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The Enterprise Of Las Vegas
April 8, 2012 4:08 PM   Subscribe

But THIS – this is different. If this doesn’t work – if this is not a success – it’s there, forever….” I remember thinking to myself “oh my god, this guy does NOT get it….” And he said “I don’t want to be the guy that approved this and then it’s a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.”

And with that, Mr. Jaffe in a single moment, destroyed about five months of work by a host of people, and killed one of the greatest ideas of all time.

posted by hippybear (85 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
This would have been way cooler than The Star Trek Experience at the LV Hilton. And that was totally bad-ass.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:18 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a Vulcan. There is no pain.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:24 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


And that was totally bad-ass.

I don't have many regrets in life (yet) but the big one is missing the Star Trek Experience by like 3 months when I finally got to Las Vegas. I would have bought so much crappy trek branded merchandise.
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2012


And it's have been a great alien invasion detector, as it'd
be the first thing lasered into vapor from space when they arrive.

But nobody gambles on the Enterprise -- right?
posted by hank at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2012


Obviously, he was not the man who boldly went where no man has gone before!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:27 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That would have been just impossibly cool, as long as it was well-maintained. Jaffe is one of the all-time epic idiots.

For god's sake, they could have run simulation scenarios, including the Kobayashi Maru, on the actual bridge. They'd probably have charged a mint to do it on the "real" bridge, but they could have created multiple "auxiliary bridges", which I think the TV Enterprise even officially had a couple of. They could have had freaking activities all over the darn ship. It's so big it could have been an actual hotel, although the downtown development committee might not have liked that bit.

I mean... basically, it would be like the biggest model ever. Models are toys. You play with toys, and they could have been coming up with new stuff for just aaages. There's such a lot of source material to draw from that they could have kept it fresh and interesting for at least a couple of decades, if not more.

'Course, it could also have spiraled into a trainwreck of cheap commercialism and tie-ins with whatever TV show was on at the same time... never underestimate the ability of marketers to foul things up.
posted by Malor at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]



For god's sake, they could have run simulation scenarios, including the Kobayashi Maru, on the actual bridge. They'd probably have charged a mint to do it on the "real" bridge, but they could have created multiple "auxiliary bridges", which I think the TV Enterprise even officially had a couple of. They could have had freaking activities all over the darn ship. It's so big it could have been an actual hotel, although the downtown development committee might not have liked that bit.


1992 Whelk would have probably found a way to restructure his entire life around this attraction.
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on April 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


I would have bought so much crappy trek branded merchandise.

I bought a drawing of the Borg Queen from First Contact, signed by Alice Krige, with the inscription "Resistance is Futile."

I have no regrets.
posted by eugenen at 4:33 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Given the $150 million figure, now we know the budget costs for when a similar copy of the Enterprise was built by the trickster aliens from "The Mark of Gideon" who pushed their faces into the bridge viewscreen.
posted by steinsaltz at 4:33 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm only thinking "my god that's a lot of weight that doesn't look supported very well." I can see the saucer section breaking and falling hundreds of feet due to structural problems. So much weight is not being directly supported.

Like, if they had some support beams for a bunch of that stuff, I'd be all for it, but it'd ruin the look.
posted by hellojed at 4:33 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


God, the wedding chapel! THINK OF THE WEDDING CHAPEL!

I do. Because the Star Trek wedding I could've gotten at the Star Trek Experience was awful-sounding. So we went with the Tropicana instead.

But I, a dyed-in-the-wool Babylon 5, who met her husband in a Babylon 5 chatroom, who dismisses 90% of modern Star Trek as rubbish (loving only original series and Abrams-style), would've killed to be married on the Enterprise.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm only thinking "my god that's a lot of weight that doesn't look supported very well." I can see the saucer section breaking and falling hundreds of feet due to structural problems. So much weight is not being directly supported.

Like, if they had some support beams for a bunch of that stuff, I'd be all for it, but it'd ruin the look.


