As we continue to detail our experiences aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at the Walt Disney World Resort, we wanted to review the experience of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser transport between the Halcyon and Batuu at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On day two of the two-night immersive hotel experience, guests are invited to visit Batuu, aka Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The “planet excursion” takes guests from the Halcyon in orbit around Batuu down to the planet for some time in Black Spire Outpost. In this article, we’ll review the Galactic Starcruiser “box truck” shuttle experience on the ride to Batuu and the return transport back to the Halcyon.
Outside of the price, perhaps nothing stirred up social media quite like a sneak peek at the literal box truck that transports guests between the Galactic Starcruiser and Galaxy’s Edge. Of course, as we noted in the article, there was no way that Disney would actually let guests see that they were in the back of a “Galactic U-Haul”, but what was the experience actually like? Let’s take a look.
Galactic Starcruiser Box Truck Review
Checking In for Transport
Guests will want to open up their Datapad (Play Disney Parks app) to see when they are scheduled for transport to Batuu. Disney will schedule a time for your transport, but this time is more of a recommendation than a strict window. From what we’ve seen, the first transport off of the ship was scheduled for 8:10am. We’re still a little bit undecided on when you should plan on leaving for Batuu due to a variety of factors.
Timing Your Batuu Transport
If you leave first thing in the morning, that means that you’ll have to wake up early – probably before 6:45am if you want to enjoy the breakfast buffet – and we do suggest eating breakfast on board the Halcyon. If you get to breakfast right when it opens (7am) there’s no reason why you can’t be done and ready to go by 8am. During our Starcruiser voyage, Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened at 9am, which meant that if you were on one of the first transport shuttles shortly after 8am, you would have 30-45 minutes of lower crowds during the Early Entry timeframe. Since our voyage in early March, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been opening earlier – typically 8:30am, so you will likely encounter crowds the moment you land on Batuu.
Keep in mind that your Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience includes Lightning Lane access to both Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions. Therefore, you don’t need to rush to rope drop the attractions when you first arrive on Batuu, although you might find that Smugglers Run at the very least might have a short standby wait should you want to ride quickly before the masses arrive at park open. Ultimately, your goal in arriving on Batuu early in the morning should be to experience the land with minimal guests, and/or to get a jump start on your Datapad tasks.
One of the reasons we might suggest getting a later start on your Batuu planet excursion is unreliability for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You don’t need to ride either Galaxy’s Edge attraction to complete the Datapad tasks, but it would be nice if the attractions were at least operating so you could take advantage of the Lightning Lane access.
Another reason that a later arrival time in Batuu might be useful is to enjoy your meal voucher at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, which doesn’t open until lunchtime. We’ll have more complete thoughts on the Batuu portion of your Starcruiser voyage in a subsequent guide.
When it is your time to board, make your way down to Deck 4 and the hallway that contains the Lightsaber Training Pod and Climate Simulator. There might be a line of guests already waiting, but hopefully, the line isn’t long.
Before you board, a Passenger Services crew member will take your small group into the Climate Simulator for a pre-excursion briefing. This briefing is the best time to ask any last-minute questions you might have.
You will also receive a pin, the Halcyon Sigil of the Select, to wear on Batuu that lets Cast Members in Galaxy’s Edge know that you are a passenger on the Halcyon. We recommend wearing the pin for the duration of your planet excursion to allow for the best possible interactions with Cast Members while on Batuu. The Climate Simulator is also a good place to get acquainted with the weather that you’ll experience while in Disney’s Hollywood Studios – usually hot and humid.
Galactic Starcruiser Shuttle to Batuu
When it is your group’s turn to board, you will tap your M-Band to a tap point before a short walk down an airport-like gangway to the shuttle transport. A themed door will open and you will be able to board the shuttle to Batuu.
If the title of the article didn’t give it away completely, you are riding in the back of a box truck. Literally. Out of the 45 hours that we spent on the Galactic Starcruiser, the experience in the transport shuttle to Batuu was the most ridiculous. The bumpy, windowless ride was filled with sharp turns and sudden stops. Instead of being transported to Batuu, I was transported to a time in my childhood when I rode in the back of a literal U-Haul truck on a short drive within my neighborhood for fun. A lurch forward is only veiled with the sound of a booster firing to signal a launch. After a few safety announcements, informational messages, and advertisements for Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities and Oga’s Cantina, we tune into radio station BSO 401.72 to hear some “tunes from around the galaxy”. A 5-6 minute ride later and you’re on the planet of Batuu.
It’s hard to say that Disney cheaped out here, the interior of the truck is fully themed after all, but there has to be a more elegant solution than throwing guests into the back of a box truck. I don’t think I can overstate how bad this experience was.
Here’s look at the spaceship that you’re “riding” in to tender you between the fictional world of Batuu and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel. This is the concept art of the ship as you might see it from a spaceport window on the ship or, more likely, in The Art of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge book.
Galactic “U-Haul” Box Truck
Friend of the site bioreconstruct gives us our best look at the actual box truck that guests will ride in. In the photo below, you can see the truck parked at the Galactic Starcruiser hotel docking point. During operation, the truck sits flush to the docking point and you really have to look to find any seams.
