The Failures of Institutionalism: Disney’s New Star Wars Hotel Rejected by the Fans

Corporate Failure

To understand why and how liberalism is failing currently and will continue to fail, a great example of what’s to come was displayed when Disney released a preview video for their new Star Wars Hotel experience.  Fans had been waiting for over eight years for the opening of this more than a billion-dollar investment, and what Disney showed the public instantly went from ambitious hope to fandom scorn for the immense wokeness contained in the project.  I certainly wanted to give the project a chance. I would have liked to take my grandchildren and children to this hotel if it looked any good.   After all, I raised my family on Star Wars and the various stories of good and evil in such a modern storybook fashion.  But what Disney did with Star Wars and the hotel experience was full of contemporary liberalism in every way that we can see it failing, from the Biden administration to the global greenie weenies at the United Nations.  These people at Disney, who had infinite resources to spend on this hotel experience and Star Wars itself, didn’t understand what they had bought from George Lucas. They presented the ultimate failure of liberalism, which I found very interesting and relevant to our modern observations.  After a very long wait, the hotel is supposed to open in a few months, March of 2022.  The video itself looks like a child made it, and for what Star Wars means to people, everyone expected from Disney a lot more. 

Part of that billion-dollar investment went into making the Galaxy’s Edge experience at the two Disney parks in Florida and California.  My wife and I went to the one in Florida once it opened, and I thought it was magnificent for the price of a $100 admission ticket.  To see some full-scale props from the movies was worth the money.  I enjoyed myself and thought it was a great experience.  But this hotel experience was poised to be something like a “West World” experience, or Fantasy Island from the old television show where you came to Disney to realize a fantasy of living in Star Wars for a two-day affair.  And for that experience, it would cost around $6,000 to $10,000.  So naturally, what they were selling was very ambitious, and people were excited about it.  The point of releasing a preview video, which they did in mid-December 2021, was to book reservations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023.  But the video turned out to be so bad that the opposite happened.  People started canceling their reservations as soon as they saw the video because it looked and felt nothing like Star Wars.  I covered this problem years ago on a radio show with a guy who is now a Disney employee.  Way back in 2013, when this Disney Hotel was just announced, we contemplated the problem Disney would have with its anti-gun politics when Star Wars was all about guns.  How do you have fun with Star Wars without promoting “war?” When fans attended the hotel experience but couldn’t wear around their blasters, it wouldn’t feel like Star Wars, and that is precisely what the first problem was with the video promo. 

It looked like the people who developed the concept for the hotel were more in love with the movie, The Fifth Element rather than Star Wars.  The cantina singer as the feature in the video was a clear sign that the Disney creators thought Star Wars was all about funny colored aliens, space, and orchestral music.  They didn’t understand the heart and soul of what made the films so beloved in the first place. It’s the kind of corporate failure I see all the time and talk about extensively in my book The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business.  I wasn’t upset by the video, but it certainly solidified my plans for 2022.  There was no way I would spend $20-30,000 in 2022 to take my family to this Star Wars experience.  To understand their target audience at this hotel, the Disney planners would have done well to study the current video games, Battlefront, Call of Duty, and Fortnite.  With the amount of money Disney wants for the hotel, they should know that, at a minimum, they should be offering some kind of competitive laser tag experience, something that simulates pulse-pounding action with real consequences to the story.  People were not going to spend that kind of money to watch people sing and eat food.  But to be fair, the Disney philosophy had no chance out of the gate; as a woke company going after what they think is the emerging middle class of China, they are not prepared to tell Star Wars stories.  They believe that as a media company, they set society’s values instead of offering the products that society wants. It’s a fine line that they have lost, but it’s more a condition of modern liberalism in general and institutional failure on a massive scale.  Institutions are not powerful if they don’t embody what the public wants as a consumer class.  And Disney has lost its way the more corporate they have become and moved away from the foundations of Uncle Walt Disney himself.  That is the same thing that has happened to Star Wars the more they have moved away from George Lucas, who created the franchise. 

The mistake was that the modern corporate Star Wars approach had all the tools for success right in their breadbasket, but they approached it all with the wrong philosophy, which carries over to the more significant message here.  If all the values of institutionalism were as they assumed, the Star Wars Hotel would have been a slam dunk for Disney.  They had the money.  They had the best and brightest of modern college graduates.  They had a proven brand that spanned decades as a money maker.  What could go wrong?  Well, wokeism, for one.  But deeper than that, it’s the corporate approach that fails in all companies to some degree or another, whether it’s McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, or Nike.  Once a product becomes affiliated with a political movement, such as globalism, it loses its use as art. It becomes simply a tool of a detached class of people stuck in their own versions of quicksand in life.  Star Wars was always about rebellion against tyranny.

Here were the Disney people all too happy to be a compliance culture trying to make a Star Wars experience for people, complete with masks indoors in a state-run by Ron DeSantis, who has been the best against such idiocy.  Because of their political intentions toward liberalism, Disney masks their employees and guests on purpose.  They didn’t have to, but they wanted to be part of that “woke” culture they think the world will be driven by.  In the video, they put out there were no signs of masculinity, which is essential because Star Wars was always designed for boys 8-12 years of age.  Trying to create an “expanded market” with outreach to girls and people of color has only destroyed the original base of the franchise.  So now Disney has made something that nobody wants.  Their target audience for this hotel experience would have been the Comic-Con types who would spend thousands of dollars on a Star Wars experience.  But now, they have all those types of people against them as they are insulted by Disney’s approach.  And after watching all this, it looked like our nightly news and the perplexity that many global institutionalists are having when they wonder why people don’t want Build Back Better, the CDC, or to be controlled by the United Nations.  When institutionalism and the necessities of individuals are not aligned, we can see these kinds of failures everywhere.  But what’s essential about the Disney case is that it proves that no amount of money can solve the problem and make people think something they don’t.

Rich Hoffman

Click to buy The Gunfighter’s Guide to Business

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