We just returned from 7 nights on the Disney Fantasy, where we experienced Star Wars Day at Sea. There are a total of 8 Star Wars day at Sea sailings through April, including the one we were on. I am a casual Star Wars fan – I enjoy the films (most of them), and have attended most Star Wars Weekends – but I’m not a superfan.
I tried to keep my expectations somewhat low for the cruise, since this was the first of its kind at sea. And in most ways, Disney exceeded what I was hoping for. It wasn’t a perfect day, but I thought Disney overall did a pretty solid job. We did pay fully for our cruise, booking as soon as we learned about it. It ended up being a pretty reasonably priced cruise, even without a Florida Resident discount – the same stateroom category would have cost nearly $2,000 more as the cruise neared.
What can you expect from Star Wars Day at Sea? Here are some thoughts and tips from the first sailing (including our Mousesteps Weekly YouTube Show #172 at the end of the article). There are a lot of spoilers here. We didn’t experience everything, skipping trivia and not making it to Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple in particular. I expect each sailing to be very similar, but things can change. And I should have another article including many more photos on Thursday or Friday.
Star Wars Day at Sea is not a full Star Wars cruise. I had numerous questions during the cruise on my social media about how the “Star Wars cruise” was going. The majority of the week is just as usual, with one full day of Star Wars activities. Star Wars Day at Sea merchandise was released into the shops on the second day and stayed there most of the week, and Star Wars movies were played every day. Star Wars was always a presence, but in a much smaller way except for one sea day.
Stormtrooper during Pool Patrol with the AquaDuck in view.
Skip the Star Wars photo backdrop at the beginning of the cruise unless there is a short wait. – The photo backdrop in the atrium was there until the final day, and often had no wait. Even later on boarding day offered a shorter line.
Star Wars Day at Sea backdrop
Make a plan before the Star Wars Day at Sea. – There is quite a bit to do on the ship, from Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple to roaming characters, from hearing the Imperial March on the Disney Fantasy horn (it was played 3 times during the day) to the Costume Celebration and interactive character meet and greets. The day can go fast, especially if you decide to take in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the Walt Disney Theater (it is a much more comfortable theater than the Buena Vista Theater to see the film, and in 3-D). Make a plan of what you want to see. The Stormtrooper Pool Patrol wasn’t on the app and just a blip on the schedule, but was a fun addition. The kids clubs also had Star Wars activities.
This is our video of the Storm Trooper Pool Patrol.
Boba Fett above the pool
This is our video of Boba Fett above the pool.
Roaming Characters Can Get Mobbed. – If you’ve been to Star Wars Weekends, think of this part as a light version of it. There aren’t as many characters out and about like the event that ended last year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the roaming ones do get surrounded at times by a lot of guests. It wasn’t a problem for us, but one guest told us that she skipped bringing her kids to it because of the roaming aspect (as opposed to characters that allow for an orderly line). The characters were roving for about 11 hours, and later in the afternoon was better for crowds. It was odd to hear the evening atrium entertainment replace Star Wars Music, as Jawas and Zam Wesell were meandering about in the atrium to songs like Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine”.
Jawas on the Disney Fantasy
A Tusken Raider stares down a guest
Here is our Star Wars Day at Sea character montage video.
Sign Up for an Interactive Character Experience. – Guests should receive a form in the room at the beginning of the cruise (I had to hunt one down), offering one meet and greet with characters in a setting from Tatooine, Bespin or the Dark Side. There were two alternating characters (or character sets, in the case of R2-D2 and C-3PO) in each location. Guests can choose priority on these character meets. We received two meet and greets, everyone we know did. A friend had one different location than what we were given, and we checked it out with him when his family chose not to attend. Unfortunately, you couldn’t ask for a specific character. For example, when we were in the line for Darth Vader or Captain Phasma, we wanted the latter and the guests behind us had no idea who she was and wanted to meet Darth Vader. In the Tatooine location, they weren’t so strict – we waited in chairs, as did other guests, for R2-D2 and C-3PO while Darth Maul was greeting. I do hope Disney – in future cruises – is a little more flexible. Offering lines for guests who want to meet a different character would be extremely easy. The lines we encountered during the “interactive experience” were not long, Disney did a great job at managing that. One of our times ended up being for morning on the following day.
