I was reading a news item the other day indicating that the Las Vegas Hilton is closing the Star Trek Experience in Vegas. This was one of the few things in Vegas, along with the fountains at Bellagios and the Siegfried and Roy Secret Gardens animal exhibit, that my wife and I actually enjoyed while we were there. But it was apparent when we were at the Hilton that they were barely putting any effort into the Star Trek Experience any more.
Even though it was fun, it felt… tatty. Like adequate maintenance and upgrades hadn’t been done in a while. Quark’s Bar had no costumed Star Trek actors wandering around. Some of the props looked sadly neglected. In fact, I didn’t really see anyone who was costumed, other than a couple of the actors on the simulator rides, which were quite well done despite being a bit threadbare. I thought that they might be gearing up for an upgrade or something. But the truth is that they were winding down.
I’m sure that part of the process that led to the demise of the Star Trek Experience has been the decline of audience interest in Star Trek in general. The last Star Trek TV program, Enterprise, died an ignoble death- even though I actually liked it, the hatred spewed by some so-called fans against the show more or less killed it from the day it launched. And there hasn’t been a new Star Trek movie in six years. These factors undoubtedly contributed to reduced interest in the Experience.
But I guess the real truth is that there isn’t as much money to make off of geeks as there is to make off of alcoholic, chain smoking gamblers. Vegas certainly knows how to play the numbers, and they need to put bodies in front of gaming machines and/or tables above everything else. The Star Trek Experience likely drew the wrong kind of crowd: people who enjoy seeing Klingons might not generally be the same people who spend several thousand dollars on the gaming tables.
Next time I’ll go to Disneyland, I guess 🙂