From the article:
We learned everything we could about the Starship – its actually size and dimensions, how it would exist in “dry dock” on the planet if indeed such a situation had been possible. We imagined what it could be, and how we might achieve it. We got Ken Ball (former head of engineering at Disney’s MAPO) involved to figure out how to engineer and support it. (Ultimately we realized we would need to add some supports on the outer edge of the “disc” section due to the extremely high wind conditions in Vegas. For this we created a high tech “scaffolding structure” that gave the ship more of the appearance of being in an open-air dry dock. I have not yet located that sketch, but I’ll try to find it.)
posted by hippybear at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Katemonkey, history will redeem your Kirk/Spock/Abrams stance.
posted by steinsaltz at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or really it has already.
posted by steinsaltz at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2012


My wedding venue would have been sorted and I would have had a reason to actually visit Vegas at some point in my life.

This just adds credence to the theory that I am actually the Evil slimepuppy from the parallel universe and that the Good slimepuppy is probably currently enjoying visiting a life-sized Enterprise. In my version, he also gets the cool goatee.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:39 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


1992 Whelk would have probably found a way to restructure his entire life around this attraction.

Exactly! People would have come from all over the world if they did it properly. It would have to be an all-stops-pulled-out sort of attraction, run as well or better than any Disney park, but it would have been transformative for that city, and would have been a huge, huge shot in the arm for Paramount, too. If it was run to Disney standards, I bet it would have been directly and massively profitable, once the word got out that it was awesome. It might have needed subsidizing for the first year or two, but after that, it would have ended up subsidizing its host city. And Paramount.

Argh.

Although, on the negative side, they've run Trek so badly into the ground that I'm not sure people would go if they were to build it today, which probably means that the real-life attraction would have suffered from the same overload and burnout. Might they have done lousy episodes in the shows to try to push the theme park? Would people actively loathe Star Trek now, instead of just being terribly tired of it?
posted by Malor at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2012


hank: "But nobody gambles on the Enterprise -- right?"

Last scene of the Series Finale of Next Generation was of a poker game.

"But that's just for meaningless pokerchips," some may protest. Alright, you want real gambling? The Corbomite Maneuver -- Kirk bets the entire ship and the life of his crew on a bluff. Can't get much higher stakes than that.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:41 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


As an architect you quickly learn that the way to have a good idea built is to have a lot of good ideas, all the time. This is only one of the reasons.

I can't imagine what a building science and maintenance nightmare this would have been if it were built for $150M in 1992 using then standard construction. I bet we'd be hearing about the $100M facelift it needed right now. There is a reason it costs so much to get into Disney and everything they build and maintain is smaller and mostly meant to be only seen from a few selected directions.

Still, I've never been to Vegas, and I can guarantee that wouldn't have been the case if Enterprise was sitting right there downtown!
posted by meinvt at 4:41 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I went to the Star Trek experieince in the months before it closed. It was fun, though I got very motion sick on the shuttle craft.
posted by humanfont at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2012


And he said “I don’t want to be the guy that approved this and then it’s a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.”

Actually, the way Vegas works is if it failed, they'd blow it up and build something else in its place.
posted by birdherder at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Load. you. damned web page. Load!
posted by device55 at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


they'd blow it up.

Now there's an attraction.
posted by device55 at 4:45 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everything is bigger in Vegas. Even the stupid.

And by that I mean Jaffe. The project was pure, unadulterated awesome. Extragalactic awesome.
posted by Splunge at 4:47 PM on April 8, 2012


People wonder why CEO's are paid so well. It's entirely because of their capacity to err, and take so very much down with them. It's truly, amazingly impressive what damage incompetence in leadership can spawn.
posted by effugas at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have never been to Vegas, but if I did, this would have been the first stop from the airport. Before I'd even checked into the hotel.
posted by arcticseal at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2012


I mean, fer chrissake, can you imagine Klingon vs. Federation laser tag on the actual Enterprise?
posted by Malor at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Next best thing that will help you simulate the experience at home for less than 150 million:

24 hours of ST:TNG Ambient Engine Noise
posted by slimepuppy at 4:57 PM on April 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


As awesome as a full size replica of the Enterprise would be.. This would have been awful in downtown Vegas. How would it sit on the ground? How would it fit in with the other buildings? That artist rendering looks totally hideous, out of place and out of scale. It'd make a little more sense on the Strip, where everything is larger than life. But downtown? Crazy terrible.

