It’s just really incredible how they make you forget that you’re in Florida at all.
[🎵Accessing] Hello! I’m Anika AKA Pixie and you are listening to the Endless Anakin Playlist Podcast, in which I use popular music as a frame to discuss anything and everything Star Wars.
Today’s episode is inspired by the song “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Today we will be boarding and exploring the Halcyon. I took thousands of pictures and I’m showing you just, you know, a tiny twenty percent of them, maybe. But I wanted to show off as well as I could the amazing work that went into creating the Halcyon and the Star Wars environment. Let’s get started; let’s board the Halcyon!
As you may recall, I was traveling with a group of eight. We all arrived from different places at different times so we didn’t arrive at the Starcruiser at the same time, either. And in fact, my group, with myself, Jeanne, and Sam, we came to Florida two days early to make sure we would definitely be on time because they stress that the show starts right away and we didn’t want to miss any minute of it.
Jeanne, Sam, and I took an Uber that morning, from our off site hotel to the Galactic Starcruiser. And we were basically immediately in traffic. The poor Uber driver said it was a leaning experience, for us to give a little extra time for travel and for him to never again accept anyone going to the Galactic Starcruiser. We did give him a big tip.
As soon as we arrived it started to get exciting. This was our view out the left side. So the Galactic Starcruiser doesn’t look like anything from the outside. It absolutely looks like a warehouse in the middle of Florida. A completely nondescript, you know, gun metal grey middle of nowhere warehouse. And the back of Galaxy’s Edge, also, you can see the tops of the mountain but it’s missing the rest of the mountains so it’s like a Hollywood set. Which is actually really fun going in, because it makes you feel like you are going onto a Star Wars set. You are becoming a part of Star Wars.
On the right side of the car, this was my view, and it’s a little bit less warehousey. You can still see in the background that it’s just a grey nondescript nothing. But this looks a teeny bit, a little bit more like maybe we’re going onto another planet. Or that we’re on Earth but we’re going to be leaving and going into space.
This was the entrance. Now, this particular photo was taken on the second day as part of my Disney photoshoot. It is an add-on, it costs an extra fee and you have to arrange it ahead of time. But I absolutely, I — because I worked so hard on the outfit I really, really wanted to have these amazing photos as a souvenir. And I’m thrilled with the photoshoot, it came out amazing. In half the photos I’m still making a silly face ’cause I can’t take pictures for the life of me but the quality is incredible.
So this is…what in story, this is a photo of me boarding the Halcyon and you know, right before I get onto the ship. This is what I was actually wearing while I was boarding the Halcyon. You can see I’m wearing a Star Wars t-shirt and a Star Wars headband. But because of the incredible Florida-in-August weather, it was 90-something degrees and we were all dying, so I didn’t wear my amazing outfit to board. So this is me on the shuttle, and this is when the shuttle started.
Now, the shuttle doesn’t actually go anywhere, it’s really just a portal, like a tunnel, from one side of the building to the other side of the building. But they make it feel like you’re going, they make the lights flash and everything. Like you are leaving Florida behind now and you are getting into the Starcruiser.
I chose “Californication” for the song for this particular video because it has the line [Alderaan’s not far away] “Alderaan’s not far away, it’s made in a Hollywood basement”. The outside of the Starcruiser looks like a set, but the inside is wholly immersive. As I got this text from my son “It’s looks like you’re in the movie. You live in Star Wars!!”
So let’s explore the ship. So all ships have a plaque that tells you about them, you know, when and where they were first set from and who made them and the registry of the starship. So this was the ship’s directory. There were only four floors that were open to us. And there were a hundred passenger rooms, there’s the dining area, the engineering room, the training rooms, the bridge and of course the atrium, which was the main lobby where most of the action and, with everybody happened at both the beginning and the end of the stories. But the rest of the action was happening all over the ship.
Okay so once again, let’s start from the beginning. So this is the entrance way and then we would get on the shuttle that would take us to the ship. Here’s a picture of from inside the ship [shuttle]. Again, this is from my photoshoot so the — in reality it was full of other passengers who were all going together. The seven other people in my party as well as another group. And we were all hanging on to the sides as if it was moving. And this is where the shuttles hook up into the Halcyon. And those two doors open up and let us all out of the shuttles.
