Executive Creative Director of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Leaves Walt Disney Imagineering

    Ann Morrow Johnson, the Executive Creative Director and Producer of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, has left Walt Disney Imagineering for a popular post-Disney destination: Gensler. Johnson is just the latest high-profile Imagineer to leave WDI for Gensler, following former WDI president Bob Weis, who left Disney last October.

    At the Galactic Starcruiser, Johnson was responsible for the overall concept, vision, and execution of the project. Johnson led teams to design the story, facility, show, execution strategy, and guest experience at the Starcruiser before moving on to be the Vice President of Imagineering’s creative development and Blue Sky concepts. She then spent the last year at Imagineering as an Executive Portfolio Creative Producer.

    Spoiler alert: not all Stormtroopers are bad, some save the day

    Johnson led the Starcruiser to win multiple industry awards, creating an immersive experience unlike anything else we’ve seen at the Disney theme parks before. The Starcruiser, which Disney closed last fall, was the most ambitious project we’ve seen out of Imagineering in a very long time. While it closed prematurely, the fact that it existed at all is a testament to Johnson and her team, as well as the actors and Cast Members who brought the experience to life.

    Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Creative Executive Scott Trowbridge has previously stated that the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser was “up at the top” of all the experiences that Disney offers throughout the company, based on guest feedback. Overwhelmingly, those who actually experienced the Star Wars: Galactic Starcrusier ended up loving the experience.

    Now, the future of the experience and the learnings from it rest in the hands of Disney Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro. When asked about the future of the Starcruiser nearly a year ago, D’Amaro replied “No hints yet, but something will happen”. Nothing has happened yet, and many of the creatives and cast responsible for creating such an amazing experience are moving on.

    At Gensler, Johnson is the Global Entertainment Leader, responsible for setting vision and strategic direction for entertainment & immersive experience practice while partnering with organizations, from the cultural and hospitality sectors to governments and developers, to define a new era of how people connect with a sense of place.

    “Ann Morrow Johnson is the creative leader the Gensler Entertainment Practice needs at this moment as we continue to see exciting growth and momentum,” said Bob Weis, Entertainment Leader, Gensler. “Her extensive global experience in immersive experience design and storytelling, coupled with a solid foundation in development strategy and architecture makes her one of the industry’s most sought-after leaders. As Gensler continues to influence the world with innovative design, I am confident that Ann Morrow will be an integral part of our future success.”

    Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with dozens of offices and thousands of employees.

    Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Immersive Hotel

    While we’ll recap the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience below, you can find in-depth, day-by-day reports in the following articles!

    Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Report – DAY ONE (Arrival, Cabin Tour, Lightsaber Training, Bridge Ops, Gaya Dinner Show, and More)
    Come along for a detailed look at our first day aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser day one experience at Walt Disney World
    Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Report – DAY TWO (Batuu, Sneaking Around the Ship, Sublight Lounge, and Climactic Battle)
    Join us as we return to the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser for a report on Day Two!
    Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Report – DAY THREE (Breakfast, Checkout, Launch Pod Back to Reality, Post-Cruise Merchandise)
    We wrap up our time at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser with our day three report which includes breakfast, post-cruise merch, and more

    Guests will arrive at the hotel like any other hotel, but it’s billed as something unlike anything else built by Disney. The adventure begins when you arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World and check-in for your two-night experience. Valet is included in the price of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

    Once you’ve checked into the hotel, you’ll board a launch pod where you’ll blast off into space and rendezvous with the Halcyon, the ship you’ll spend the next 2-nights aboard. Through windows above, you’ll see yourself leave the real world behind as you jump to hyperspace and draw closer and closer to the Halcyon.

    Here’s concept art of the experience compared to a photo of the actual guest experience in the launch pod.

    During your journey, you will sleep aboard a ship known throughout the galaxy for its glamour and style—crewed by the incomparable interplanetary travel group, Chandrila Star Line.

    Chandrila Star Line is renowned throughout the galaxy for its fleet of comfortable and stylish starcruisers, top-tier service, delicious cuisine and exotic destinations—from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim and beyond. Chandrila Star Line’s legendary Purgill-class starcruisers were some of the first commercial vessels to offer hyperdrive travel, and their spirit of adventure continues to this day.

    Rest assured that in these times of galactic conflict, Chandrila Star Line operates with the utmost care, and encounters with either the First Order or the Resistance are rare. While itineraries do occasionally experience some disruptions due to the unrest in certain parts of the galaxy, Chandrila Star Line starcruisers are well equipped with the latest shield and turbolaser technology to defend themselves in the unlikely event of dire circumstances—which are never an issue. Well, almost never.

    The Halcyon starcruiser is the jewel of the Chandrila Star Line. Onboard the 100-cabin Corellian MPO-1400 model starcruiser, you’ll voyage to the far reaches of the galaxy in legendary comfort and style. Recently refurbished and reoutfitted, the starcruiser combines modern conveniences with the romance of the age of exploration.

    When the Launch Pod docks with the Halcyon and the airlock opens, you will step into the ship’s main deck Atrium to begin your journey through a galaxy far, far away. Again, here’s a comparison of the concept art versus the actual product.

    A visit aboard the Halcyon becomes a multi-day story that interweaves with members of the crew, other passengers, familiar Star Wars characters, and an excursion to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

    Visiting the starcruiser’s Bridge to learn about ship systems and how to operate them, including navigation and defense – skills that may come in handy during a journey through this adventure-filled galaxy.

    Other areas within the ship include the Engineering Room, where guests can sneak into a crew-only area of the ship and discover the inner workings.

    Guests can also complete lightsaber training! Wielding a lightsaber while facing off against a training remote, where you may discover your own connection with the Force.

    Of course, it’s not going to all be action. There will be time to head to The Sublight Lounge – an inviting retreat for passengers of all ages.

    Guests will also be able to experience luxurious meals – included with your stay in the main restaurant. At night, guests might even be treated to an otherworldly dinner show.

    Every window in the Halcyon – including those in each cabin – has a view of the galaxy beyond, with ever-changing vistas as the ship progresses from place to place.

    The starcruiser features 100 well-appointed cabins and suites, each one radiating an atmosphere of elegance, style, comfort, and exclusivity. Your Star Wars story continues even in your cabin or suite. You’ll be amazed by the attention to detail!

    Each Standard Cabin is fitted with furnishings and fixtures designed to ensure comfort while traveling throughout the galaxy—including a pullout table and a TV with entertainment from your home planet—and a window with a view out into space.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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