Galactic Starcruiser Transport Shuttle Route
The drive is short, less than 10 minutes, but this aerial photo from bioreconstruct shows the route between the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney smartly doesn’t offer transport to Batuu on your first or third day at the hotel to avoid guests driving past the box truck as they use the same roadways to arrive or depart. Here’s a rough look at the Galactic Starcruiser transport shuttle route between the hotel and theme park.
Batuu Shuttle Interior
The interior of the shuttle is actually themed nicely. There isn’t a single inch of the shuttle that wasn’t considered and themed appropriately. Our two wishes for the transport, if it has to remain a box truck, are for there to be some sort of “space windows” and for there to be a visible droid to drive the ship.
Lights do flicker through grates as if you’re traveling through a tunnel or past other spaceships, but that’s the extent of the themed effects for the transport. If Disney could create a window to space, even a small one like what exists in the launch pod elevator from the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal to the Halcyon, it would help. Also, there was some amount of fanfare for RX-Series shuttle driver J6-F8, including concept art of the droid in The Art of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge book, but she doesn’t appear during the visit in any other form than audio. J6-F8 will periodically come over the intercom, and she’ll offer advice on places to visit in Batuu.
Inside the Galactic Starcruiser transport shuttle, there are advertisements for some shopping areas within Batuu, including advertisements for the Creature Stall and Savi & Sons Salvage.
The Galactic Starcruiser transport shuttle is not technically operated by the Halcyon, much like a tender on a cruise ship might not be owned and operated by a cruise line. Instead, the Batuu Transport Company owns and operates the shuttle service at the command of Oga Garra.
The Starcruiser box truck can hold 16 guests at a time, with seating for 12 of those guests.
Docking Bay 3 on Batuu
The docking bay that the shuttle connects to is Docking Bay 3. Other docking bays within Batuu are Docking Bay 7, which is the main quick-service within the land, and Docking Bay 5, where the Millennium Falcon is parked. The area is nicely themed and consistent with the rest of Batuu. Grungy, aged walls form the hallway to a larger, cavernous area that is exclusive to guests of the Halcyon. Here’s a look at the walk from the shuttle transport dock into Batuu. Some amount of depth is achieved here by creating an open-air space that draws your eyes to a dominant structure in the distance. This structure is visible when you get into Galaxy’s Edge proper as well.
When you arrive on Batuu, a Passenger Services Cast Member will greet you and give you a brief rundown of the offerings on the “planet” as well as covering pertinent information such as how to redeem meal vouchers on Batuu and how to use Lightning Lane. They should also inform you of the fact that Docking Bay 3 serves as an exclusive rest area for guests of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and that you can bring any merchandise purchased during your stay at Black Spire Outpost back to Docking Bay 3 for them to bring to your cabin. The area is completely under cover, so it should serve as a good spot to get out of the sun or rain during your planet visit. There are also complimentary water bottles, which would normally run you more than $4 each, so make sure to grab a few for your excursion on a planet with three suns.
Return Trip to Galactic Starcruiser
Once your visit to Batuu is complete, you’ll return to Docking Bay 3 where a Passenger Services crew member will be able to arrange a shuttle back to the Halcyon Galactic Starcruiser. The final transport leaves at 4pm-ish, and there will likely be little reason for you to remain on Batuu that long given the fact that the afternoon activities back on the ship will be underway by then. In our upcoming wide-ranging review of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, we’ll talk about how you should spend your time in Batuu and if the visit to Galaxy’s Edge is even worth it. For now, you can check out our day two report where we cover more of our visit to Batuu and provide some thoughts on the experience.
The return trip is similar to the trip to Batuu. A seamless transition from an on-planet gangway into the box truck keeps you completely immersed…until you start moving.
Another lurch forward combines with a launch sound effect to let you know you’re underway. Excitement is replaced by exhaustion as you start to thank the maker that the lunch buffet is only a short walk down a hallway from the shuttle docking point on the Halcyon. The turbolifts will likely be a more popular option than the stairs after your excursion, just like the wait for an elevator after a long day on a Caribbean island on a regular cruise ship. Thankfully, you are only dealing with three floors of guest cabins and not fourteen floors or more.
Closing Thoughts on the Galactic U-Haul
Before we head back to our cabin to refresh for the evening’s activities, we wanted to reflect a bit on the Galactic Starcruiser box truck experience. We dubbed it the “Galactic U-Haul” weeks before the first guests would step on board, and I think the description works well. There is no doubt that you’re in the back of a box truck that certainly doesn’t damper road conditions as well as a Disney World bus, but also, somehow, remains completely in-story. Even if you never read this article and went into the Starcruiser experience completely blind, there would be little doubt that you were in a truck of some sort. The experience might pass as a bus, but again, the vehicle doesn’t do as good of a job as a bus does of creating a smooth ride.
Ultimately, we return to the thought that the shuttle transport experience is as highly themed as the rest of the Galactic Starcruiser experience, even if the actual execution of the ride is ineloquent.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser 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!
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.
Loved the “Actors” interaction with the “Passengers” during that 17mins! Looks like they NEVER let loose of those handrails!! I believe the top-speed of the “Cargo Truck” is under 5 miles an hour!🤭
This was a poor solution. Disney should have built a light rail to connect the star cruiser to Galaxy’s Edge. Something like the Hogwarts Express at Universal.
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