shinola star collection, uh, store inside there that shows that that has clothes, costumes, and jewelry. Again, depending on how immersed you want to be in the story, you don't need to bring your own star wars costume.
[00:45:22] You can buy one. There, there are, there are, there are sort of elegant robes for women. There are tunics for men and kids. There's lightsabers, both play and quote unquote real Sabres, as well as a shield, similar to the one that you use in the Jedi training room. A couple of things I want to point out about the merchandise and I've, I've posted videos and, um, some, uh, photos on my, uh, social and I'll post them again in the show firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:45:52] A couple of things that I want to point out that you really might want to think about, or like. One is sort of a [00:46:00] throwaway thing. They have a, uh, a Shen drilla star collection themed gift card that you can buy for a $15 minimum, which I think is a really cool, simple takeaway, much like buying a merchandise in Walt Disney world.
[00:46:15] There are obviously limits on the amount that you can bring home that are AP and DVC discounts outside. When you disembark on the final day, there is another merchandise storm that has very different merchandise that has actually the words of star wars on it because star wars does not exist inside the house.
[00:46:35] Again, remember star wars is sort of a, an earth construct. It, it is an earth fictional movie. Um, and then we'll talk a little bit later on about something that's a little bit secret, um, in terms of merchandise as well. But for any of you just sort of jump in, was there any merchandise? Well, I know the answer to this because I got the credit card receipt, but was there any merchandise that you loved, you were impressed by you necessarily needed to take home?
[00:47:02] Nicolas, I know like your eyes were bugging out of your heads and you, and you are sort of a lightsaber connoisseur slash collector and needed to bring home that lightsaber, which is exclusive to the house again. So, so
[00:47:16] Nicolas Mongello: at first, when I saw the light saber, I was like, oh, that's pretty cool. I like, I don't know if I'll get it, but then, but then once you get to like lightsaber training and you get to wield it and you just illuminate.
[00:47:27] Yeah, I'm getting one, I'm bringing it home. And just like the lightsabers design is so simple, but it's so like, it's so well done. And it's so, and even the one in the shop is really, really, well-made like, it'd be great. It's like put up on their wall or even just like use like as a toy. You didn't want it to, like, it's just such a great thing to bring home.
[00:47:49] Like if you really loved lightsaber training that much, it's a great thing to bring home with you. And it just looks really, really cool.
[00:47:56] Beci Mahnken: I may have had to bring home a lightsaber, not [00:48:00] necessarily that I needed any of this stuff, but it was really cool between the pins, the lightsaber, the shield, the, uh, some things that were interesting, like the coffee mugs, everything that was branded with that cruise line, um, logo.
[00:48:17] It was lots of choices, pins, notebooks, again, pins again, because I just can't keep my hands off pins. Uh, but for me, I would've loved to have bought one of the costumes there too, because they have some robes. They've got the tunics, um, a lot of different choices for you to bring a little bit of space back home with you.
[00:48:39] Marion Mongello: I just wanted to talk quickly again about that, that, you know, the, the whole aspect of on the ship, everything is only branded with the Starline logo in and off the ship. Everything is with star wars. Just adds again to the whole factor of immersion and how it feels like you really are not on your home planet when you're on the ship.
[00:49:03] And, and I, you know, that's one of the little details that sort of ties everything together. So,
[00:49:07] Lou Mongello: so moving on to number four on my list, it's going to tie back to a word that, that Becky sort of used while she was describing the merchandise and it was about choices. And for me, number four is what you do impacts very much what and how much you do.
[00:49:25] And I was incredibly impressed at just how we talked about this, being a, choose your own adventure. This is not sort of a scripted story that you happen to follow along the way, the choices you make, the alliances and allegiances you make will absolutely dictate how your adventure goes on. The only way you can keep on referring to this as if you imagine a flow chart with layers upon layers of questions and possible answers and.
[00:49:56] The exponential possibilities of where your [00:50:00] path can take. You are mind blog boggling, and it happens not just in the missions that you are given as a group, sort of the collection, the, the collective on board, but the individualized missions that you will get. So there are ones that will be scheduled and you'll see, that will come across on your data pad.
[00:50:20] We'll, we'll touch on that in a minute, but there are also these decision based missions and popups and diversionary tactics that happen throughout the ship. So what you do might impact whether you return to the bridge later on to take part in a battle to take on a job and Imagineering to lock up stormtroopers and the brig to help ju chewy perform a Jedi task or even meet in secret.
[00:50:47] There are so many unexpected. And fun scenarios. And there are so many variables. And I think that's the thing about this that is different because how much you do is really up to you, right? Like we were very fully participatory. We actively participated in the interactive story as much as we could. We interacted with who and what, because there are, you know, not just your data pad, but screens throughout the ship, as much as we could, where I think there were other people that sort of participate a little bit, watch on other times taking some breaks.
[00:51:26] And I think you can, I don't think you will enjoy it as much. If maybe you are less extroverted, less participatory, you can sort of watch and follow as if you're sort of watching a murder mystery sort of unfold around you, not actively participate, but the fact that you can create your own story and that no two stories and experiences will be the same was incredibly exciting.
[00:51:50] And I think that's how and why it kept the energy up so much. And to that point, feeding off the energy of other guests [00:52:00] as well. You are a very highly encouraged to. Interact with the cast, the crew, as well as other guests. There are times like, for example, at dinner, where if you want to sort of solve a puzzle, you need to go to other tables and find out who has that other piece of the matched puzzle to you.
[00:52:20] But I love the fact that you can choose to do certain missions. You can seek out additional experiences on your own and sometimes accidentally wander and, and come upon scenarios that are unfolding that are not part of anything that is previously scripted. Honor data pad three or droid or anything else like that, Becky.
[00:52:46] Beci Mahnken: Yeah, I think that this is the real value that you're getting from this experience. I had so much fun trying to figure all of this out and I really got into it. Um, I, it was amazing how everything changed depending on who you talk to, the answers that you, you answered in the comms, all of those interactive pieces.
[00:53:13] I didn't expect to jump in. I'm kind of an introvert when it comes to this type of, um, theater thing on display. I'm, I'm a tech, I'm the person that's usually in the back against the wall, watching it all happen, but I couldn't help myself. There was one point where I caught the eye of one of the characters and he came over and talked to me and we had an exchange.
[00:53:34] And then later on, he called my name and got me involved in something else. And I really think that you're going to have the most, um, the, uh, rich immersive experience. If you just kind of jump all in, talk to everybody, get involved with the missions, follow along. If something doesn't look right, go over there and check it out.
[00:53:58] You really [00:54:00] have to, uh, I guess I should back up and say, you don't have to at all, you can just watch it all unfold, like you said, but the value of the experience that we're also excited about, literally not just excited. We were giddy. We were laughing. We were giggling, we were running up and down stairs.
[00:54:18] We were going after these different characters and trying to follow along what was, what was going on
[00:54:23] Lou Mongello: and then micro adventure.
[00:54:28] Beci Mahnken: Exactly. That was what I was just going to say. It's all of a sudden we were, we thought we were doing this together and then it became a, oh, I've got to go over here in 10 minutes.
[00:54:37] And somebody else is like, well, I'm not going there. I'm supposed to be in the engineering room. And, and it, it, at first it kind of felt a little weird that we're going to split up. And then it was like, oh dude, I have to go do this thing. So
[00:54:51] Lou Mongello: with your missions, like, oh, I didn't get this one. I got this.
[00:54:56] Beci Mahnken: Exactly. And I think that that's what was part of the whole fun of it is that then you became a little FOMO. It was like, wait a minute. You got, what? How did you get that one? And where are you going? And then you wanted to, to follow your own path, but yet you want to see other people's paths. I just, I think that whole piece is the real juicy center of this experience is how much you're willing to get involved.