I'd love to see this project built, but it needs to be somewhere with lots of open space. The Presidio in San Francisco comes to mind, both for the space and the fact it's the future home of Starfleet and all.
posted by Nelson at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


At least there's the $1.5 billion theme park being built in Aqaba, Jordan. Maybe King Abdullah II will hear of what had been planned for Vegas and resurrect the project there. He's certainly a big enough fan.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:07 PM on April 8, 2012


So, you all know about the Star Trek theme park coming to Jordan, right?
posted by persona at 5:08 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, I believe I do.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:09 PM on April 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'd love to see this project built, but it needs to be somewhere with lots of open space. The Presidio in San Francisco comes to mind, both for the space and the fact it's the future home of Starfleet and all.

I think the competition has already located there.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey!
posted by AJaffe at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see this project built, but it needs to be somewhere with lots of open space. The Presidio in San Francisco comes to mind, both for the space and the fact it's the future home of Starfleet and all.

"Everybody remember where we parked!"
posted by zarq at 5:14 PM on April 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Actually, persona, i just read about it, yes.

A full scale enterprise would make me INTO a trekkie.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 5:14 PM on April 8, 2012


The way to make money with space tourism is to have a full-size replica of the enterprise in orbit, as a space station/hotel/whatever.
posted by maxwelton at 5:16 PM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


As awesome as a full size replica of the Enterprise would be.. This would have been awful in downtown Vegas. How would it sit on the ground? How would it fit in with the other buildings? That artist rendering looks totally hideous, out of place and out of scale. It'd make a little more sense on the Strip, where everything is larger than life. But downtown? Crazy terrible.

I agree. I'd line up to go to it on the first day it was open, but the thing is the attraction wouldn't be the savior of Downtown it was supposed to do: get more people to stay in the downtown hotels and casinos. As large of attraction as it would be, most people would still stay on the Strip. They'd go to the attraction and then go back to the Strip.

What downtown needed was something like Fremont Street Experience in that it cleaned up the shithole that was downtown.

A super project like a good full-scale replica of the Enterprise would probably be more successful on the Strip. Or even off the strip across from the LV Hilton and the Convention Center where the Hard Rock is now.

Few of the images on the article load for me, but the one that does is the comparative sizes of the Enterprise compared to the Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, etc. What is funny is how after that was drawn many of those landmarks ended up with scaled down copies on the Strip.
posted by birdherder at 5:17 PM on April 8, 2012


For god's sake, they could have run simulation scenarios, including the Kobayashi Maru, on the actual bridge.

The hell with that. You could have used a couple of decks as a hotel and have people sleeping in rooms made up egg-zackly like TOS cabins. Except with motorized doors instead of having stagehands do them.

There are no numbers for how much money this would have made. Well, maybe you could use warp numbers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:21 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The hell with that. You could have used a couple of decks as a hotel and have people sleeping in rooms made up egg-zackly like TOS cabins. Except with motorized doors instead of having stagehands do them.

In which I would move into, Howard Hughes like, and never return
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


The hell with that. You could have used a couple of decks as a hotel and have people sleeping in rooms made up egg-zackly like TOS cabins.

Call me a sleeping quarters snob, but I'd want TNG rooms. I actually thought this project was to make it a TNG-era full scale replica since that was the show that was in production at the time.
posted by birdherder at 5:32 PM on April 8, 2012


Wow, look at the authenticity! They're even using circa 1992 era web hosting.
posted by Justinian at 5:34 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Whelk has cottoned onto a real problem: you'd have to evict punters on a weekly basis.

