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Star Trek The Experience Closure Follow-up + CBS Hints At A Future

On Sunday TrekMovie first broke the news that Star Trek The Experience in Las Vegas will close this September. Today we have a follow-up with statements and exclusive comments on the closure from Cedar Fair and CBS. Plus we have reactions from some of the fans who were trying to save The Experience as well as Borg 4D (and Voyager) star Robert Picardo.

 

Cedar Fair makes it official – staff saddened
Yesterday Cedar Fair, who acquired Star Trek The Experience when it purchased Paramount Parks in 2006,  issued a brief press release stating:

Star Trek: The Experience, Las Vegas’ premier interactive attraction will conclude its historic 11 year run at the Las Vegas Hilton on September 1, 2008.

Since 1998, millions of guests have gone boldly into the 24th century to battle Klingons, Borg, and other hostile aliens. The original complex featured the Klingon Encounter, an interactive adventure and ride. In 2004 Borg Invasion 4-D was introduced and the Secrets Unveiled Backstage Tour was unveiled in 2005, making Star Trek: the Experience the stomping grounds for fans around the galaxy.

Chad Boutte, Operations Manager and Director of Marketing for Star Trek The Experience is quoted in the release giving STTE a Trekkian farewell:

Hailing frequencies open. We’d like to thank all the fans and friends of Star Trek, whose constant and amazing support we’ve enjoyed throughout our tenure at the Las Vegas Hilton. As we boldly go into the futures that await, know that we take your love of Star Trek: The Experience with us. We share the memories of time spent in the most unique place in the Galaxy, and we carry those memories into our futures with us. Live long, and prosper.

Hailing frequencies closed.

Boutte also talked to TrekMovie and said he was personally saddened by the closure. He joined STTE before the Cedar Fair acquisition and his first job there was as a Borg Drone, before he assimilated his way into management. 

Boutte says that that due to the closure he expects the Experience to get a big influx of fans wanting to see it and Quarks Bar for the last time. In fact this has already started, and some fans are even trying to take home makeshift souvenirs, especially menus from Quark’s restaurant. Boutte is confident that they can handle the influx, even during the August convention, noting that they handled over 6,000 visitors on the 10th Anniversary in January (the free tickets for Nevada residents helped that one).

Boutte says that what he will miss most of all are the 160 full and part time employees, of which he stated "I have never worked with a more enthusiastic and devoted crew in my life." Boutte said that even though the staff  were prepared for it to potentially close, many took the news hard.  Boutte hopes that they can do some special events between now and the closing on September 1st, and he is going to be looking to his dedicated team for ideas so they can be involved in how The Experience says goodbye.


STTE staff really get into character

CBS holding out hope?
Although CBS Consumer Products, who handle Star Trek licensing, has confirmed that Star Trek The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton is to close in September and that their relationship with Cedar Fair will end by December 31st, there still appears to be hope for future. A spokesperson for CBS Consumer Products tells TrekMovie:

We’re extremely proud of the 10-year run Star Trek The Experience had in Las Vegas. We’re currently exploring several options to continue The Experience for the public to enjoy for years to come.

The spokesperson would not provide any detail on what these options are. However, the spokesperson did confirm that the original props and costumes at the Experience (which are owned by CBS), will not be put up for auction. It was indicated that these would be needed if The Experience is to find a new home sometime in the future.


Artifacts from the Museum of the Future at STTE

Picardo will miss being ‘attraction’
Robert Picardo (VOY: The Doctor), who appears in the Borg 4-D motion simulator ride which was installed in 2004, is also sorry to see The Experience shut down. As reported by SyFyPortal, on a conference call promoting his new role on Stargate Atlantis the actor lamented:

It breaks my heart a little bit to no longer be my own theme park ride. Once you have an action figure for years, there are only a few ways to go up, and being a theme park attraction is one of the only ones.