[00:55:21] Because this is when you walk into the movie, when you walk into the story and it's up to you, how much you want to be part,
[00:55:28] Lou Mongello: and you look, we can be locked out of certain areas. Like if you don't match certain places, there is a crew member with a data pattern says, no, you don't have access to this restricted area.
[00:55:40] Whether it's the brown or the.
[00:55:43] Deanna Mongello: Right or, but you go to the portal and you tap your band and it tells you like what rooms you have access to. Like you're trying to get somewhere where like, maybe your family is, and you're like, Nope, I can't go. Cause I have no access to that room. So that was really cool too.[00:56:00]
[00:56:00] Lou Mongello: Right. And there there's, these, there are micro puzzles for lack of a better word, both on the data pad, as well as on these interactive screens throughout the ship. So you are, you're given a mission on your data pad. You have to go to the screen, you've got to solve this puzzle that will lead you to the next clue.
[00:56:16] And sometimes you have to work in tandem with other people, not necessarily in your family, but in the, well,
[00:56:22] Deanna Mongello: the trying to get, trying to get the code to get in the brig when you're screaming in numbers back and forth to people. And it was not, sometimes it wasn't Marion or Nicholas. It was like someone else, you know, that was like, okay, I want to get into, and we were like screaming the numbers so that they could, you could open the door.
[00:56:36] It was really.
[00:56:38] Beci Mahnken: Yeah. And one thing that I've really enjoyed too, was that the characters, not just that, the servers, everybody that's on board pulls you into it. If you, if you're kind of, I'm not sure what I'm doing here, there's going to be a character that comes over and talks to you and gets you involved in the story and asks you about you so that you feel a little bit more comfortable.
[00:56:57] Again, introvert didn't really feel, feel comfortable at first, but the moment that I decided, well, all right, everybody's going to do their thing. Everyone is split everywhere. I think Nicholas, you were probably with me. I'm not sure if Lou, if you were or not, but we, we started to go down the stairs and I heard one of the characters call my name from an elevator.
[00:57:17] And that was immediately, well, I can't stand him up. I'm going to go have to help him, which got us all in the elevator. So it, it it's masterful and brilliant the way that they've pulled
[00:57:28] Lou Mongello: this together. And whether it's them calling your own. Or calling the name of somebody in your group, the level of excitement rises.
[00:57:37] Look, I'm done. I will not lie. Like when having Sammy the mechanic call her name out and come to you and say, Lou, I need your help. You need to go over here and do this. Like you can't help, but be again, that nine year old, like we were beginning, we were getting laughing and having so much fun and taking it wonderfully seriously.
[00:57:57] Like I have a mission to do, and I need to focus [00:58:00] on it because what do also impacts the other guests as well. So Nicky's right. Yeah. Talk, talk a little bit about that aspect, that interactive, um, decision-making and missions, et cetera.
[00:58:16] Nicolas Mongello: Okay. So in terms of how you have your adventure, the first place that it starts is right.
[00:58:23] When you get out of your car at the terminal, you get to the terminal and they hand you an iPhone 12 or your data pad, so that you can completely stay immersed in the story without having to worry about notifications or anything from your phone, then you get onto the, you get on the ship and you like, look around the atrium and you explore for a little bit, and then you'll start seeing characters walking around and then you can go like, and interact with them and like talk to them.
[00:58:50] And then. You'll get like a calm on your data pie, telling you like, oh, Hey, go to a console, access this, and then meet me in the engineering room and all of these little like messages that you've got. And like, depending on who you interact with will like, it'll bring you to all these different places and let you do all these different things.
[00:59:11] And you choose like, through your data pad, who you interact with and what you do and how you do it.
[00:59:21] Lou Mongello: Yeah. Getting that data pad when you first check in was an unexpected surprise. So you're given a bag. Everyone gets an M band magic band, which is themed with the central Starline logo and a loner iPhone 12, which to your point, Nick.
[00:59:36] You know, some people was like, well, I don't know if I like carrying two devices. I love carrying two devices. Why? Because if you are checking the data pad in the play Disney parks app on your own phone, it is too easy to get a text, a Facebook notification and email and take you out of the story. I did not check my phone hardly at all during this voyage and experience [01:00:00] because I was so focused on what I needed to do.
[01:00:02] I allowed myself to be immersed in that story. The fact that everybody gets their own device allows you to have that individualized compartmentalize experience. Although, especially if you have maybe older parents, young kids, you can share devices. So you can sort of gather around a single screen screen.
[01:00:21] But I love the fact that the app not only knows your reservations, your choices, the missions, the interactions that you're having with the, the cast and crew. And we'll, we'll get to when we talk about Galaxy's edge, but how, what you're doing on that data pad and on the ship impacts what you do on Batou and vice versa.
[01:00:48] We, we will very much get to that Marion, anything you want to add just in terms of the decision-making and the personalization, and then the, the impact of what you do on.
[01:00:58] Marion Mongello: Yeah. So again, a lot of it is sort of right place, right time. If you're BI, like Becky said, if you're a buyer, if she hadn't stayed by the elevator too, to have somebody call her her name, she could have gone in a totally different direction and her night would have been completely changed.
[01:01:13] And perhaps our whole stay would have been different. Um, just because of who you talk to and when you're where you are, when you're there. Um, for instance, atrium always had someone in it, something going on. A lot of the times, one of the, one of the characters, Sandra was always there and we were able to talk to him, um, and there's, you know, definitely different paths that you can go down and that will totally alter the, the, the time of experience and ultimately what you ended up taking away, um, from, from it.
[01:01:44] Um, and even those little interactions that aren't on the, um, data pads on your events, um, like in the climate room or in, in the cargo hold, um, could be, you know, little things that, that really can alter [01:02:00] and change your change, your time there. And again, the data pads and the comms are so important too, to be checking all the times and responding to all the time.
[01:02:10] If you have an event, um, lit up on, on your data pad in yellow, that that means that you probably shouldn't miss it. Um, you can, but it's always recommended that you go to the ones that are highlighted yellow on your. Basically your navigator, um, itinerary, um, but yeah, right place, right time. And who you, you know, you're able to choose exactly what you want.
[01:02:33] So whoever, if you go in saying, I'm going to end up with the first word, you probably will end up with the first order, unless somebody comes along your way and you're like, oh, I wanna hang out with them. They're cooler. Um, yeah. Which is the
[01:02:45] Lou Mongello: best part of it. Well, and I think that's a great segue into it's what I have next on my list, but it's almost the one that I wish I mentioned first or save to last because space is filled with some very interesting characters that you should say hi to, but none of this happens without the cast and the crew on board, the house again.
[01:03:08] And what I mean by that is one from a crew member, the crew of the house, Sian everyone. Who's there, whether they are a quote unquote, a character or not has their own story, but just quickly sort of separate ourselves from the story aspect. This ship, the hotel, the, the, the interactive experience has that Disney level of service and attention.
[01:03:35] And the, you know, the cast is different than the crew. There are people who are there who are guest relations and dining and everything else, but every single interaction that I had was above and beyond that level of service, even for Disney, like it was overly exceptional. And I was very attentive to watching interactions between the cast and crew, not just with us and, [01:04:00] and the people who are in our party, but with other people as well.
[01:04:04] I loved seeing the way things were handled from a story perspective and from a service perspective and the wow moments that I found were being created, not just for us, but for other guests as well. Everybody, I saw had a smile on their face. Everybody I saw was so into it, and it is 1000% attributable to the people who have made this dream a reality as an extension of that, the characters that are for the most part brand new, right?