Also, cosplay. It won't be pretty.
posted by Devonian at 5:41 PM on April 8, 2012


Here's a mirror of the few images I was able to download...

Side view

From the front

Comparison with other attractions
posted by birdherder at 5:42 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, cosplay. It won't be pretty.

A Disneyland-style ban on costuming on the premises seems unavoidable.

(Likewise a Disneyland-style costumes-allowed Halloween celebration would have been totally sweet.)
posted by pts at 5:46 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or they allow cosplay, encourage it, employ the best cosplayers until the uncostumed are a minority. Slowly, the entire thing becomes insular and the original point starts to fade.

Thankfully it turns out being in a huge fake star ship is great for surviving nuclear war. Protected from the blasts and radiation, the former Cast Members of the ship grow even more into their roles, by the time they are found two hundred years later they insist they are descendants of a great space faring civilization who's ship crashed in the desert many years ago.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 PM on April 8, 2012 [29 favorites]


Call me a sleeping quarters snob, but I'd want TNG rooms.

Let us reason together. A compromise on TWOK rooms?

I would only go to a TNG attraction/hotel if the staff spoke solely in Darmok.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:59 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only time I've been on a cruise ship it reminded me of the Enterprise D, but if it had been purchased by the Ferengi and transformed into a fabulously tacky casino (the ship was built in the early 90's).

At night, when the stars are out and the ship is rocking slightly, you can close your eyes and imagine the internal dampeners need tuning. And the sewage system too.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:00 PM on April 8, 2012


To be fair, the TNG ship kinda looks like a sherdian hotel nayway
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 PM on April 8, 2012


I think it sounds awesome but I've gotta agree with the naysayers: Maybe it would have opened with a bang, but it would have ended miserably and before its time.

Would there really have been interest from the general public in this? After getting jaded by the novelty of a life-size space ship from some movie or something, not many people would care, and fewer would visit. Year after year, the visitor count would diminish as a smaller and smaller cadre of increasingly dedicated fans remain the only customers, until the city can't abide how much money it's sucking away, blows the thing up and sells the property off to Steve Wynn.
posted by ardgedee at 6:08 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hiindsight is 20/20.

In 1992, Las Vegas was still in a period of uncertainty after almost two decades of stagnation. The Mirage had only been open for a bit more than 2 years, and the Enterprise project was projected to cost a quarter of what The Mirage had cost, and this for a non-gambling attraction. The only other megaresorts on the Strip were Rio and Excalibur, with MGM Grand Las Vegas, Treasure Island, and Luxor just beginning construction.

Until that time, strictly tourist-type attractions were relatively untested, particularly anything approaching this scale. Don't be so sure that they would heave readily blown this up had it failed. The land where it would have sat was not, even then, prime Vegas real estate.
posted by Ardiril at 6:16 PM on April 8, 2012


and now I want to explore the ruins of a boarded up but not blown up Enterprise.
posted by The Whelk at 6:19 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Further, Star Trek: The Experience only lasted at the Hilton for 10 years, and that was a damn fine production all around. When it did close, they tried to move it to the Neonopolis downtown (which also makes a whole lot of sense from almost every angle), but even that managed to stall out.
posted by Ardiril at 6:23 PM on April 8, 2012


The Whelk: "and now I want to explore the ruins of a boarded up but not blown up Enterprise."

Forget exploring the Shard, I'd be camping out here, muttering log entries into my tricorder.
posted by arcticseal at 6:25 PM on April 8, 2012


"I want to explore the ruins of a boarded up but not blown up Enterprise" - My thoughts, as well.
posted by Ardiril at 6:27 PM on April 8, 2012


I was so, so glad I made it to Star Trek: the Experience about two years before it closed. Culmination of a lifelong dream, really. I could have cared less about the "show"--but walking through the bridge of the Enterprise D was absolutely priceless.

