Ann Morrow Johnson
The Otherworldly Imagineer
Over the past 10 years, architect Ann Morrow Johnson has worked with Disney producing one-of-a-kind projects, most recently as the Vice President of Blue Sky & Creative Development Studios at Walt Disney Imagineering. Before she took on her biggest project to date — last year’s out-of-this world Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — she held several positions at the House of Mouse, beginning with a three-year role as an assistant project manager responsible for Disneyland’s Star Wars Awakens. Her career quickly went into warp speed as she rocketed up the ranks, first as the global producer of all international and short-term domestic Star Wars projects, then as the creative director on multiple Blue Sky projects, concepts and experiences.
It took five years for Ann Morrow Johnson and her team to create the latest (and possibly the greatest) Star Wars attraction: The experiential hotel Galactic Starcruiser, set within the boundaries of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The 100-room resort, themed like a luxury cruise ship set in space, included screens designed to simulate space, as well as “on-board experiences” where guests were assigned roles to take part in storylines across their two-day stay. It included elements of role-playing and character engagement, with droids rolling around the ship, and an “off-world excursion” to the planet of Batuu. While the price of boarding the Starcruiser proved too steep to be sustainable long-term, the theme hotel was a truly an incredible undertaking and breakthrough achievement, earning a TEA Thea Award in April 2023.