[01:04:39] These are not characters that, you know, from a star wars universe, although. Spoiler alert. You will see some characters that have stepped out from some of your favorite movies, but captain Keven and Lena mock. And when I first saw the concept art for Sammy, the mechanic, I'm like, he's a throwaway character, no big deal.
[01:05:00] I fell in love with Sammy. Like every Sammy literally steals the show in every way possible Lieutenant Croix from the first order, like sold it. Like you believed he stepped right out of a movie. There's an art to droid Gaya. Toolik singer was remarkably good. We'll talk about the first night dinner and show from Gaia.
[01:05:26] I, again, my expectation levels for what this show is going to be like her character, her singing voice was spectacular. Marian mentioned Sandro and Wraith Cole and and the virtual assistant there's stormtroopers. That almost seemed to be everywhere. And Marion, you mentioned earlier that the Sajah who was sort of the guardians of the knowledge and the teachings of the forest, she may remember them from rogue one, where they were sort of descendants of the guardians of the wills, and they were sort of the protect [01:06:00] protectors of the last Jedi temple.
[01:06:03] The, the survivors sort of found safe Haven here. And while they aren't Jedi, they can sense the force and others. They can teach others how to find their connections to the force, which is what we saw happening. A lot of times on these sort of free roaming characters. And I think while you don't need to be a star wars fan, the more, you know, the more you can interact, the more you can have deeper conversations with some of these characters, but you can go in as much of as did knowing nothing.
[01:06:37] And they pull you into the story. And the more you allow yourself to just go with it, follow along as you know, they are walking around or introduce yourself, you will be amazed and it will absolutely enhance your experience to an exponential level. So talk a little bit about, uh, each of you, your character interactions or some of your favorite characters or character moments.
[01:07:04] Uh, Marianne, Deanna, Becky Nicole.
[01:07:07] Marion Mongello: Yeah. So again, the Sajah were definitely some that I feel like could be underrated or overlooked because you don't see them around quite as much, but they were super cool characters to interact with. And they sort of had some, um, little, I guess, micro missions or side journeys, um, that were happening.
[01:07:27] Um, another performer, I just absolutely loved was Daya. She was, you know, from a theatrical standpoint, just everything about her character, um, made total sense in the universe and she was an outstanding, um, singer. And I just really enjoyed how, like, I don't really want to spoil anything I guess, but you walk in and they're like, guys, Gaya is the best singer in the galaxy.
[01:07:55] And you're like, oh my God, she is not like literally walking in knowing [01:08:00] nothing. Like they kind of are like guys, like they, they hype her up so much. You're like, wow, maybe she is the best performer in the galaxy. You kind of leave. Like, and you're so immersed in it. Um, and you talked to her for, I remember talking to my friends about that whole like, yeah, Gaia sang and they're like, who?
[01:08:16] Um, but it was it. Yeah, definitely the them, but you know, I have to say all the performers were just so incredibly talented and really immersed everyone in, in what was happening.
[01:08:30] Lou Mongello: And just, I want to just make a quick point, because you mentioned Gaya and I love the foresight of Imagineering because again, this product, this, this housing has been in development since Galaxy's edge has been.
[01:08:43] It's sort of been going on in parallel. One of Gaia's songs, the oldest shuka has actually been on the soundtrack in Ogas Cantina since opening day of Galaxy's edge. So they planted the seed for this character before the house ever launched.
[01:08:59] Deanna Mongello: Wow. I didn't know that that's kind of cool.
[01:09:02] Lou Mongello: I'm full of useless knowledge.
[01:09:04] Beci Mahnken: You
[01:09:04] Deanna Mongello: are just
[01:09:07] Lou Mongello: things I'm sure.
[01:09:08] Deanna Mongello: Yeah. The other thing too though, is like, I loved how all of the staff walked around with their hands behind their back. And they had that, like, it was like seamless, like they all had the same walk and they, their presentation, like with all of the, um, the food and the drinks and stuff was, was so cool.
[01:09:30] And they would always say something, what did they say to you when they passed you? They said,
[01:09:34] Lou Mongello: yeah, there's, you know, there there's, uh, another language at that. So I think taboo was one of the things that they would say a lot, which means cherish the moment.
[01:09:44] Deanna Mongello: Right. Right. So I thought that was really cool too.
[01:09:47] And, um, The
[01:09:49] Beci Mahnken: good. What was it? The
[01:09:50] Deanna Mongello: journey. Good, good journey. Right. Good journey. Right. And it made you feel like when they said that to you, it made you feel so good, didn't it like when they walked by or like good journey, um, [01:10:00] it made you like so happy. I know the little things make me happy, but, um, I have to, I have to agree with Mary and when she was talking about like Gaia, like her presence, when she would walk around and talk to everybody was so incredible and her talent, like who would have thought that like, you'd come there and have this experience with this amazing talent at this like dinner show.
[01:10:22] Like, and what was the, uh, what was her, her sidekicks,
[01:10:26] Lou Mongello: Nate
[01:10:29] Deanna Mongello: whiny. I loved her too. Cause if you watched her in the background, like she had some really cool moves, like, and she was playing those
[01:10:35] Marion Mongello: instruments.
[01:10:36] Deanna Mongello: She was really cool too. So that whole experience, it's just like so incredible to like watch and see and, and be a part of.
[01:10:45] So it was
[01:10:46] Lou Mongello: all of the cast was so talented. Look, all of these performance, whether it's the captain, Sammy Sandro, rave Cole, they are clearly there. There's, there's a story that they have to move forward. But remember they are onstage doing interactive improv. All day and in such a wonderful, fun, convincing way, like there are.
[01:11:16] So there was like one time that I try, I was falling around. I was walking around and I saw a Wraith. Cole was having this little meeting in the cargo hold and I tried to go in and he kicked me like in a fun way. He kicked me out because I wasn't supposed to be there on that mission. And he sort of turned to this very serious yet sort of smirk in his eye, like Han solo type of way.
[01:11:40] And I'm like, in my mind, I'm like, you are just so good at what you do. I'm buying into every second of this.
[01:11:51] Beci Mahnken: He was definitely one of my very favorites, but I also appreciated the cruise director. She was amazing. And [01:12:00] she would get into the story and help you believe that you were having to do what we had to do. I remember one of my very favorite interactions though, was with, uh, right before we went into the, um, this, the training and one of the, uh, one of the trainers was just kind of freaking out about things.
[01:12:27] And she was so believable. I just wanted to like put my arms around her and hug her because she was having a little bit of a stressful moment and I was buying into it all and it was fun to watch them. The captain was amazing because I mean what she's wearing and, uh, the makeup that she has to, to get into, you know, stepping out of the story for a minute, that's gotta be hours of preparation then to go on stage, to be part of this for an entire day, uh, hats off to all of them, because they did such a wonderful job, keeping us in story and keeping us engaged and keeping us wanting more.
[01:13:06] I is as tired as I was at the end of the first night. And the second night I still wanted more. I wanted to find them again. I wanted to keep.
[01:13:15] Deanna Mongello: Right. And you, like, you need a vacation from the vacation, like you going from the second, you wake up to the second you go to sleep and you're right. Like, you can't wait to wake up to see like what messages you got on your data pad, you know, it's, it was incredible.
[01:13:29] Beci Mahnken: Yeah.
[01:13:30] Lou Mongello: And even, you know, for example, like when you're do, when you're doing your lightsaber training and the Sajah that's in there, I was able to experience it twice. I was able to do an abbreviated media preview. And the first time I saw it, the person who was the soccer that was doing the training was so evocative with her emotion.
[01:13:54] Like she was, she gets to a certain point in, in what, [01:14:00] in the training I was buying into that she was getting that emotional. And I just loved, again, outer story from a performance perspective and Marion, I'm sure you can appreciate it too. This story is going on all around you. 360 degrees utilizing all five senses and the, the quality of the performance of all of the characters and the cast and the crew was just accepted.