If this had been built I probably would have up and moved to Vegas.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone who uses "Vegas" and "forever" in the same sentence (without a "not" or something in there) doesn't know anything about Las Vegas.
posted by ErWenn at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2012


Setting phasers to JEALOUS over here Phob
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone who uses "Vegas" "Clark County" and "forever" in the same sentence...

FTFY.

The bulk of the Strip actually lies in unincorporated Paradise, Winchester, and (heheh) Enterprise. Most of the actual city's growth (as opposed to North Las Vegas) has been eastward and north-eastward. Very little of downtown and south Las Vegas proper has changed in, like, forever.
posted by Ardiril at 7:17 PM on April 8, 2012


Y'know, they could still do something like this, but with more of a real world focus. Just get one of the decommissioned space shuttles (after NASA is through with them) and park it on concrete somewhere. Make it the centerpiece of a Las Vegas air and space museum.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:23 PM on April 8, 2012


Having grown up here, there is no way a non-gaming establishment like that could get off the ground. The closest we're about to get is the two "observation wheels" that are about to be built on the strip.
posted by SirOmega at 8:55 PM on April 8, 2012


"...sitting out there in Vegas forever." Are you KIDDING?! If it flopped, they would have made their money back selling ticket for the demolition of THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE! They could have dressed up the demolition crew as Romulans and Klingons. That guy had NO vision.
posted by smallerdemon at 9:07 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I managed to get to Star Trek the Experience twice, and I am so grateful. Cheesy as hell but so, so fun.

I think making an Enterprise replica is probably too expensive. But I would totally go and stay in a TNG hotel! How about a Star Trek themed hotel that has a TOS wing, a TNG wing, and maybe some slightly smaller DS9/Voyager/Enterprise wings? I'm not geek enough to know if Voyager and DS9 are set in the same time period, and could conceivably share a wing. What shape is the Federation HQ building?
posted by Joh at 9:21 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


selling tickets for the demolition of THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE

Complete with saucer section separation!
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:35 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


At least there's the $1.5 billion theme park being built in Aqaba, Jordan.

So this is what Lawrence's dream results in. Fuck yeah.

selling tickets for the demolition of THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE

Complete with saucer section separation!


Fool.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:41 PM on April 8, 2012


>Just get one of the decommissioned space shuttles (after NASA is through with them) and park it on concrete somewhere.

Coincidently, the space shuttle Enterprise flies into JFK in two weeks. In June it will move to the aircraft carrier Intrepid, docked on Manhattan's west side.
posted by borborygmi at 10:00 PM on April 8, 2012


The concept of an aircraft carrier museum with a space shuttle inside it is very cool (and perfect for defending NYC against alien invasion), but why couldn't Enterprise stay at the Smithsonian? It seems odd to go to the expense of moving Discovery there when they already had one.

As for Las Vegas, they need a Star Trek casino/hotel. It wouldn't fit with Gene Rodenberry's vision of the future, but it would be a cool holiday destination.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:19 PM on April 8, 2012


"a Star Trek casino/hotel"

Run by Ferengi, of course. Security staff is Klingon. Green-skinned space babe hostesses and Borg card dealers galore!

But the glory will only be complete with the inclusion of the real, unreal holodeck, complete with the Casablanca-ripoff-bar that everyone likes to hang out in.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:51 PM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


BOGGLE
posted by mwhybark at 12:31 AM on April 9, 2012


Happy to report my brother in law kindly insisted we had to make the Star Trek Experience before it closed, about two months or so before as I recall.

I have read that the sets are in storage.
posted by mwhybark at 12:40 AM on April 9, 2012


somehow appropriate: Worf gets DENIED again and again on Star Trek TNG.
posted by telstar at 12:43 AM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe: "Call me a sleeping quarters snob, but I'd want TNG rooms.

Let us reason together. A compromise on TWOK rooms?

I would only go to a TNG attraction/hotel if the staff spoke solely in Darmok.
"

Overheard at the front desk:

"Croissants and coffee, on the terrace."

