My Experience With the Star Trek Experience

Written by: Mike McCafferty (Slice of SciFi Contributor)

The Star Trek Experience closed last week after a 10-year voyage. Citing conflicts between the hotel and Experience owners (read: money), the largest ongoing Star Trek convention, complete with rides, museum, shops and props is now no more. It was a Mecca for those “of the body” to “trek” to at least once in their lives and amongst all the glittering, headache inducing elements of Las Vegas, it was a fascinating oasis of geekiness.

I had been there many times and will never forget the first time I sat down in Quark’s bar and ordered a Romulan Ale. My friend and I sat their, enjoying our trip to the 24th century for a good two hours, doing nothing but staring at the level of detail and the clips of the various series broadcast on the monitors. We perused the museum with it’s timeline of history made and yet to be and props built years ago for years from now. We sampled the food, imbibed the drinks and soaked in the type M atmosphere. Everything was amazing.

The rides were also first rate. I can finally give away the awesome beginning of the Klingon Encounter where you think you’re going to watch a stupid safety video about motion simulators. All of a sudden the lights go out, a transporter noise is heard and when the lights come back up, you are on the transporter pad of THE ENTERPRISE 1701-D! From there you walked down an enterprise corridor to a turbo lift and entered the bridge, complete with crew members and a working viewscreen. I’m surprised they didn’t also have defibulators everywhere for all the fanboys, who would collapse at the sight of their lifelong dream.

I will say that toward the end of the 10-year run, the place started to show its age. Not much changed year-to-year and less attention was spent restoring the environment or the displays. Roaming characters knew less and less about the franchise and when quizzed about basic knowledge would defer to pat answers involving Starfleet security. The low point had to be during the Borg Invasion ride. As we’re roaming down some corridor, our Starfleet Officer (previously a male dancer at some revue) shouts to us, “Look out, there’s a Borg chasing us!” We turn, expecting to see the terrifying visage of a sleek Borg Drone hot on our tails, but instead, they’ve stuffed some 300-pound dude into the sleek outfit, dramatically reducing its sleekness. The guy waddles toward us and everyone just stares in lurid fascination at this horrible miscasting. After a moment the Dance Captain again implores us to move or well be assimilated. I felt the solid urge to turn to him and say, “Honestly, I think we’ve got some time here.” Eventually, we leave out of a sense of courtesy to the Borg, as he’s sweating way too much and don’t want to make his job any harder.

Despite the small quibbles (tribbles?) about the place, I am very sad to see it go. As in the episode “Obsession”, something just said, “Home” when you stepped into the promenade. It was a physical manifestation not only of places we’d seen on the television but also a representation of all the hope that we put into the future — into Star Trek’s optimistic future.

Not a lot of us are going to survive to the 24th century, so to see this possible, positive future lovingly created is about as close as we come. And for ten good years, It was a future worth visiting.

Comments

  1. Glenda says

    Huge mistake to close the Experience, especially with a new movie on the horizon. It was what got me to Vegas that first time, and I never missed the opportunity to chat with a Ferengi when I returned. Who would even know there was a Hilton that far off the Strip if not lured there by trekkies?

    I was in Vegas just a few days after it closed (*sigh*). It felt almost obscene to see the Star Trek signs still up in front of the hotel and hear the cheery pre-recorded jokes about Klingons riding the monorail.

    Sure, the Borgs weren’t nearly as scary as should have been, but I’ll not risk disturbing the timeline by revealing the ending of the shuttle ride! ;-)

  2. Tallgrrl says

    How sad.
    I live here in Hell—I mean, Las Vegas, and I’ve been to the Experience numerous times.
    I attended the premier of Star Trek: Insurrection and got to hang at the party, which was held at The Experience.
    The ride was free that night so a friend and fellow attendee went and got back in line for a second go. It was great fun, and we were in line with Garrett Wong and a friend of his. (The nicest people. Ever!) It was like being at Disneyland with your pals.
    After the fun of the line, which winds through the “museum” of all that is Trek, the 4 of us also all ended up on the ride together.
    When I had visitors to town, I’d take them to The Experience and even if we didn’t go on the ride, we’d hang at Quark’s Bar.
    Ah well…I now have another reason not to go down to The Strip.

  3. jason says

    I am a canadian. Yes we have tv up here. I am a great fan of the shows the movies etc. I have never been to a convention. THis was the closest i have i ever come. Yes the first time i saw was in september of 2007. It was one of the greatest movie/tv shows to come to life i have ever seen. Better then disnelyand(and i am a great fan admirer and lover if disneyland) as there was a real threat and real feel to it that for those 20 minutes or so in the ride you were there and the willing suspension of disbeleif worked. The musem was a wonderful trip down mermory lane for those of us who grew up in the seventies watching reruns of the orginal. Quark’s although aged when i went was still a thrill to order the targe beast ribs(i belive forgive me trekkers and trekkies if i spelt wrong) and of course the picture in the capatains chair was a highlight that i will never forget. All in all star trek: the experince was an experince of non-compare anywhere on this planet and will be saddly missed and longed for for generations to come(or maybe if news reports are to belived till next year) rember to live long and prosper and that the needs of the many usually outway the needs of the few (inless you are the illogical captain kirk) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  4. Sarek says

    I too am sadened by the S.T. Experience. I traveled to and enjoyed the Experience on 2 different occasions. It does seem that the potential revenue loss with the opening of the new movie is going to be substantial. Hopefully there will be a new home and greater interest generated that will bring it back to the forefront of everyone mind. Whats going to happen to all the merchandise that was in the star trek shop. I’d love to purchase some of that.

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