[01:14:28] Marion Mongello: I totally agree. Yeah. I agree from, I, I didn't exactly know that I was going to be stepping into a truly immersive theater. I can say with full confidence that the sublet lounge and the dining room were, were theaters. Every space in this experience was a theater. And, and, you know, even down to the technical elements, when I was eating dinner, the lights changed with my suit.
[01:14:59] Um, and, and just those little elements from the performance and, you know, all of the performers just getting so into it, getting so immersed with you, um, was it made you feel really good? It made you feel like everybody was really caring about your experience and, and making it super special. Um, and again, just all of the text and I have to say, like, I am the type of person that I want to look for.
[01:15:25] Almost like a flaw. I like to see when I'm able to like point something out that I was like, Ooh, that's interesting. And I even look at like the type of lights they have, I'll try to see what type of fog they use. Um, even those little things. And I had just had to say every space was an amazing theatrical performance from the lights to even the sound design in each space.
[01:15:50] Um, and, and the acting and the performers were incredible.
[01:15:55] Lou Mongello: Nicholas, what about for you? The characters,
[01:15:58] Beci Mahnken: all of them [01:16:00] are so well done. And one little detail that I love is depending on which path you take on your own adventure, it affects which characters you interact with most. So if you go and you want to learn the path of the force, then you would interact with the sagas more.
[01:16:21] Or if you want to be more of like a resistance person you interact with like the cruise director, or maybe even Sammy more. And if you want to be like a first. Evil person like the animal jello that you interact,
[01:16:38] Deanna Mongello: talk nice.
[01:16:42] Beci Mahnken: Treat us trade
[01:16:44] Lou Mongello: stuff at one, you got caught, right? Why am I not doing the same missions as you?
[01:16:51] And we look at our data pedal, like, because your trainer is, and you are part of the first order. So we don't want you sitting on our table anymore.
[01:16:59] Deanna Mongello: I liked the first order and he liked me too. So we aligned together.
[01:17:03] Beci Mahnken: Okay. Do we need family counseling at this point? Clearly
[01:17:09] Lou Mongello: this is part of the fun, right?
[01:17:10] This is, this is exactly part of it. And it actually dovetail nicely into number six on my list, which is that. And I think we sort of talked about this already, but the show and the story is taking place around you all the time. The entire time that you on board, there is something happening. And there almost is a little bit of, like you said, Becky, the FOMO.
[01:17:34] And one of the things I was worried about was I wonder what the repeatability factor. If someone's so chooses is for a star wars, galactic star cruiser experience. Isn't a one and done because you have seen it, you've done the story, having done it, and then realized realizing later on how much I did not do, I'm like, wow, I would like to do this again, knowing what I know, make other choices [01:18:00] and make sure I see ABC and D because there are, it is like a cruise, right?
[01:18:06] When you can't do everything, I want to give you just a very brief overview of some of the things that are happening on board on a single day. So for example, when you first get on board there's orientation, if you've never played Suboxone there's SubAQUA lessons. So you can play in the SubAQUA tournament later on there's a captain's reception, an outer rim regalia.
[01:18:28] So if you come in costume, there's almost like a costume contest, lightsaber training, French training, droid racing, galactic trivia. How did I miss that? The Cantina Chronicles? I don't even know what that is. It sounds cool. They had the loft cat clue crew, poor good detection drill. We missed that too. No, your copilot model ship building space, bingo, which is called sector set.
[01:18:52] It is sort of what you see and do on a cruise, but there are these, in addition to the activities, there were all of these stories. Unanticipated unscripted, unscheduled to us story moments that are happening onboard the ship. And you get these missions from your data pad, from the screens, from talking with characters, from talking with other guests and these random encounters along the way.
[01:19:19] And again, you can choose to do as much or as little as you like, but if you want to get the most out of this experience, do as much as you can be as present and is active and interactive as you like an Azure energy levels will allow. I mean, look, there were even some, there were some times, and again, without spoiling story moments where you could sort of join a group of people to help create a distraction and divert attention from something else that was going on in forgetting another sector of the ship, but in the atrium.
[01:19:56] And it was brilliant because like I said, your head [01:20:00] is on a swivel because there are story moments and there are things happening in five different points at different levels inside of the atrium. And that was one of the things that was so fascinating. And I think unexpected for me was how much there was to do how much.
[01:20:20] Being generated and continuing to generate the next iterations of what the story was, but it was happening all around you all the time by everybody involved.
[01:20:33] Beci Mahnken: Hence, the reason why we were so exhausted and we felt like we needed a vacation from the vacation because it was happening all the time and you, it, it's exhausting to try to keep track of all the storylines and you would see something happening over in the corner.
[01:20:49] And, but yet you had a mission that you had to go do and you had a choice to make. And as you said, I want to go back so I can try answering things differently, talking to different people, because I think it's going to be a completely different experience. And that is exciting
[01:21:07] Lou Mongello: to me. Was there anything else that's very quickly, anything else?
[01:21:10] And if you participated in that you thought was important to mention or a story you want to share about a show moment or an activity that you did that you're like, you know, Nicholas, I know you were playing Suboxone. Some of us were doing, we played, we keep calling it space. Bingo. Cause we love space.
[01:21:28] Bingo. We love regular bingo on the, uh, on, on Disney cruise line. Um, anything quickly that anybody wants to do to address. So
[01:21:37] Marion Mongello: I already mentioned an experience I had in the, in the climate simulator room with the Sajah. And I thought that that was one of the highlights of my trip that was, you know, definitely could be overlooked and I'm, and I've talked to other passengers and they had similar experience at totally different moments.
[01:21:52] It's probably different characters that are super unique. Um, but I also seem to really love the excursion on bat too. [01:22:00] Um, because I had never gotten involved with the, with the data pad Disney play sort of thing, but I really enjoyed how it was able to relate, um, what I was doing on back to, to what I was doing on the house end.
[01:22:15] Um, and that was an aspect that I did not expect, um, to happen. It was a really pleasant surprise
[01:22:22] Lou Mongello: me right into it's almost as if you can see my list because you led me right into number seven, because your trip to B2 will be unlike any that you have taken before. And we live here. We've been to Galaxy's edge a ton of times.
[01:22:36] We have never used the data pad, the way that we have used it. More importantly, you, you are taking a board, a transport show. From the Halcyon two by two, which was seamless, right. It, I'm not going to spoil the illusion for what it was, but it is an incredibly well themed transport that takes you there to an exclusive entrance and exit point in bar to near where the first order merchandise location is.
[01:23:04] What this allows you to do is not only gain you have your own entrance, but you're given a, a, um, a special pin that is from the house of yum that you wear while you're there that I think absolutely affects the interactions that you might have with some, uh, some of the characters that you find there. If you purchase merchandise, you can bring it to that location at any time.
[01:23:28] And either they'll hold it for you there, or they'll deliver it to your state room, which is also really nice, but. Marion to the point that you made. We, when galaxies edge first opened, we heard about how choices you make would impact certain things. And I think it's been realized a little bit, but not to the extent of the interaction and the interplay between Galaxy's edge and the galactic star cruiser, your choices AB solutely impact your [01:24:00] experience from one place to the other and vice versa.
[01:24:03] And we see when I first saw that part two was on the itinerary, I said to myself, well, we live here. Like I, unless there's something special going on, I don't need to ride Smuggler's run. Although we're given a lightning lane pass for Smuggler's run and riser resistance, I'm not sure if I want to spend my time.