Star Wars Day at Sea interactive experience form
Star Wars Day at Sea interactive form (opposite side)
Tickets for the meet and greets. Each room received one ticket covering all guests.
R2-D2 and C-3PO have a great backdrop.
Here is our video of C-3PO and R2-D2.
Chewie showed us the “Chewie Chill” at his meet and greet.
Don’t Expect Star Wars Celebrities, Insiders or Autograph Sessions. – Disney touted this as one of the perks on the Star Wars Day at Sea cruises. Considering how many celebrities Disney always had for Star Wars Weekends, it was a surprise that there were none here – nor insiders…nor autographs. There was one Imagineer, and she didn’t seem to be able to answer many questions. This was the one real disappointment of the event. I don’t know if this will change for future cruises.
Guests wore masks and full costumes on the first Star Wars Day at Sea.- One of the highlights of Star Wars Day at Sea for me was seeing the costume creativity. The costumes ranged from full body – Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and many more – to simpler outfits such as Her Universe dresses and such. The parks currently are strict as far as costumes, but the first Star Wars Day at Sea was great – just anything and everything seemed to be allowed. There is a Guest Costume Celebration, it happened twice on the Star Wars Day at Sea – it was worth attending, though I enoyed seeing guests in costume around the ship.
Jabba the Hutt
Fireworks and the late buffet are moved from Pirate Night to the Star Wars Day at Sea.- There is no Buccaneer Blast! fireworks show or late buffet on Pirate Night. Those are saved for the Star Wars Day at Sea.
Don’t miss the Summon the Force show and fireworks. – While the Summon the Force show doesn’t rival..say, Hyperspace Hoopla at Star Wars Weekends, it is worth seeing and culminates in the fireworks display (the only one at sea). Make sure to save plenty of time to arrive and see the show, as the deck does get crowded. There is a dance party immediately afterwards.
Summon the Force Show
Summon the Force Fireworks Show
This is our full video of the Summon the Force Show.
And our video of the Summon the Force Fireworks.
Special Star Wars menus are offered. – Guests can order counter service items that include Death Star Pizza and the Darth Vader Bantha Burger. I’m not sure what made the pizza a special Death Star Pizza, but that was the name. I liked that they use the same Star Wars themed food liner as in the parks. And in the dining rooms, there was a Star Wars Voyage Through the Galaxy menu. The menu itself is gorgeous, I wish those were for sale. The food itself didn’t look themed at all – even though each item had a name like “Stormtrooper Flatbread” and the interestly titled “Princess Leia’s Warm Apricot Pudding”. The desserts sometimes had a Star Wars chocolate add-on, but that was about it. During the late buffet, the decor and desserts had some theming.
Death Star Pizza included as a counter service option
Darth Vader Bantha Burger
Darth Vader Bantha Burger as served
Star Wars Voyage Through the Galaxy menu
Entrees from the Death Star
In the buffet area, this was a Star Wars topping on one dessert
Star Wars decorations around the ship are minimal. – Actually, decorations around the ship are nearly non-existent. Cast Members wear Star Wars nametags (with their real names) and there is the backdrop in the lobby. Otherwise, most Star Wars decorative accents can be found on the doors of guests or at the Star Wars evening buffet.
Star Wars Day at Sea late buffet
Here is our Mousesteps Weekly #172, all about Star Wars Day at Sea.
While a few tweaks could make this event even better, it was a fun day. If you have photos taken by ship photographers, they will have the Star Wars Day at Sea logo. The prints are expensive, but one can make a nice souvenir. As far as merchandise, the special LE pin from the first sailing wasn’t available yet, but other pins from LE sailings were available. So I have no idea what is going on with LE merchandise, but there was plenty of everything else to go around. If you are looking for a tie fighter popcorn bucket, don’t buy it at the park – it was $15.00 onboard and included popcorn and I think a drink as well. The BB-8 sipper and other sippers were each $8.25 or so with drink.
There was also a small stateroom gift (a window cling).
We will have much more coming from Star Wars Day at Sea! Upcoming dates are:
January 23, 2016
February 6, 2016
February 20, 2016
March 5, 2016
March 19, 2016
April 2, 2016
April 16, 2016