Trailer for Borg 4-D Ride, featuring Picardo

Fans saddened, but not surprised
Since TrekMovie first reported that the future of The Experience was in doubt, many fans and Experience regulars have been trying to do what they can to save it. One of the more active Experience advocates is Steven Biggs, who encouraging fans at many sites and forums to contact people at CBS and Cedar Fair to bolster the case to keep The Experience open. Biggs tells TrekMovie that he has been campaigning to save The Experience "because it was the last bastion of Star Trek and a great presentation of the whole 40 history of Trek, and I just didn’t want to see it go." Biggs, who worked at The Experience, starting as a loader at the opening in 1998 and ending his career as a Klingon in 2002, visits once or twice a year since moving to California, but has been going more often recently due to the possible closure. Even though he has been a strong advocate for The Experience, Biggs says he understands it was a business decision and he has now given up on his ‘save The Experience’ campaign, saying “I was hoping to nudge them, but now that it is decided…that’s it.”


Biggs (AKA Kralk, son of T’Nek) backstage at STTE

Brad Siegel, an advertising sales executive from New Jersey and frequent out of town visitor, has also been actively advocating The Experience. He tells TrekMovie that that he will mostly miss the community that grew up around The Experience, especially at Quark’s Restaurant, noting:

There is no place like home at Quark’s. Bartenders Jeff and Shannon provided more than beverage service. They offered great conversation and companionship that truly made a visit to Quark’s something special. And then there are the characters – among the best – an Andorian named Kastron and a Borg named 3 of 6. Where else on the planet Earth could you turn around and see Klingons, Andorians or Ferengie getting along side by side with Humans?


Brad (and fiancé) at STTE

The fans who will be impacted the most will be those who live in and around Las Vegas. One group that will especially feel the pain is the 60-member USS Las Vegas fan club who hold their monthly meetings at Quarks Bar. ‘Captain’ Paul Walker tells TrekMovie that his members were all regulars for both the attraction and Quark’s and well known to the staff.  Walker says they are "saddened" over the closing and they aren’t sure where they would go next for their meetings. However, Walker says even though he is "discouraged," he is not surprised that The Experience is closing.

I understand the economics, the attendance has dropped. As others have commented, they are not advertising it. They are not promoting it. Cedar Fair bought it but doesn’t know what to do with it.

Walker feels that the lack of promotion, rising admission prices (Gen. Admission is now $49.99), and especially the lack of updates were all factors in why attendance has fallen. He and his fellow regulars feel that if The Experience were to be extended, some things would have to change, noting:

Klingon Encounter is so outdated that there is no reason to ride it again. The Las Vegas cityscape footage is totally outdated…and in Quark’s they haven’t changed menu enough to keep it fresh… All in all if they were to keep it open they would have invest a lot more capital in refurbishing, creating new rides, and also incorporating the upcoming movie which focuses on the Original Series.


Members of the USS Las Vegas meeting at Quark’s in 2007

 

Let’s hope that if CBS does find a new home for Star Trek The Experience, they take this time to revamp it to reflect the entire franchise, and better capitalize on the both the Classic Trek as well as the new ‘Abrams era’ of Trek.


STTE Rides, cool but both are Next Gen era

To find out more about the experience or to purchase tickets, check out the official site.

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest
July 1, 2008 10:02 pm

This is so sad!

blake powers
July 1, 2008 10:11 pm

sh**, think there can be a parallel to fan films where we (the fans) can make more attractions for everyone to see? To continue the mission of the experience? Star Trek the experience: new voyages? We can turn my Saturn into a shuttlecraft!!! (obviously I’m kidding, but if anyone has any ideas……)

Captain Robert April
July 1, 2008 10:12 pm

Maybe instead of Quark’s, they could do a recreation of the bar on K-7 and have a recreation of the original Enterprise…

focuspuller
July 1, 2008 10:13 pm

I honestly have no idea what to say……

I actually won two tickets at the startrek.com years ago but never used them.

focuspuller
July 1, 2008 10:15 pm

Maybe it’s just as well. I for one would rather have a Museum then an amusement park. It’s time to put some class back in Star Trek. Or for the first time.