"Your taxi, waiting, its doors wide."

"Room 314, his eyes red, his mini-bar empty."

"The forth floor ice machine, its bin empty, its compressor silent!"
posted by Splunge at 2:59 AM on April 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


When I first read the FPP I kinda had this idea that it was about Al Jaffe. Now that would have been quite a different Vegas experience.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:38 AM on April 9, 2012


.
posted by fetamelter at 5:26 AM on April 9, 2012


Much as I hate to say it, I think Jaffe made the right call.

For one thing, I think $150 million is entirely too light. I have a hard time seeing this thing getting off the ground *cough* for less than a quarter billion. That's about $70,000 a day, every day, for ten years. And that'd have to be profits, not just revenue, because keeping this thing up and running would cost a minor mint. Your average Wal-Mart store spends upwards $20k a year on electricity alone, and they're doing everything they can to shave costs there, like installing solar panels, punching holes for skylights, you name it. I can see this thing costing that much every few months. To say nothing of the cost of staffing and maintaining the thing.

And second, the maintenance, repair, and renovations costs would be absolutely ridiculous. So many moving parts, so many intricate electronics--many of which would be custom--all intended for regular, intense use by the public. They'd go through replacement parts like a fire sale at Radio Shack.

Third, I don't think they had the technology to do this in 1992. True, TOS didn't have as many touch-screens as TNG, but even so, we're still looking at a lot of fairly large displays. The main viewscreen alone would be a minor marvel. Even today, I'm unaware of any commercially available displays of that size which are capable of displaying a high-resolution image intended to be viewed from less than a few dozen feet which don't use a projector of some kind. That would kind of spoil the effect. And remember what computers were like in 1992? Mac OS System 7 was brand spanking new, and Macs were still running on 68040 processors. Microsoft was working with Windows 3.1 and the first Pentium wasn't released until 1993. Torvalds had only released the first Linux kernel in 1991.

Fourth, the reason places like Disney are able to do locations like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is because they're mostly knick-knack shops plus a few exhibits or rides one can only really view from a few fixed perspectives. The one thing one can't do is wander around interacting with the world. Nothing really works. Buying a "wand" at "Ollivander's" isn't something one can just do at will. The show runs at specific times and always goes pretty much the same way. It's a theme park, not an actual place. And while an Enterprise theme park does sound pretty awesome, the vision for this thing was to try to make something a bit more real. Which, again, would be hideously expensive.

Also, relatedly Disney can do special attractions like Harry Potter at something of a discount, because 1) setting up a theme park is a lot cheaper than trying to make something as real as this, 2) if it doesn't work, they can always take it down and try something else, but most importantly, 3) someone coming to see Harry Potter is almost certainly not going to just do that. They'll spend a week at various Disney properties spending money on a bunch of other stuff. In a sense, Disney's related properties support and subsidize each other. So Disney can probably afford to have Potter act as a loss leader for the rest of its resorts. I doubt it does, but it could. This project sounds like it would have been a free-standing project and would thus need to be entirely self-sufficient in terms of revenue. Which given the hideous costs of construction and operation would mean keeping the thing running pretty much full tilt for the better part of ten years.

So, on the whole, I think this was the right decision, particularly as it was Las Vegas proposing it. I think things might have gone differently if the people pitching the concept were already running a multi-property resort.
posted by valkyryn at 6:07 AM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


After getting jaded by the novelty of a life-size space ship from some movie or something, not many people would care, and fewer would visit.

I imagine a jaded, crumbling, broken, FULL SCALE ENTERPRISE!! abandoned by tourists and haunted by the Vegas jetsam of drunks, hookers, burnouts, losers, and a fringe of maniacal trekkies and I think now that sounds like some place I'd like to visit.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


And now we have our New Vegas add on concept.
posted by The Whelk at 7:48 AM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do think the concern about a dilapidated ship is legit, but of course they would blow it up before it turned into some sort of Ballardian Burning Man outpost.