[01:24:21] It's like being on a Disney cruise. I don't want to get off a Nassau because I want to enjoy the ship. We spent a large portion of the time that they allotted us Inbar to doing things that we have never done before because of the data pad, doing things together, separating going off on other missions, interacting with different characters in different ways who knew that we were from the house Yon.
[01:24:47] And depending on where you go might even have a special mission or a special token, that they will have physical token, that they will give you. And the thing that was so impressive was going on, Smuggler's run. And I don't want to spoil anything here. But Honda's dialogue is different. They know because you tap your M band, they know who is a guest aboard the house, Sian.
[01:25:19] It changes your experience, your credits that you earn on Smuggler's run absolutely count. And you can use those credits in your data pad in different ways and your success or failure on certain missions will help again, that flow chart of the choices you've made, the allegiances that you make. It's incredible how they have allowed the two sort of ends of the experience to interplay with one another, using that data pad as sort of that central tool to do it.
[01:25:58] I never had as much [01:26:00] fun in Galaxy's edge as I did during the star cruiser.
[01:26:04] Beci Mahnken: I 100% agree with you. I was that person to thinking, well, you know, we only have two days on, on healthy on do I really want to spend some time in bat too? I'm so glad that we did because the moment we did the transport and made our way down to the planet, uh, there were things and missions and people and.
[01:26:29] I got so wrapped up in all the things that we needed to accomplish or was laid out in front of us to accomplish it. Four hours went by really fast and to get further and deeper into all of this detail. And then as you go along, you get badges in the play app and just a whole nother world and a whole nother way to experience Galaxy's edge.
[01:26:55] And I had a blast. I have to agree the experience on bot too, when you're on the house on versus a normal experience is very hard to compare because not only do you get like a personal kind of concierge in like the little
[01:27:14] Lou Mongello: port that you come through on, but
[01:27:16] Beci Mahnken: two, you also have two lightning lanes for Smuggler's run and risers assistance, a meal on too.
[01:27:26] And just all the missions you can do on your data pad. It is a very different experience than you would normally have on bus two. That makes it a hundred times better than any normal day. So please, please, please. If you're thinking about not getting off, get off, go to the, to go ride, rises, resistance, and go ride.
[01:27:47] Smuggler's run, like go to it all because it will all affect what happens on the house yet. Right?
[01:27:53] Lou Mongello: Your rights and those little puzzles that you solve take on different meaning like [01:28:00] Smuggler's run. I looked at it from a different perspective because gathering the coaxial here is going to pay dividends when you get back on board and I'm going to leave it at that.
[01:28:12] But when that moment happened on the star cruiser, I was like, oh, like the light bulb went off and I'm like, that is brilliant. Like, there was a reason for me to go ride Smuggler's run and succeed at the mission the way we did. So you alluded to it, uh, Nicholas, in terms of the meal that you have that is included as part of your dining package, number eight space is the place for fun, fine and unique dining.
[01:28:47] We can almost do an entire show just about the food onboard, the Halcyon. I want to just give you a quick overview and then a couple of important touch points. You have two breakfasts, two. I actually say three lunches and two dinners included because when you get on board, There is a, a buffet lunch available.
[01:29:10] There is the first night dinner breakfast, and that next day lunch on bought two is included. You're given a credit for lunch at, um, Rondo roasters or a docking bay seven. We chose to have second lunch. We came back early enough for like, well, let's just see what they have in the crown of curly, a dining room we ate a second time.
[01:29:31] Second night dinner is a dinner around the galaxy, and then you actually have breakfast, which I highly recommend on your departure day. In addition to those meals inside the sunlight lounge, in addition to the alcoholic and non-alcoholic con cocktails, there is a lounge menu of hot and cold wide variety of snacks in the atrium.
[01:29:54] There is a menu of different, hot and cold appetizers and [01:30:00] snacks and drinks. There is a snack station that is available, I believe until two o'clock in the morning that has a rotation of different types of grab and go snacks from fruit to Parmesan, crisps, to themed crispy treats and cereals and takeaway snacks as well.
[01:30:19] There's a water station that has sparkling tap and like space water. I remember the third water was, so if you want to fill up a water bottle, you can do that to inside, um, inside the chronic, really though, I think there's a, there's a couple of things that are. Really important to mention, without going into detail about all of the individual items, the way breakfast and lunches served, forget the fact that it's, you know, themed to the story.
[01:30:51] I think we all I think are in agreement. The, the only way I can describe it is the bento buffet is absolutely brilliant because you go in during breakfast and lunch, it is open seating in the crown or dining room. You go and get this themed tray that has the sort of square and rectangular embedded cutouts.
[01:31:15] And all of the items on the buffet are served in these small little bento boxes, like little ramekins that are squares and rectangles that fit neatly like a little Rubik's cube puzzle, or like a little Tetris puzzle onto your tray. There were many times I needed to trays don't judge me so smarts in terms of the way it was served.
[01:31:39] More importantly. And this is the thing that I was curious, partially concerned about. Was is this going to be quote unquote space themed food? That's going to look funky and just be relatively pedestrian. I was incredibly impressed at the quantity [01:32:00] and the quality of the food that was. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, like I said, we could make an entire show just about the type of food, but I would love to hear your thoughts just from a dining perspective, uh, what you thought either about individual items, the restaurant, the service, whatever it might be.
[01:32:23] Becky. Yeah.
[01:32:26] Beci Mahnken: So what I was wondering when you were going to get to food, it was brilliant. I loved the little bento box style space buffet, for lack of a better word. The portions were perfect. They weren't overly done. They had just enough where you could take one of everything and have a meal, build a meal out of it without overeating, unless you're you.
[01:32:49] And you had four trays. I love. Everything about it from the choices they had a vegetarian, they had, uh, allergy specific choices. There were all kinds of, I love the tip yet. I'm just going to keep going back to that because every time I saw tip yup. I kept grabbing the tip. Yup. But even for breakfast, they had a really cool little combo with the small little rolled omelet, kind of like what we did in Japan.
[01:33:20] It reminded me a lot of that. Uh, but there was awesome choices, the little waffle that the, um, the syrup fit perfectly into the waffle. And you could turn that into a little bite-size waffle. Okay. Three or four bites, but still, um, I loved every second of that. Buffet-style and I would love to see that in another restaurant earthbound.
[01:33:43] So we could enjoy that again. The dinners were top-notch. I, my expectations were not very high for the food. Honest. And this was five star chef level plating, beautiful [01:34:00] plating, beautiful choices. Um, great options for everybody. There was something for even the pickiest of eaters. Yes. And even the blue shrimp was fantastic and it didn't turn your mouth blue.
[01:34:12] So everything is fine. Blue shrimp. So just put that to bed right now. Uh, one thing I do want to address is they do have an option for you to sit at the captain's table. That is an extra upcharge for at the time of this recording. It's $30 per person. You do get two more, um, uh, core courses on that specific, uh, dinner, because dinner is plated and it's actually brought around to you rather than the buffet, but it is the captain's table.
[01:34:44] She does show up, but she has to do her duties. So she may not spend the entire time there. So we do have, uh, a lot of people that are very concerned about picking their date and thinking, well, if the captain's table is not available, I'm going to move to a different date in all honesty. If the data's important to you.
[01:35:04] I, I think I would be fine with the experience, the overall experience without staying or eating at the captain's table. So personally, I would put that as a huge priority because no matter what, you're going to have a great dining experience and you'll be able to see what's happening with the Capitan stable and see what's happening all around you.
[01:35:25] Lou Mongello: And just, uh, without going into detail about the, the individual items. When we talk about the quality of the food, especially at dinner, we're not talking about chicken nuggets and hamburgers and French fries. So you mentioned the blue shrimp cocktail, which actually was delicious, but your entrees and you have all of them include a braised short rib poached lobster, tail seared, Whitefish, a number of different desserts that are like it.