July 1, 2008 10:27 pm

I’d love to see a recreation of the original Enterprise, but I’d take Quark’s over the K7 bar any day.

paustin
July 1, 2008 10:30 pm

very sad, whuile I’ve been several times. I haven’t been to Vegas since they added the Borg ride….sucks that i’ll never see it

MORN SPEAKS
July 1, 2008 10:38 pm

I appreciate what everyone has done in their efforts to save The Experience and those who work there.

I’ll miss being in Quark’s bar, I would have liked to visit one more time because I know I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, Morn Speaks is a college graduate with no job and tuition debt, and lives in FLA.

It’s a real shame that things have to come down to economics, some things should transcend that and The Experience is one of those things that should not disappear but grow and evolve. In that future we all wish to believe is that reality.

Raymond S
July 1, 2008 10:41 pm

I was disappointed by the Borg ride, but still enjoyed the original Klingon ride when I went. A few years back you paid one price, I believe $29.99, and got 10% off with AAA membership. Back then, for the one price you could go through the attraction over and over all day long. It was well worth the price. But at 50 bucks a pop now for just one go through, I don’t know. The gift shop was fun- there was always something new there I’d never seen, and there were usually lots of neat things on clearance to pick up. The best part of the attraction was the walk through/museum aspect, which will be sorely missed. What a shame.

July 1, 2008 10:50 pm

If Abrams’ Trek reinvigorates the franchise, then closing this down less than a year before the film’s release is rather short sighted. At least keep it open until July to see how the movie goes. If the movie is a success then I am sure business would grow. If not, then it would seem more justified.

Oregon Trek Geek
July 1, 2008 10:56 pm

I am optimistic. It wouldn’t surprise me to see something bigger, better, and cooler come along before long–especially If the new movie is successful in relaunching the whole shebang.

Julia
July 1, 2008 11:01 pm

Maybe Paul Allen needs to expand his sci-fi collection and move the Experience to the Science Fiction museum in Seattle…

thebiggfrogg
July 1, 2008 11:11 pm

Can these guys just put out a normal press release. Those kinds of references were cool. . .when I was ten! Reminds of the perennial weathercast on Christmas Eve where the meteorologist tracks Santa’s progress. Hokey!
Live long an prosper.
Hailing frequencies closed.
Oh, Scotty, would you mind beaming me up, now?

July 2, 2008 12:13 am

Please bring it to SoCal!

We started the whole “theme parks” thing with Disneyland and Universal Studios!

Bring it to SoCal!

July 2, 2008 12:28 am

[…]on the both the Classic Trek as well as the new ‘Abrams era’ of Trek.

Good point. What are we going to call it? TOR [The Original Reimagined]? ReTrek? Round 2?

If it succeeds and really does ignite a whole new era for the franchise, it will ultimately be expanded and created by many different folks long after Abrams is done with his kickoff film(s) …

Of course, if it doesn’t rock the house down, fans may just refer to it in passing as “that thing that happened that time that never stuck hard enough to need an enduring shorthand nickname.”

July 2, 2008 12:40 am

somebody get me that servo. ( (hiss, scratch) sound of broken record skipping)

Wesley
July 2, 2008 12:49 am

They might move it or save it, who knows, they might enter into a short 1 year contract? Because, that guy said they were exploring options…It just seems kind of stupid that after all these years, why not just wait 1 more year. Also, the Hilton is for old people, and it is off the strip, what other thing do they have at the Hilton to draw people there? I remember Lucas talking about a Star Wars one at the Mirage after the Experience had been so successful, that dissappeared… Who cares anyway, it was Star Wars! LOL!

Wesley
July 2, 2008 12:51 am

Also, ST:E has not had an ’11’ year run, as it opened in 1998, last I remember that was 10 years! I remember back in 1996/1997 I was up there with my parents at a buisness convention at the Hilton and it was supposed to be open by then, but, it was delayed, I remember, I was really bummed out! Who knows maybe they will turn the experience area into a steak house? :(

Ensign Ro- (short for Roland)
July 2, 2008 1:06 am

I am among the many long-time Trek fans who has never had the opportunity to experience The Experience. It truly saddens me. I am 45 and have never had the opportunity to get to Vegas nor have I ever been to a convention. Well, maybe my recent move from Maine to Oklahoma will make it possible for me to see this attraction before it closes. However, as always, I’m sure finances will render that difficult.

