Since opening in early 1998, Star Trek The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton has been the premiere live Star Trek attraction in the world. With its Trek-themed restaurant, museum, shops and rides, it plays hosts to thousands of tourists and Trekkies every year. However, the current contract is up and it looks like 2008 may be the last year for Star Trek The Experience.
The contract between CBS and Cedar Fair (current owners of The Experience) ends December 31st, and a spokesperson for Cedar Fair tells TrekMovie “there are currently no plans to renew” it. Talks are still ongoing and, although Cedar Fair is said to be happy with recent results from The The Experience due to effective cost-reductions, the attendance has been in decline for years (even after the introduction of the ‘Borg Invasion 4D‘ ride in 2004). The only ray of hope right now is that the new Star Trek feature film in 2009 may show promise of increased attendance. A final decision on The Experience is expected by the end of May.
Another possible lifeline for The Experience could be for Cedar Fair to sell it to another company and for there to be a new deal struck with CBS (and the Hilton). Cedar Fair took over The Experience, when it purchased Paramount Parks from Viacom in 2006.
If Star Trek The Experience is to close, then the current contract calls for them to entirely vacate their current location in the Hilton Hotel by December 31st, 2008. Since Cedar Fair will need time to dismantle the attraction, TrekMovie is told The Experience would likely close to visitors in September or October (if the contract isn’t renewed). At that time, all the genuine props and many of the replicas would be returned to CBS. It hasn’t been decided what would be done with the Star Trek related replicas owned by Cedar Fair, but it is possible they would be auctioned off.
A closure of the Experience would also have an impact on the annual official Creation Star Trek Convention, which has been held at the Las Vegas Hilton since the Experience opened there. Creation CEO Gary Berman tells TrekMovie that they would continue to hold the convention in Vegas (as they did for a decade before The Experience opened), but Creation would consider moving to a different hotel. Berman would be interested in getting a location closer to ‘the strip,’ but would want to ensure the new hotel offered fans prices as reasonable as those of the Hilton. If you want to be sure to see The Experience one last time (or first time), this year’s convention may be a good choice.
So far CBS (the Star Trek license holder) has refused any comment regarding the future of Star Trek The Experience. As the story develops TrekMovie will provide updates.