So it enters right into the atrium. It’s the biggest room. It’s sort of a lobby and the lounge, the gift shop, and guest services are all there. And then the bridge is on one side and the elevators and stairways to the passenger rooms are on the other side. The atrium has two levels. The main level, which is open to everyone and the second level which is where the crew would address us during the voyage. The captain, the cruise director, and anyone else who needed to talk to the passengers, make announcements. Obviously the passengers weren’t allowed up there.
And this is a doorway to the bridge. It’s another place that’s off-limits to the passengers except in certain special circumstances, for example when we had bridge training or when we were conscripted into helping out because there were issues with the crew. There are viewscreens all over the place and there were many, many stations all throughout that we all got to use during our bridge training which I will go over in the next video.
With eight passengers in my party we were in the Captain’s Suite, which is the biggest available room size. It includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area in the middle, and a sink, small fridge, like a tiny kitchenette. Half-kitchenette.
This is me outside the door. We would use our databands to get in and they would also speak to our datapad. There were all specific to each passenger so mine was Anika, it was given specifically to me and it was hooked directly to my My Disney account. We all had our own storyline and it was all connected.
I stayed in a bedroom with five people. The parents had the master bed and then Sam and I, the bodyguards, had the bunkbeds. And the child was on a pull out that was in the wall. I had the bottom bunk and Sam had the top. We each had our own reading lights. There were plenty of outlets because they knew we always had to be charging our datapads. Now, these weren’t the most comfortable mattresses, but if you were uncomfortable you could ask for more than one so you could have multiple mattresses to make it a little more comfortable.
This is a view of the datascreen. You can see this is showing off currently the root the Halcyon was going to take through space. This view would change throughout, all of the viewscreens would show different things at different times during the voyage. This is the pull out that our young companion slept on. Now, you would think that five people in a room would be kind of tight but it was actually perfectly sized. We did not ever stumble over each other anymore than you would in a normal hotel room.
And here is where we would interact with our in suite droid. There she is. When I first heard about her I thought she was just going to be like an Alexa for the room. But she actually had huge amounts of personality. She was a character in and of her own right and she had her own storyline that went along with the storyline of the whole Starcruiser. So she was super fun to interact with, you could talk to her at any time. And the first night we asked her to tell us a bedtime story. And she recounted Episode IV: A New Hope from the point of view of the droids. So it was all about the hero R2D2 helping out a moisture farmer save the galaxy.
This crate of goodies was waiting for us when we got to the room. We never quite figure out what the garlicky type thing in the jar was but everything else we ate up. There was a selection of drinkware in the room, a couple goblets and little space water bottles that we could fill up in the atrium. They had chilled flat water, room temperature flat water, and chilled sparkling water available at any time. You would just take one of your little glasses and fill it up.
Everything was in the Star War color scheme. These were the seats in the living area. And we also had viewscreens in all of the rooms. This was the biggest, it was in the living area. And the first thing we did once we were on board was get into our outfits. Here’s my handmaiden outfit and here’s Sam in her Grey Jedi outfit. So this is when we first arrived and we were in orbit. And here’s later in the trip when it was nighttime so of course I put on my inspired-by-Padmé nightgown and took pictures playing with my hair in front of space.
The second thing we did when we arrived was head down to the Crown of Corellia to have lunch. The crown of Corellia was the only dining area on the Starcruiser and it was different during the daytime and during the evening much like a cruise here on Earth. The cafeteria version of the Crown of Corellia, where seating was not assigned and it was all buffet. You would get your tray and then bring it out and sit down wherever you would like.
They had these really incredible lights that I honestly want one in my bedroom now. It’s really hard to describe but the really bright, colorful lighting and these clear plastic overlays that just… it really looked like something on a spaceship. And then in the evening, they would dim the lights and it would become a little more upscale. A little more romantic. During the evening there was assigned seating. You had the same table on each night, and the same waiter so they got to know you and your family. They really succeeded in making the room look different during the day and during the evening.
