Loving Las Vegas.

To TC, things like "schedules" are a nebulous concept difficult to grasp -- as any of our subscribers will tell you. Thus, having shifted the editorial updates to the weekend, I am once again wildly inaccurate. At least this one has appeared AHEAD of when it should, simply because I didn't write it. This week, I hand you across to Chris Fata, for:

THE STAR TREK EXPERIENCE

LAS VEGAS HILTON
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
11 APRIL 1998

This American Ambassador drove to Las Vegas, the desert Oasis only 5 1/2 hours away, owned by most of the Mafia (sorry, Cosa Nostra) to spend a weekend doing some silicone research for your editor, as well as satisfy my mild TREKKER obsession and take in the new STAR TREK EXPERIENCE at the Las Vegas Hilton. Firstly I would like to say that it was slightly relieving to be staying at the Las Vegas Hilton, not only cause I got a smokin' room rate of $49 per night, not only cause the LV Hilton is a really pretty and clean place, still a classic casino and maintained beautifully, but also, the LV Hilton is a little off the beaten path, away from the main strip on Las Vegas Blvd. LV Hilton is on Paradise Road and Riviera.. a little ways north of the STRATOSPHERE hotel, so there is not too much vehicle traffic on that street.. I had gone through such a serious ass traffic jam on my way there, because the sun was just going down and the BIG HOTELS had just put their lights on, so I wanted to see the strip at night.. The Pyramid shaped LUXOR, the cartoonly royal EXCALIBUR, the stately NEW YORK, NEW YORK with it's miniaturized (yet still HUGE) New York city skyline including the Brooklyn Bridge and Coney Island Amusement Park outside..etc...etc..BIG MISTAKE, especially after you've been driving with the sun in your eyes for the last 6 hours and your head was pounding... Traffic was at a virtual stand-still with everyone and their mother doing the exact same thing I was doing.. LOOKING AT THE LIGHTS. - what was I thinking? Well.. regardless of my ignorance, I made it to the Las Vegas Hilton without murdering anyone.

Many facets make the STAR TREK EXPERIENCE complete. All the foreplay goes into action here.. You are bombarded with visuals, the likes of which start your sci fi juices flowing, you begin drooling as you walk past the front desk (after receiving my room key - which is a magnetic strip containing a STAR TREK SCENE - as if they think I am gonna return that key to them!) and find yourself inside the SPACEQUEST Casino.. where the slot machines work if you interrupt a light beam with your hand.. motion sensors! It's all very techno, silver and space like. Including all the music piped in. It's either Jan Hammer (Beyond the Minds Eye) or other out-worldly type tunes.. As you leave the SPACEQUEST CASINO you encounter the SCI-FI ZONE a gift shop containing all manner of really cool things you positively cannot live without. I found LUNAR PHASIC CLOCKS, ALIEN AUTOPSY - THE BOARD GAME, GALILEAN THERMOMETERS, GLOW IN THE DARK EVERYTHING and of course, STAR TREK MEMORABILIA including Barbie and Ken dressed as original cast Star Trek personnel. Stepped up to the ticket booth and bought my ticket - $15.00 gets you inside the STAR TREK EXPERIENCE.. However, the Promenade Retail Shops (recreated from the Promenade at Deep Space 9) and QUARK'S BAR are free to roam and gawk at, but I shall share them with you in a moment.

For $15.00 you are allowed as much time as you need to gaze, wonder, learn and absorb a TIME LINE that starts with Galileo and ends with the destruction of the BORG in the 25th century, including graphics, video clips from all the tv shows, movies and spin-offs involved with STAR TREK. That is one side.. on the other side, you are also allowed as much time as you will ever need to look at, read about and study intricately almost hands-on all the clothing, weapons, scanning instruments, accessories and last-minute built weapons and problem solvers also from all the tv shows, movies, and spin-offs associated with the show.

The mistake that most people made, I noticed, is that they were in such a hurry to get on the actual ride that they by-passed all this universe of information, memorabilia, technology described not in a *prop* sense, but in a very real scenario... how it was designed, what it's use was for and why... not why they needed it for this episode, but why it was necessary for the Federation or for this planet or this species' survival... I found the summaries for every item fascinating in themselves. A lot of love went into the archival treatment of all the objects.

The ride? I would like to say what it was about, but about 50 million TREKKERS who didn't see it, and even some who did, would probably seek me out and vaporize me with a phaser on *10*. Let's just say that the EXPERIENCE is just that. Interesting, amusing, exciting, nostalgic, and more fun than the DeLorean at Universal (I'll say no more). *Wow* is one of the adjectives you would use at many of the turns before the actual ride itself... The actual ride itself is turbulent, and fun, and depending on who is riding the shuttle, may be a cheering, screaming gas... but all in all... a true experience that you will remember.

Upon leaving the EXPERIENCE, one is escorted into the PROMENADE... a recreation of the Promenade on Deep Space Nine, with shops selling everything STAR TREK, Bajoran photographers ready to take your photo and *morph* it into a picture with other STAR TREK characters in it with you, clothing shops ready to tailor you, collectibles shops that sell everything from shot glasses to the actual CAPTAIN'S CHAIR on the original tv series. There are also neat working gadgets all over the PROMENADE that allow you to play them. For example a working *Replicator*, a DATA ACCESS COMPUTER port just like the ones on the ENTERPRISE BRIDGE, giving you complete personnel information on all the characters.

Sitting at QUARK'S BAR gives one the sense that one is indeed on a space station with all it's furniture and glassware of the future. This American Ambassador had, at the suggestion of someone she thought was her friend, a drink entitled *WARP CORE BREACH*, served in something the size of a kitchen sink with two straws in it.. Apparently seven different types of liquors mixed with several juices.. a sort of Otherworldly Long Island Iced Tea. Let's just say that I was lucky to be staying at the same hotel I drank said drink at. Crawling seemed to be the only option afterwards.

Before I close I want to say that the biggest *WOW* issued from this Ambassador's mouth came as I happened to look up whilst sitting at my table (and BEFORE my drink came, thank you) and saw that on the very very high ceilings there was an entire universe of stars and several Federation and Non Federation Vessels floating there. The models were huge and lit up.. I was breathless. I must've looked like a complete fool staring up at the ceiling for twenty minutes like that. My neck is still throbbing and I can't get the drool stains out of my shirt.....

Do I recommend the STAR TREK EXPERIENCE?? I think so...


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