Kudos to the staff and players who made STTE so special for oh so many fans over the past ten years. Even among us who never got to see your wonderful work or experience your hospitality, it is greatly appreciated. May STTE rise again in an even better form.

James
July 2, 2008 1:14 am

ST: TXPNCE was very cool, I especially liked the dry ice drinks. Even my long suffering (not a trekkie ya see) wife enjoyed it.

Thomas
July 2, 2008 1:23 am

Who knows, there may be a second life for ST:TE after all. It’s sad that this will be ending since it’s come to mean so much to a lot of us, but it may not be finished yet. Let’s be cautiously optimistic; hopeful that it may come back in some form, but mindful that this really may be the end of the road.

NCC-73515
July 2, 2008 1:58 am

Could they at least give us all the ride videos for download?

KevinA Melbourne Australia
July 2, 2008 2:03 am

Hi Anthony,
Is it operational on September 1??? or is it actaully closing at close of business on Sunday August 31?

I booked a flight to LA from Australia just after you announced the possiblity of the STE closing some months ago. I thought it would close in September not on the first day! I arrive on August 27 in LA so looks like I will be heading straight to Las Vegas.

Everyday counts. It’s seems a bit odd that they are closing on the Monday. But if they are, great! …. it gives me a few more days to get there.

regards
Kevin

Thomas
July 2, 2008 2:11 am

23.KevinA, Cedar Fair’s press release seems to indicate that its’ last day will be September 1. The first Monday in September is Labor Day in the United States, so schools, banks, and government buildings are closed. It’s really considered the unofficial last weekend of summer before school
so people really try to make the most of it, and for some it will mean travelling to Vegas for a farewell to STTE.

captain_neill
July 2, 2008 2:24 am

This is sad news I loved the Experience, the rides are excellent. The 24th Century is not obselete.

What’s wrong with the rides being TNG era themed, I like the 24th Century.

Everyone seems to think TNG will be obselete because the new movie is retconning the 23rd Century. Dont forget TNG and DS9, VOY and ENT just because a new movie is coming out.

Irishtrekkie
July 2, 2008 3:19 am

here is hoping CBS can find a new home for the exp, it does sound like it needs a bit of a revamp, get some tos stuff in there , and i mean the new movie is coming out in a year , i am sure tie it in with that would bring people in , have big launch party or something . so come on cbs find it a new home , yea i know i am optamistic i am star trek after all .

Josh
July 2, 2008 3:24 am

” 12. Julia – July 1, 2008

Maybe Paul Allen needs to expand his sci-fi collection and move the Experience to the Science Fiction museum in Seattle…”

Julia you have a good idea. But as a person who lives not far from Seattle and goes to The Seattle Center where the Science Fiction museum is located knows. everything that is built at the center like The experence music project that shares the same building grows out of its space. Then new buildings are built to house the things. It would make sence a new building could be built to house The Science Fiction museum and STTE. The 40th star trek bash was held at The Science Fiction museum. I would be cool to build a center there and open it on Treks 50th B-day. The center could be called James Doohan Centre in memory of the wonderful person who was Mr.Doohan. He retired and lived his last years in a city near Seattle.

jimj
July 2, 2008 4:49 am

#18-I KNOW it was open by June of 1998 because my wife and I went to it on our honeymoon. So, it is technically IN it’s 11th year, though the 11th year will not be completed.

