4-D Ride Takes Trek To New Levels

By Kristine
January 6, 2004 - 6:33 PM

The new ride at Star Trek: The Experience, Borg Invasion 4D, will be a feast for the senses when it opens in the spring of 2004.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Leif Whitmore toured the exhibit, which is currently being constructed. The new ride will feature a space station which has been damaged by the Borg. Riders will be put in the middle of a battle on the station and pitted against Borg adversaries. The set is darker and more claustrophobic than the old ride's set, which features the bridge of the Enterprise D, corridors, and a shuttlecraft.

Ty Granaroli, the vice president of creative for Paramount Parks, spoke about how the ride differs from its predecessor. "The key thing about this attraction is that it's '4-D', which means it's a lot more 'environmental' than the existing attraction," he said. "The original attraction is environmental, but this takes it to another level because it is very participatory. Everything that happens in this show is really 'happening' to you."

The Borg's prominence as an adversary made them an ideal choice for the new ride. "[T]he Borg are just great," Granaroli commented. "They're one of the most compelling adversaries in the Star Trek universe, and when you do a 3-D or a 4-D attraction as we're doing, you need something very strong and very compelling." Granaroli emphasized the new ride's dynamic qualties. "We're looking for impact," he said. "We're always trying to affect our guests. [The Borg are] definitely creatures you don't want to get close to, that's for sure."

The new ride will be taking over one-third of the attraction's space. The old ride, which has been running for six years, will continue to run on one set. "We are reusing the original layout," Granaroli said of the set which will house the new ride. "But we're changing some things, like ceiling height, to create a more unsettling atmosphere. 'Distressed' is really the best word for the architecture--it's not going to be as pristine as the original."

Granaroli says the set was designed to help create the tense atmosphere to give the ride a sense of authenticity. "Apart from the architecture, audio and lighting are the two ways you can manipulate people's anxiety and general sense of peril," he noted. "But this is designed tight, intentionally, because that is one way to disorient people." He added, "It's going to be very dark and foreboding, because there's just been a battle."

Granaroli mentioned that though the first attraction had been built with potential changes in mind, overhauling the ride has been no small effort. He mentioned the two shuttle set up and dome screen are gone, and described the changes as a "retrofit."

"It takes a lot of factors to shoehorn this into an existing facility, and it really takes a lot of effort," Granaroli commented. "The people who worked on the first attraction always anticipated that we could add to it, change it, refresh it and renew it. Our team has done a magnificent job of preserving what is there. The original attraction will continue to operate and will have this wonderful companion piece which will work right next-door."

For more on the building of the new ride, read the original article at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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