[01:35:51] Depending if you do captain's table irregular, there are four courses of appetizers and entrees intermezzos. So [01:36:00] it is a very like higher end, especially dinner time dining experience.
[01:36:08] Beci Mahnken: And low
[01:36:08] Deanna Mongello: again, the attention to detail on the plate, the way the chef plated, every single thing that came to your table was so elegant and so classy that you thought it wasn't going to taste good because it looked so pretty.
[01:36:24] And then when you took a bite of it and you were like, oh my goodness, this is so delicious. Like every little, every little thing that they put on your plate, accented, everything that was there. So maybe they put like some type of, uh, like mashed potato on the bottom of like the short rib or a carrot or something like that.
[01:36:44] It all complimented everything that was on that plate. So it was just a, like a five-star meal from beginning to end
[01:36:53] Lou Mongello: for breakfast and lunch too. There was no assigned time. So you can go at your leisure depending on what you were doing on board or when you come back on board as well. Uh, Nicholas and Marion, anything sort of, of note to mention just quickly about dining.
[01:37:07] It's something that
[01:37:08] Marion Mongello: I have to mention is I love trying a bunch of new things, and this is the perfect place to try new food. Not only because they make it look just so beautiful. Um, but also, um, like it's all in the perfect size portion again, that you don't get full off of one dish, at least in the, in the buffet.
[01:37:32] And everything was just, yeah, it was so beautiful. And not at the expense of it being all dyed with food coloring or artificial, you know, stuff that you don't want in your body all the time. Um, we talked to, I think it was one of the crew members that said they tried to make all the food as accessible as possible.
[01:37:52] So it all was pretty much colored with not artificial colors. I don't know, little thing, but I thought it was really interesting. [01:38:00] Um, and something that's just, again, a little like cherry on top of the whole experience, um, and dinner, you know, sitting at the captain's table was incredible. I really enjoyed, I had no idea when I saw on the menu, it was like called like triple fruit, red soup shooter.
[01:38:17] I was like, oh, that sounds pleasant. That's that'll be good. It was actually so delicious. There was not one thing I tried that I was like, okay, no, thank you. Everything was worth, the try was so amazing. And really did make you feel like you were on this luxury cruise line. It was all five-star, um, incredible dishes that I really enjoyed
[01:38:40] Lou Mongello: Nick and I think all of the
[01:38:42] Beci Mahnken: food, literally everyone said it, every single all of the food on the star cruiser is incredible.
[01:38:50] Like from the way it's plated to the way. The way it's served to like how it looks and how it tastes and how it feels and the texture and everything about it is just so good. It really is like a five-star meal for every single meal, even like the buffets, you would think that they were just like, you know, it's just like a buffet.
[01:39:13] They'll do like some basic food. Like all of the food on the buffet is so, so good. And not to like spoil any of the food or anything, but there was this one, like grilled cheese, like waffled thing with this like tomato soup type dipper. And it was so good. Just all of the food on the star cruiser is just incredible.
[01:39:34] Deanna Mongello: You can bring me that right now, Nick, I actually would love to dip some of that into that tomato soup right
[01:39:39] Lou Mongello: now. I was very impressed again, that it was not just themed sort of kitschy food, but actually really, really delicious food everywhere that we had it. Um, whether it was the late night snacks that we had in the lounge or the snacks that were available in the atrium to each of the meals.
[01:39:58] Um, I really, really loved [01:40:00] breakfast and lunch. I really liked that style of, um, the, the presentation of the food and the portion control of the food as well. All right. Last couple of things that I want to get to, including something I think is very, very important to talk about I'm going, this is going to be very sort of, I'm going to allude to a number of things without spoiling a number of things.
[01:40:22] But it's important that you understand that space is also full of secrets, fun, fun secrets, both in the missions. There are secret locations that are onboard the ship that you might not even be able to find on a map. There are secret experiences that you can participate in only if you do certain things or only if you have certain conversations.
[01:40:53] And I love that because it, it makes you want to do more so that you get to sort of that so that you can sort of level up in terms of what you are doing. There are secret special effects that you can trigger. Like as an exp there's this, you can add on like a portrait. I call it a secret, but it's not like if you want to take professional portraits around the ship, you can add on a portrait experience.
[01:41:18] There are iconic photo locations. There are Easter eggs throughout the ship. Uh, one of the things that we found that we, we w walking up and down one of the stairs, we kept seeing this tiny little like outcropping, and we asked, we're like, oh no, that's the, the, the door to the state room from the Starline founder.
[01:41:39] Now, mind you, the Starline founder is only nine inches tall. So there's this teeny tiny little door along the state room. If you go into the cargo hold, you might see a very familiar face on a galactic ID card. You might see remnants of a lightsaber battle that was depicted in a story that you [01:42:00] might've seen or read.
[01:42:02] If you get into the engineering room, you might find initials that are carved in of a certain couple that had their honeymoon aboard the Halcyon Han and layer. There are hidden details that you can uncover in Galaxy's edge that you will be directed to based on what you do in August Cantina. If you look carefully, there's a message board that has a job listing from the house Sian for a new mechanic.
[01:42:37] And if you run into Sammy, he's the guy that answered that ad. It's just brilliant. And we are not going to spoil this for you, but we are going to tell you there's also very, very secret merchandise that we never would have known about. If it wasn't for Marion, finding out the secret and getting you really need to sort of gain access.
[01:43:04] To this secret merchandise. I love, love, love that everything is not just sort of laid out in front of you, but that there are secrets to discover and uncover and enjoy. And it is, I think a reason potentially, if you love this, it's a reasonably Becky. I know you're going again. Like it's a reason to go back because you want to experience some of those secret things or even things that you didn't get to do the first time.
[01:43:31] Beci Mahnken: And that's the stuff that draws me to this experience and why I am still over the moon about what we went through because I adore Easter eggs. And this entire experience from beginning to end is full of Easter eggs. And I know that there's things that, you know, we were lucky and ran into some of these, but there's gotta be a ton more that I have not seen that I want to see.
[01:43:57] And now that I know kind of how it [01:44:00] works, I have to talk to a lot more people. I probably am not going to sleep on the next round because there's so much more to discover and to experience and Easter eggs defined
[01:44:12] Lou Mongello: very quickly. Did Nicholas, you were married. Did you guys find any of these Easter eggs on board?
[01:44:18] Beci Mahnken: As you mentioned before, I loved the little Easter egg of the door for the founder of the housing. I think that was just such a cool thing to add, like a little bit of. Background knowledge to the house scene itself. And it's like a good thing because like when you're walking by a crew member, could the, you could just be saying like in passing, like, oh, I wonder what the little doors for, and then a crew member could be like, oh, it's for their founder.
[01:44:41] And then you can like get involved in like a conversation with them. And I just think that like some of these little Easter eggs are just such a great little detail to have in the house scene as a whole.
[01:44:52] Lou Mongello: So the last thing that we have to cover, and I think this is, is the, the question that is continuing to be asked and in a variety of ways answered.
[01:45:02] And is it worth it? And I think you have to put that question in very large, very bold quotation marks, because while it's the one question everybody has, it is the one question that only you can answer. And I want to come full circle and not answer it for you, but want to try and equip you with knowledge to help you answer it for yourself as well as what our experiences were in terms of value.
[01:45:34] So first, what is the actual cost? And this obviously will very likely. The hotel or Disney experience, it will vary seasonally. I'm giving you the prices as they are right now. A party of two for a standard room is about $4,800. Party of three is about 52 99. And a party of four is 59 99. You can add on, [01:46:00] you can upgrade.