HOWEVER, I have seen this exact future past in REAL LIFE. Not in Vegas, mind, and technically the place was clearly masquerading as a room in NCC-1701D, not NCC-1701A.

Around 1994 or 1995, I noticed a roadside taven on a non-descript section of Auroa Ave North in Seattle. the building's current tenant is "Dawg Tails," apparently a University of Washington themed sports bar, located improbably far from campus.

Anyway, the sign outside the bar said "10-FORWARD" in blue TNG title logo lettering. There was no way in hell I was not going to mount an expedition back into the northern boonies to check this place out.

A few months later I found that I had a friend that owned a car who also was a fan of TNG. Off we went.

We walked into a two-room concrete bunkhouse with a six-foot bar topped by a piece of glowing white lucite, two taps (Bud and Bud Lite), twelve tanks of pull tabs, about $200 worth of miscellaneous comics-shop TNG promo material (such as standees of Picard and Worf, both sun faded), three wizened pull-tab Bud drinkers, and a random dude behind the bar wearing a red-and-black high-collar TNG jersey, a barman's apron, jeans, and sneakers.

The jersey was FILTHY. it looked like it hadn't been washed in years, and like maybe they had a grill or something in the back, and grease splashed up on it as burgers cooked.

We had a beer, and then we left.

The cheapness and decrepitude! The brilliance and idiocy of the idea! I mean, we didn't really expect all that much, but not what we found. It was kind of mindblowing.

So I can clearly imagine a giant starship Enterprise building staffed by underpaid surly service personnel in gunky uniforms, lighting in the corridors dimmed to save money.
posted by mwhybark at 8:58 AM on April 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


All I can think of is the bar Fozzie was performing in, in the last Moopets movie (featuring the Muppets)
posted by blue_beetle at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2012


Wait, what are we thinking? We can use any hotel we like, and just call it a holodeck episode.
posted by Joh at 1:59 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


valkyryn's right about most of that. The only error is the fact that Disney didn't do the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the reason they didn't do it is because they turned it down. Apparently Rowling had an idea of what the park should be like that would have turned out to be very similar to this Enterprise experience: fully-realized world, minimal entrances, guest allowed to wander wherever. Disney ran the numbers and estimated they'd have to charge ten grand a head to recoup the cost, so Rowling went to Universal, and what Universal built is much more like a regular theme park than what Rowling wanted. So yeah, this wouldn't have worked. Stil a cool idea though.
posted by nushustu at 3:20 PM on April 9, 2012


This would've been a huge disaster. First of all, at that scale and that budget it would look very cheap. Lots of painted on paneling that might look great in a rendering but horrible up close. Secondly it would've been almost impossible to clean properly and it would end up looking 'dirty' which while great for verisimilitude as an actual spacecraft, isn't good for a mega-structure of this size. Lastly, unless the attraction really did become as popular as they project, the entire area around it looks like it could become a bit of a wasteland.

I do think there should be more of "this sort of thing" in Las Vegas but in 1992 for $150m? I really don't think it would've come out well.
posted by cell divide at 3:30 PM on April 9, 2012


Oh and mwhybark, that story is awesome! That sound amazingly bizarre in a way that is rarely seen anymore!
posted by cell divide at 3:31 PM on April 9, 2012


VERY late to the party on this one but... Was Star Trek actually that popular in 1992? I mean... DS9 didn't premiere until 1993 so in 1992 we had TOS, TNG, and the first 6 movies. I was only 14 at the time, so I really can't say one way or the other - how *big* was Trek fandom at that point?
posted by antifuse at 1:19 PM on May 7, 2012


Just my opinion, but Trek fandom probably reached its apogee in the late 80s through the mid 90s, thanks to TNG. It had the best ratings of any Trek series.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:32 PM on May 8, 2012


The movies peaked in the early 80s, but a lot more people watched the TV shows.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:35 PM on May 8, 2012


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