One of the fun rooms on that same level was the Climate Simulator, a room that would simulate the climate of other planets. So of course while we were on the ship they were simulating the climate of Batuu AKA Florida. I really liked the fact that I matched the flowers that were in this room so I had to take a selfie. And then in the middle they had a sort of meditation area where people would take these little rocks and build a little tower of rocks. It sounds very Jedi to me, that naturalistic, mindfulness journey. I can definitely imagine doing yoga in the Climate Simulator if that was an option. And of course I had to make my own little rock tower.
Also on that main level is the surprising brig. The Halcyon was commissioned during the time of the Empire and so it was used by the Empire to transport prisoners. And therefore they have a brig. And shockingly, the brig was also used during the voyage when certain people who may or may not resist the First Order would get caught and end up in there. But the fun thing about the brig for me is that I accidentally broke into Engineering through it.
Getting into Engineering is one of the first things that you do on the Halcyon as part of the storyline. Now there are a couple different ways of doing it, you can sneak in, or you can break in, or you can get permission to get in. But as part of my exploration just wandering around I got into the brig and I realized that there was an open panel. And I looked at my friend, Jeanne, and I said “Obviously I’m supposed to go through this, right?” I mean, it’s just an open panel, waiting. I could see that there was the Engineering room on the other side and i had not gotten the key to get into Engineering yet. So even though I was wearing a skirt and I was not a child I decided to go into that panel and crawl into the Engineering room.
So there were storylines in Engineering but there was also just, you could go in there and play around and play with different things, And oops we accidentally broke the ship. oh no the alarms are going off….
I loved that my Disney photographer took a picture of me enacting Princess Leia in A New Hope. I mean, life goals achieved!
All around the ship there were also just set pieces, works of art. And they would always have a sign next to them, The information was in the Star Wars language of aurebesh, but on your datapad you had a translator so that you could read it. Sometimes there were secret messages and sometimes it was just part of the story.
The lounge area was possibly my favorite part of the Starcruiser. It felt like I was going to the cantina on Tatooine or was going to Maz Kanata’s establishment as if I were in A New Hope or The Force Awakens. And it was always crowded. There was just this atmosphere of merriment and also subterfuge that was just exactly what I was looking for in an immersive Star Wars experience.
There were four different seating areas in the bar. First, around the walls they carved out space for a table and seating. In the center of the bar was the Sabbac table, which was always busy. The only time i got to sit at it was when I was leaving, when we were all disembarking so there was no one else in the lounge. And there were small tables throughout the bar for two or three or four people to sit around. And finally the bar had the bar area. Again, I never had the chance to actually sit at it, but you can see how colorful it is. Just the whole lounge area was bright and beautiful, same as with the Crown of Corellia, Everything was just this amazing color scheme that really felt fun. And this is why the lounge is my favorite, I really feel like I’m living in Star Wars.
Finally I wanted to point out something amazing. Something that I noticed as soon as we were in the atrium after I changed into my outfit was that I matched the decor. The benches and the railing, it was all in the same maroon and gold that I was dressed in. I had no foreknowledge of what the Starcruiser looked like and somehow I came up with an outfit that 100% matched it. This became completely obvious when they put out this red and gold carpet for our fashion show and I look like I am dressed as the carpet. Now most people would say this is a coincidence but I say: chaos powers. And I am thrilled that it happened.
So that’s the Halcyon!
Thank you for listening to Endless Anakin.
Follow my playlists on YouTube and Spotify and after the episode, the song I’ve discussed will immediately play. Show notes and links can be found at anakin.me. That’s A-N-A-K-I-N-dot-me. See you next time and may the Force be with you. [Accessing 🎵]
And I also want to give a quick shout out to Delaney, who was the amazingly wonderful Disney cast member -slash- Starcruiser employee that helped us find our group. She got us through the crowds, right up next to the rest of our group, so we were able to board all together. They didn’t have to wait too long for us. It was an amazing service and i just really want to thank Disney and Delaney personally for making sure that the beginning of our vacation was as magical as possible.
Endless Anakin is a Manic Pixie Dust production. Song: “Robots Don’t Cry”, Anika Dane
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