#25-I don’t think anyone feels that they should ignore the 24th century, just update the simulator rides and add more “artifacts” from the original Star Trek. I haven’t seen it since 1998, so I wonder how much Voyager stuff they added after I was there…and I really wonder how much “Enterprise” stuff they added. I say, find it a new home and be sure all series are represented equally. Maybe rotate the rides every few years. Perhaps two rides again…for the relaunch: an original series ride and a Star Trek 11 ride. Then maybe a TNG ride and a DS9 ride after a couple years. Then maybe a VOY and ENT ride (or a Star Trek 12). Just trying to be an optimist here about it MOVING and the new movie(s)! I’m so sad that it’s closing and I’ve never had a chance to get back.

star trackie
July 2, 2008 5:22 am

I’ve never held any interest in even going to see the “experience”. Aside from a few momentos in the prop display, the whole experience represents the Berman era of Trek which has rubbed me the wrong way for 20 years. Something like this is more suited for a theme park anyway, much like the old Star Trek adventure at universal studios, which also shut down as public interest shifted away from Trek.

Popularity and interest are the key and hopefully JJ’s version will stimulate enough interest that a TOS themed adventure or “experience” will be forthcoming…somewhere. And if it’s TOS themed, I might even go check it out.

Lou
July 2, 2008 5:40 am

You know what?

if this thing is that important to this many people, perhaps it’s time to look into reopening it in a different location. a theme park perhaps?

July 2, 2008 5:43 am

It was said earlier that they needed a revamp, in short….yes they do. You gotta figure that since Cedar Park purchased the property there have been no modifications of the sets, nothing to update the scenery (beyond what was already in going on with the 2nd floor), and nothing to attract new folks into coming to Las Vegas.

Without advertising 1) no one knows about you 2) people think your fixing to close. People that worked there have told me that they feel the purchase only hurt the attraction and would probably mean a closure in the foreseable future.

By having CBS say they are exploring options, I am sure something else will be built in another area of the US that will be more controlable and better fit for future trek. Yes the rides were kinda outdated, but hey, its Trek! Some fresh footage would be nice (and possible variations of each ride).

So here to hoping to see the Experience again soon, I’ll be the first to buy a ticket :).

The Bova Effect
July 2, 2008 5:52 am

@15

I think we should call it Star Trek: Back to the Future

scifib5st
July 2, 2008 5:55 am

Well, this is soo sad. I was hoping they would keep it open, with a new movie comming out next year (the movie writers and some actors have already said they have signed on for a second movie)!!!

Maybe Paramount could move it to another hotel along the new monrail. Look at all the films paramount owns, or licences. A new Enterprise 1701 from the new movie extening out of the hotel with the sasuer section extending over the monrail. Remodled haul ways to resemble TOS, STNG, DS9, Voyager. I think “I Love Lucye” (sp), Cheers, (one side of the hotel you would have Quarks Bar, the other a Cheers Bar, I see nothing wrong with that.

The last Indiana Jones film was from Paramount……. just look at what they ouwn….. and make money on now….. Cha Ching, $$$$ why not, they say it’s all about the the $$$$$. Widen the fan base.

July 2, 2008 6:11 am

#2: “sh**, think there can be a parallel to fan films where we (the fans) can make more attractions for everyone to see? To continue the mission of the experience? Star Trek the experience: new voyages? We can turn my Saturn into a shuttlecraft!!! (obviously I’m kidding, but if anyone has any ideas……)”

Actually, on a small scale fans do this. One of the fun things about conventions is often the fan-made displays, from props up to and including partial starship sets that are made available for photo ops.

Pat D
July 2, 2008 6:33 am

I love the attraction, but it was TNG / VOY skewed, having come under Berman’s watch.

It’s high time to get a TOS type attraction going . . . maybe the traveling exhibit will partially fill this void if nothing else happens.

Or maybe the fan productions will open their doors to tours of their sets, although they’d have to get some kind of license . . .but hey, they licensed “Spock’s Brain” to a comedy club, so it can’t be that difficult.

I’ve always thought someone should encourage “Star Trek in the Park” like Shakespeare in the park ” in several cities . . .