[01:46:00] Becky talked before about the sweets, the captain's tables and the photo sessions. I want to break that cost down for you and reverse engineer it a little bit to help you better understand what's included. What's not included. And if it makes sense to you and for you, because what's included is not just your state room, but all of your meals, a ticket to Hollywood studios for your excursion, the entertainment, the story elements, the activities, the musical performances, et cetera, what's not included is alcohol, which is, should be obvious.
[01:46:39] I don't know why people get angry and confused because I'll call. It's not usually included anywhere and obviously in merchandise. And I think part of what has been happening and unfortunately happening is that people hear and see and focus only on that price before the house even opened its doors and immediately dismiss it as being overpriced, too expensive, et cetera, et cetera.
[01:47:05] I think if you. Break down what you get for that amount. It might actually surprise you. And I want to do a very quick breakdown and I'm going to sort of round numbers and go through them quickly, because I think when you do it this way, it becomes a little bit clearer. So first is your room. And we set at the, at the outset, we feel that the room, I felt that the room was even as good as if not better than a deluxe resort in Walt Disney world.
[01:47:40] If we compare it to something like the ground floor, Which could run. I think right now it's running about $1,200 a night. Let's just sort of round it, you know, 2000 to $2,400. Why do I say it's better than a deluxe? Because there is that immersive theater aspect. There's the view. The droid, all of, [01:48:00] remember your room is not just your state room, but it's all of the spaces on board, the house in the engineering room, the climate room, the tour of the snacks, the Sabac table, all of those things.
[01:48:10] If you break down the food, which unquestionably is better than anything, you're going to find at a quick service location throughout the park. You'll get two full dinners. If we ballpark those at $60 each and four lunches at about $25, each that is up to $250, right there, you do get a one day park pass.
[01:48:32] And if you choose to go to toy story land, so be it. I don't think that you should, but if we prorate that ticket, you know, it's a hundred dollars or so a ticket plus the two lightening lanes at $15 each that's $30, maybe, you know, $70 for the ticket. And that's another a hundred dollars. It's hard to put a price on the experiences, lightsaber training, bridge, training, everything else.
[01:48:57] I'm going to low ball that number at a hundred dollars. If you get, you get a magic ban, $30 valet parking for two nights, you have to include that to $60. You're already up to at for, for two people, $2,800 per person, which is $5,600. The actual cost of the star cruiser is $4,800. So line item, breaking it down, you're actually spending, you're actually getting value for your costs.
[01:49:30] Obviously there's a lot of subjective elements on there in terms of, you know, the shows and the entertainment and what additional prices I think that you can put on it. That being said, is it expensive? Absolutely. There, there is no doubt that there is a sticker shock to this. You have to do again. It's okay to disagree with anything that we've talked about, or we want to help you understand what we did, what you pay for and [01:50:00] what you get and your determination of whether or not it is valuable to you.
[01:50:07] Is it quote, unquote worth it to you, Becky? I know we we've talked a lot about this, you know, between you and I both before, during, and after in terms of how do you measure, I mean, you cannot objectively measure the worth of something. I said that during the introduction, but in terms of what you get for what you spend.
[01:50:29] It's like, uh, you know, it, it's like adding up a Walt Disney world vacation. If you, if you go home, when you look at every single dime that you spent and sort of, you know, backfill, it, it makes more sense than if you say, oh, your Walters won't vacations going, gonna cost you $10,000. You say, no, my room and my tickets are going to cost me X.
[01:50:48] You don't necessarily factor all those things in. I think it's the same here on the star cruiser.
[01:50:54] Beci Mahnken: I completely agree with you. And I've had a lot of conversations with, with a lot of Disney fans about this. And one of the things that has helped, some people kind of understand it is when we talk about, uh, the experiences, other experiences that Disney provides, like an adventurous by Disney, you really react to the, the initial price of one of those trips until you actually go on one or understand what all the elements are they're included.
[01:51:25] And if you do just exactly what you did a moment ago and take those elements separately and try to place a value on it, you actually see that some of these for what you get is undervalued in a lot of ways. You're, you're getting a big discount by combining all of the elements and having one big package.
[01:51:46] So. Is this experience for everybody? No, it's not. It's not going to be for an introvert that doesn't care about star wars and just wants to sit in the room and hang out on the balcony. This is not that experience. So for [01:52:00] those of you who are that person, there's other ways that you're going to be happier spending your money, but for anybody who wants this interactive walk into a movie and is ready to believe and take it all on, this is a great value overall, considering what you're getting over three days and two nights.
[01:52:21] And, you know, it's, I think it's going to be easier now for people to have a better understanding of what that value is because people are experiencing it and talking about it rather than the weeks lead and months leading up to the actual opening where Disney was holding a lot of the information close to their best.
[01:52:42] And they're not going to tell you what to expect. Uh, so all of us were kind of going, huh? And just looking at the price and looking at what details we were getting, which was pretty much zero. So it was hard to, to try to equate that in your brain. Now it makes a whole lot of sense, especially if you compare it to other vacation options that are out there and you do the math
[01:53:06] Lou Mongello: and like you said, Becky.
[01:53:08] It is by design. It is not for everyone, right? This is not meant to be Galaxy's edge where anybody with a park ticket can go. And I just don't think it, you know, you can't get mad at somebody who lives in golden Oak for living in golden Oak. He can't get somebody who owns expensive car for own expensive car.
[01:53:27] And you certainly can't get mad at the car manufacturer, right? The same way you can't get mad, or I don't think that you should get mad at Disney for creating an experience like this, because it is not meant for everyone all the time. You look just like, not everybody can, not, everybody wants to do certain things.
[01:53:44] Not everybody, you know, should be an annual, it's an annual passholder like for different reasons, but I don't think, you know, it's, it's disappointing to see so much anger and ritual and hate on the internet for people who do get to experience it and [01:54:00] get to enjoy it.
[01:54:03] Beci Mahnken: Yeah. Well, I look at, you know, Lamborghinis, I would love to have one, but I'm going to choose not to spend my money on that luxury.
[01:54:11] Um, we all make choices in our lives is to what we want to spend our money on or, or what we want to save for over time. And is this an expensive option? Like you said, absolutely. This is not a cheap, um, a cheap option of a cheap vacation in any way, shape or form. And I think we can all agree and acknowledge that, uh, however with everything you get and all of the people, I mean, that's one thing, a lot of people don't understand because they haven't seen it yet is every person that is putting in many, many hours to make this thing flow.
[01:54:50] That's wages, that's people. So when you're paying for a hotel. You're paying for a bed in a hotel, stay in a room. But with this experience, you're also paying for theater that's going on around you. And how much do you spend for a Broadway ticket, right. For a two hour show. Sometimes you look at it four or $500 a person.
[01:55:12] If you're looking at the main floor on, for some of those, imagine having this theater all around you for two straight days. So again, it's what you personally value and you were you're up there too, and you're giving your, you're getting your outta card or outsi card for my perspective, but it's, um, it's, it's just that type of experience in the one thing that you said, which resonates with me over and over again, is it we're going to have people come to us and have come to us asking that question.
[01:55:44] Is it worth it? We've had people come to us. You've had people, uh, you know, in, in the, the lives and so forth, the only person who can actually answer that question is you, what we can do is give you the pros and the cons, what we saw without spoiling [01:56:00] it. But you need to decide how you're going to spend your money.
[01:56:03] No one else could do it for you. And
[01:56:05] Lou Mongello: the only advice that I would potentially give from a parent perspective is I'm not sure that this is the best experience for small children, only, you know, your kids only, you know, what they enjoy, what they can tolerate from a time perspective. You know, if I had to round, I'm not sure.
