Friday, November 14, 2008

Star Trek Experience Tribute - Original Artwork



Last week in my article about the upcoming new Star Trek movie, I've mentioned the now extinct Star Trek Experience attraction. As i found back the beautiful original artwork, here is a special artwork article for this week-end. double-click on each image to enjoy the high-res scans of each artwork.

The Las Vegas Star Trek Experience attraction was a themed attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton based on the Star Trek fictional universe that opened in January 1998 and closed in September 2008. When it opened the main attraction was a simulator ride called The Klingon Encounter. The pavilion underwent one major renovation in 2004 which added the Borg Invasion 4-D attraction, which used state-of-the-art amusement technology where guests experienced an encounter with the Borg. The artwork below released for the press before the opening in 1998 focus only on the first version of Star Trek Experience.

Here is a beautiful rendering showing the entrance of the Star Trex Experience.



After purchasing a ticket, which allowed the guest to board the attractions an unlimited amount of times that day, one walked through a museum that included numerous items from Star Trek history - top of the rendering below. It also featured several video display devices and a timeline of Star Trek events. Later, there were displays for each of the major alien races, which included the Borg, Klingons, and Ferengi. The last section of the museum was a hallway that served as the attraction queues. The left side was for the Borg Invasion 4-D, and the right side was for Klingon Encounter. Because the Borg ride held about twice as many people, that line moved more quickly (each show lasted about 18 minutes). The Klingon Encounter held 27 people while the Borg Invasion 4-D held 48 people. Each show was constructed so that those "in the back" for the first part of the show would, in turn, likely end up in the front for the second half of either show.

After the attraction guests could enjoyed the merchandise shop and especially the Quark's Bar that you can see at the bottom of the rendering below.



The Klingon encounter attraction: Initially, the visitors entered first a small room with a depiction of "outer space". A small television in the upper right corner of the room displayed scenes from several Star Trek movies.

The group then entered a smaller, dimly lit waiting area of a traditional simulator ride. Visitors lined up in rows in front of doors, as hosts direct their attention to the screens above for a safety demo for the shuttlecraft simulator ride. A few moments into the film, the televisions flickered, malfunctioned, and the lights went out. A variety of loud noises accompanied by hundreds of small light flashes that visually simulate the "transporter effect," along with the transporter sound effect and a rush of cold air (which, according to backstage tour guides, was an unintentional but appreciated effect caused by a false room being raised into the ceiling). When the lights returned, the walls and floor and ceiling have apparently disappeared and you were on a transporter pad (a room much larger than you were previously standing, without the doors you were ready to walk through!). You are now aboard the USS Enterprise-D, transporter room as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

On the transporter pad, a uniformed Starfleet officer asked for the leaders of the group and directed them away for instruction. It was explained that the visitors were beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise to "what you would call the future" and the group is then led to the bridge.

The group stood on the rear between the science stations and the tactical station. There were various busy crewmembers on the bridge, and they contact Commander Riker, who promptly appears on the main viewscreen. Riker explained that Captain Picard disappeared the moment the group beamed aboard the Enterprise and thus one member of the group must be Picard's ancestor. A nefarious rogue Klingon Commander named Korath used a hidden time-rift to abduct Picard's ancestor and erase him from the timeline. Starfleet intelligence, having learned of the plan, dispatched the Enterprise to intercept the Klingon's transporter beam and rescue the entire group. Riker directs the group to board a shuttlecraft to go escape the temporal rift, and return all guests to their original time.

While the group was in the turbolift, the Klingons attack the Enterprise and the turbolift enters a free fall. There are several jolts on the turbolift during the attack. Finally, the group arrives in the Grand Corridor and at the shuttle bay deck.
Below, a rendering of the Grand Corridor.



The group boarded the shuttlecraft. The shuttle ride began with a battle between the Enterprise and a few Klingon vessels. Then, the shuttle went into warp and was then instructed to find and destroy a cloaking generator on the planet's surface. There were several dogfights and visual effects during this time.



The shuttle then returned through the temporal rift to present-day Las Vegas (although filmed almost 10 years ago, things as the Sands Hotel tower, a sign promoting Siegfried & Roy, might lead one to believe the shuttle returned prior to their abduction). Unfortunately a Klingon ship followed, however Enterprise saved the shuttle at the last minute. The 'real' shuttle landed at the Las Vegas Hilton right next to the "motion simulators" shuttles the visitors were originally waiting to enter when they were "beamed off" at the start of the story. Before the crew of the Enterprise leaves, Captain Picard thanks the crew for "restoring his existence." He says, "While only one of you is my ancestor, each of you hold that same opportunity for the future. Guard it well."

Typically a custodian led the group to an elevator and then out to the Deep Space Nine Promenade and Quark's Bar.

Another great idea of Star Trek Experience was the theming of the casino - we're in Las Vegas, let's not forget it...it was originally themed as if it was an outer space casino and through the window bays one could see movie of outer space supposed to give the feeling that the casino was a kind of space station. Unfortunately after some years they canceled these rear-projections effect and when i visited the attraction five years ago it was not there any more.



I remember that I loved this Star Trek Experience, the teleportation room, the Enterprise bridge, the grand corridor, all this was wonderfully done, and i'll miss it forever!

For more informations about the Borg Encounter attraction that was added in 2004, please read the Wikipedia page from where most of the description text of this article is coming from.

Artwork: copyright Paramount Parks

3 comments:

dougeebear said...

I enjoyed the STE as well, visiting it every trip to Vegas. My last visit included the Borg Experience, which as I recall led immediately onto the ship corridors(no time travel involved, so no explanation of how you got into or back from the future) in the midst of a Borg invasion. Running through twisting hallways leads you to the theater (again, it made no sense - Why am I in a theater?). The film was engaging, the "4D" effects less so (seats poked you in the back while "installing" Borg devices) and I remember the Borg Queen making an appearance.

But I remember much more distinctly the Star Trek Experience, especially the transporter effect and the Bridge, and the dedicated and entertaining cast members.

dougeebear said...

Just read the Wiki article and it seems the STE is being moved downtown! Look for it to open inside Neonopolis in Jan 2009.

Greg Chin said...

This was the best place to buy real high-quality "Star Trek" merchandise, like the ST-TOS Phaser II Pistols. I really enjoyed the place, too.