Ron
July 2, 2008 6:49 am

WELL I’m so to hear this but here’s an idea. How about utilizing the now empty Houston Astrodome to create the world’s finest Star Trek Experience? No one seems to be able to come up with a use for this use domed stadium and it is simply lying empty in Houston. What better place for the new and ultimate Star Trek Museum and Experience than Houston? the first word mentioned by Astronauts on the moon and the home of NASA’s manned space program! I live here and would love to help connect the dots.

mntrekfan
July 2, 2008 7:03 am

I’m sad to see this go. I was able to check the place out in 2002(with my reluctant wife):)
I had a lot of fun especially getting my pic taken in the Captain’s chair! The transporter effect was great too. And to watch the characters interact with the patrons was fun to watch!
I remebember getting goosebumps the first time I saw the 1701-A at the entrance of the attraction.

Samrock83
July 2, 2008 7:11 am

They should send it to King’s Island in Cincinnati. It’s a Paramoung park and would incorporate nicely.

Plus, it’s only an hour from my house. ; )

captain_neill
July 2, 2008 7:13 am

am I the only one who does not hate Rick Berman?

Granted I would love a TOS themed ride but I still love the TNG era as well.

If they do a TOS theme keep it with the original stars not the new actors playing the characters

Chris M
July 2, 2008 7:15 am

Me and a mate of mine were in Las Vegas in December of 2004 and Star Trek The Experience was the highight of the trip! :)

And that inludes our visit to Olympic Gardens on the last night!

Phil
July 2, 2008 7:22 am

Is that Branson, MO calling?? Next to the Roy Rogers museum, perhaps…..

steve T. NY
July 2, 2008 7:26 am

I was there for the opening of the Experience, and it was really incredible. I haven’t been back sine, so I guess I’ll never see the Borg ride, but it was a great place. I hope if they want to move it, maybe they could move it to NY. Everythings always on the west coast.. they should start putting some things here on the east coast..

Clinton
July 2, 2008 7:28 am

Disappointed in the closure. However, I will get one last chance to ride in August. At least the powers-that-be are giving the fans some advanced notice.

captain_neill
July 2, 2008 7:29 am

I love the experience and I am annoyed that it is closing

charles
July 2, 2008 7:36 am

How about we send thank you letters to the staff there? I will be. These guys have entertained me for years and I just want them to know that I am grateful.
I think that since this “Chad Boutte” guy is the only one really responding to people, I’m just going to send it to him. I also hope we will be able to meet the actors and people who put all of this together before they close.

July 2, 2008 7:40 am

ST: The Experience is where Trekkie’s are born please don’t shut it down!

July 2, 2008 7:45 am

methinks tha’ handwriting was on tha’ wall after tha’ transporter accidents occurred and were covered up…

seems many guests were accidently split inta “good” and “evil” versions of themselves; mostly unknowingly… tha’ “good” versions continued on wit’ thar’ lives, although more indecisively (should I go back ta’ tha Experience or not? Oh, it”l be thar’ forever… next year then…) and tha’ “evil” all became part o’ the Starry Wars pre-quel production crews… oh, and Parry-mount executives… one o’ them fixed me in on a subprime mortgage on a house inna country I dunna even live in! Arrrr… evil wanker…

No plans are in place ta’ re-unite good and evil… just keep an eye oot fur scratches, mates…

The Underpants Monster
July 2, 2008 7:52 am

Adding it to an existing theme park would be a great idea. Probably not Universal Studios, since they’re a rival of Paramount. And yeah, it would need some updates if it continues somewhere. Count me in the chorus of those who would like to see a TOS or STXI area added.

AJ
July 2, 2008 8:00 am

I agree about the East Coast. Why not just move the thing?

Vegas is in the crapper now due to the economy. High gas prices, fewer flights, and a reduction in disposable income. $50 is a lot of green.

CharlieEvans
July 2, 2008 8:16 am

Here in Orange County, CA, Cedar Fair owns Knott’s Berry Farm. The theme park isn’t financially hurting, but could use a boost in attendance due to its proximity to Disneyland. Adding ST:TE to this location would be a big plus.

See links below to view excerpts from my STTE wedding in 2005:

http://www.waterfrontinc.com/videos/BeamBridge.wmv
http://www.waterfrontinc.com/videos/SJPreWed.wmv

wpDiscuz