[01:56:26] Maybe if this is ideal for kids, maybe under 10 only because I don't know that they would get the full experience out of it. They might need additional attention from the parent, maybe spending a day in Galaxy's edge and in the middle of summer, maybe see how that plays again. You have to determine what you want to do and how you want to do it.
[01:56:47] And I think this, yeah,
[01:56:50] Beci Mahnken: I was going to say this, this wouldn't be a great option for kids that need naps because for adults that need them, this is true. You really do. And this is happening all the time around you everywhere. And if you took a break, you might miss some of the biggest, most important elements.
[01:57:11] And if I was going to give a tip, it would be not only to come out of your shell, talk to people, you might not talk to get involved, but also make sure you attend all of the big events that is open to everybody like the muster drill and those types of things, because those are going to be pieces that are really important to the puzzle.
[01:57:34] Lou Mongello: And if you are thinking about it, try as, as much as you can, not to watch videos that are going to potentially spoil. The story moments, because the surprise is part, it is one of those things that you pay for you pay for those surprises. It's why we didn't talk about specific characters, specific moments, things that happen, because I want you to, [01:58:00] hopefully, if you so choose to experience it for yourself with your own eyes.
[01:58:04] And I think if you're on the fence, I think you would need to ask yourself three questions. And I think they need to ask them in this order, one, am I a big star wars fan, like, and figure out, define what big and fan means to you? Like where does your level of fandom sit in terms of what you want to do to do?
[01:58:26] I love this type of participatory theatrical experience, because if you're looking for a theme star wars hotel, this is not it. That is not what this is. I do not think this is designed to be a place that you go and just sort of hang out for two days. It is meant to be something it's like going through an escape room and just sitting there and watching, like, I think it is much more than a hotel.
[01:58:54] And I think you have to ask yourself and examine yourself and have an honest conversation with yourself or whomever. Can I spend $5,000 on this tonight, experience and walk away, happy having done.
[01:59:13] Beci Mahnken: Yeah. And the only thing I want to do is kind of talk about number one for a second, because yeah, you're right.
[01:59:19] Uh, being a star wars fan is definitely a good prerequisite to this. However, I also want to say that you don't really have to be, um, you don't have to know the characters to be part of the story. So like we had a client not too long ago asking me a question about this, the husband's big star wars fan.
[01:59:37] And he asked me, is this going to be okay with my wife? Because she really isn't and you don't have to be, to be, to enjoy this as long as you enjoy the elements that you just spoke about the other two, if you can answer yes to the other two that it's yeah. I'm, I'm in for those. I think you're still gonna be good.
[01:59:55] Lou Mongello: I agree. And for me, there's also the intangible aspect [02:00:00] and the intangible aspect for me. If I were to disect, it really come, came down to two things in terms of the determination of my value and it's things I mentioned before, one where my kids' faces my kids' faces when we boarded my kid's faces for the duration of the three days that we were participating in this experience.
[02:00:26] My kids' faces when we got back to the room at the end of the night, and my kids' faces of almost disappointment, like, oh, it's over like that, that disappointment, like, oh, we feel sad that we have to leave. I placed monstrous value in that, like isn't worth it as a
[02:00:45] Marion Mongello: parent raising monstrous value in our
[02:00:48] Beci Mahnken: disappointment.
[02:00:49] Lou Mongello: No Montoursville, Marion. I am thinking, and I'm not, I don't mean to single you out, but as someone who came in admittedly, not as a star wars fan, potentially skeptical, wondering if he should leave on the second day to go to school, watching your face. And there was this moment of sort of transition where your face lit up and you were all in on the experience, that alone was worth the price.
[02:01:18] Nicholas coming to me and your mother at night. Hugging me so hard saying thank you so much for this. This is amazing. As a parent, it's hard to put a dollar figure on that. And for me, like I cried a lot. Like I cried wonderful, happy, joyful tears. As a parent, as the nine nine-year-old kid playing with a star wars toys, the, the, the son who remembered seeing star wars with his dad, all of those things.
[02:01:51] That's why I think I broke down when I was talking to the Imagineer because I had this flood of emotions. And for me, it it's hard. And nor will I [02:02:00] ever try to put a dollar figure on what the. The expression and what the generation of those emotions really is. I'm getting choked up, just thinking about it.
[02:02:15] Beci Mahnken: Well, I was remembering back and just remembering everybody's faces. I mean, none of us knew what to expect. We walked in, we were in awe, we saw the room and then we started getting the missions and it turned into a giggle Fest. It really was
[02:02:31] Deanna Mongello: running
[02:02:31] Beci Mahnken: around. I know, I agree. We looked like little nine year olds running around after toys that were hidden behind things.
[02:02:38] And it was, it was definitely just a, an uplifted, wonderful, joyous experience to have to have shared with all of you and all of the characters and all the other passengers. And again, just, I, I don't know if you can put a price on joy and that's kind of what I felt the entire time until I was almost ready to fall over and it became, I got to go to bed.
[02:03:04] I fighting my eyelids. I am just going to go to bed and I'm going to get up in four hours and do this
[02:03:10] Lou Mongello: again. Tip is give yourself a day. After to recover, book yourself a space and land or space and sea vacation, because you will
[02:03:25] Beci Mahnken: travel agent by the way,
[02:03:27] Lou Mongello: any time a mouse van travel can books and can create and craft a custom package just for you.
[02:03:34] But I want to know what are your thoughts on the star wars galactic star cruiser, as well as what are your questions? Post them over in the clubhouse at WWE radio.com/clubhouse. Also stay tuned for the next WDW radio live show where we'll take and discuss some of your questions with you at WDW radio, live.com.
[02:03:55] I know Becky Meghan's going to join me maybe another special surprise guest. Cause I [02:04:00] like making Becky wondering who the surprise guests going to be crazy, but Deanna is anybody married. Nicholas Becky, you are my family. I am so grateful to have had and shared this experience with you. I want you to summarize your time on the galactic star cruiser in one word, Marion, Deanna, Nicholas and Becky
[02:04:23] Marion Mongello: immersive.
[02:04:26] Deanna Mongello: The memories were amazing and priceless. I
[02:04:31] Beci Mahnken: go ahead. I can help it. Sorry.
[02:04:34] Lou Mongello: He did not follow. You did not follow the instructions. Nicholas
[02:04:40] Beci Mahnken: food.
[02:04:44] I never follow instructions. I joy. I'm just gonna use one there. I'm gonna follow instructions. Joy, giggling, giggling over the water through the woods. Joy
[02:04:57] Lou Mongello: for me, it's grateful. I'm grateful to you. I'm grateful to my family. I'm grateful to Disney. I'm grateful to all the cast members who made this all happen.
[02:05:07] It is an experience of a lifetime. So thank you again. Hopefully I want to know if you are thinking about going on the star cruiser or if you've been on the star cruiser, let us know and all right, very quickly. If you could eat one, one thing from the star cruiser, one more time, what would it be?
[02:05:24] Deanna Mongello: Oh my gosh, that egg thing.
[02:05:26] It almost was like an egg and it was like a hash brown with the, with the egg on top and the potato. Oh my God. It was so good in the morning.
[02:05:34] Beci Mahnken: Yes, there was this little
[02:05:36] Lou Mongello: I mentioned for the grilled cheese and tomato soup
[02:05:40] Beci Mahnken: dipper, like waffle thing. I could literally eat that forever and never
[02:05:45] Lou Mongello: stopped being happy with it.
[02:05:47] Marion Mongello: Surprise, surprise. Mine is a desert. It was a like salted caramel chocolate cake brownie thing, but it looked super cool. I've probably had three. [02:06:00]
[02:06:01] Beci Mahnken: It was really
[02:06:02] Lou Mongello: I love. And I've dreamt about those three different buns. I like Bao buns and I cannot lie. They were so, so good.