Conventions : Reports : Star Trek Tour
Star Trek Tour
Con Report by HOST Jade
My son turned 35 yrs this year. Instead of a party, we decided an outing as a family would be more fun.
We're so-so Star Trek fans, but we chanced upon an ad for "the Star Trek Tour" first stop at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach. The tickets are $35 for adults, with $5.00 discounts for seniors and students (and half price children's tickets)... Definitely something different to do.
It wasn't hugely publicized. We found the ad quite by accident in the local newspaper, after the show had already been open for a couple weeks. I suppose die-hard Trekkies would be well aware of it. The average SF fan might have to look for it, however.
Touring 40 cities over the next 5 years... It might take longer, the Long Beach public "opening" was extended two weeks, and is currently at the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach for special bookings (private parties, special events) through 2008.05.15. If they do the same for each stop on the tour...
The week before we were to attend, Mahalo Daily ran an episode featuring the Star Trek Tour on 2008.02.02. You can view that episode here: Mahalo Daily--Episode 050. It's really a very short video, less than 4 1/2 minutes, but it does give a good preview of what a visitor can expect.
To see larger versions of the photos included on this page, you can visit my Flickr page.
The "Rotunda" is your entry into the Star Trek Tour. To either side of the entry are great displays of future ships in space. Directly ahead is a grand arch over a beautiful three-sided monolith. You're facing the English panel. "Space. The final frontier..." The other sides say the same thing in Vulcan and Klingon. As you leave the rotunda, there is a beautiful hologram of the NCC-1701-A coming toward you. Reach out to touch it and it speeds away. There is a much larger model of the Enterprise, turning in place before you.
This is the museum area of the Tour. There are thousands of items on display: costumes worn throughout the past 40 years of the Star Trek series and movies, some of the smaller sets (including the Guardian of Forever) and four flight simulators. There are interactive displays around the museum, where visitors can test their trivia knowledge. And there are props--tons of props!
There are beautiful displays of images from every series and movie, a "Tribute to Gene Roddenberry" and a "Timeline of the Future" putting the series and movies in perspective. Many of the exhibits have monitors above them, showing the scenes where they were used. Visitors have the opportunity to play a part in a scene, ride a shuttle craft (two versions: one is mild, one is MAX flight), sit in the chairs on the bridge of the Enterprise (again there are two versions), and stand on the platform in the transporter room.
You can wander down the K-corridor of the Enterprise saucer section and see Captain Picard's ready room and Dr. Crusher's sick bay. Here is where a working transporter room exists. Your souvenir photo does show your teleporting self! The hall is lined with multiple LCARS displays.
The "Encounter" is your last stop on the Tour. This is a 360° theatre; panels of communication consoles surround the top of the room and a lightly domed display is at the center. This rises before you to show a new model of another NCC class model, until an attack causes the demonstration to be shut down. A new module descends from the center of the ceiling in its place. Watch, as the events unfold and the situation is restored to standard operations. You exit the encounter and the Star Trek Tour.
Your visit really doesn't end at this point. You're now at the "Starfleet Provisions" point of the Tour. Here you can purchase many forms of souvenirs from tee-shirts to blankets, posters, games, DVDs and character models, and jewelry.
Are you hungry, now? There's a "Ten Forward" cafe. We were really hungry and decided to go to a more earth-bound location, but it was nice to see the added feature, even so.
Your favourite convention not listed here?
While the tickets can be "pre-ordered", don't do it! When I checked the prices, I found that TicketMaster adds a $5.40 fee to each ticket and they don't give the student and senior discounts. There were six of us going; that's the price of another ticket and a half! They also don't allow more than eight tickets per order. If you have a large group it complicates things. They don't seem to have any problem with attendance or sell-outs; buying tickets at the door is not a problem.
Definitely allow plenty of time for your visit. As I said earlier, we're so-so Trekkies, but we were there for over three hours; there is so much to see! Even the grandboy (5 1/2 yrs.) was entertained and intrigued throughout the visit, and I don't believe he's seen any Star Trek. His parents don't encourage TV viewing.
Go early. There are a couple exhibits that do form lines as the day progresses. It's not a "mob" scene; there's plenty of elbow room, and the floor plan is well thought out and spacious. We really had no trouble getting a good view of everything, but the crowd does grow later in the day.
Definitely take a camera. Yes, the Star Trek Tour is in an essentially "dark" room, as much of it depends on projected light, but the displays are brilliantly illuminated. With a good camera, you'll get plenty of fine pictures. I used a Canon dSLR "digital Rebel" without the flash, and got 130 amazing pictures! They all turned out just fine, even the two I took of the hologram image.