Will Star Trek help launch Movie Park Germany to the next level?
February 16, 2017, 2:51 PM ·
We are getting our first look at the world's newest Star Trek-themed attraction, which debuts this spring at Movie Park Germany.
Star Trek: Operation Enterprise is a Mack triple-launch coaster featuring a top speed of 56 mph and three inversions, including an Immelmann, a Heartline Roll, and a Zero-G Roll. Let's take a look at some highlights of this 2:24 ride, in a hype video provided today by the park:
Movie Park Germany says that Operation Enterprise will be themed to "The Next Generation" chapter of the Star Trek franchise, which for non-fans was the 1987-1994 television series starring Patrick Stewart that eventually took over the movie series from the original cast, from 1994-2002. The coaster will be part of a "Federation Plaza" area in the park, with Star Trek-themed displays and retail in addition to the ride. If you understand German, here's an interview with Mack Rides describing the development of the attraction. (And even if you don't know German, you can get the gist of it.)
For being one of the more popular and enduring multi-media entertainment franchises, Star Trek's suffered a relatively weak history in theme parks. The most successful themed installation for the franchise was Star Trek: The Experience, which operated for 10 years at the Las Vegas Hilton, closing in 2008. Featuring a motion simulator and a 4D show, this hard-ticket Star Trek mini-park was operated by Paramount Parks, and then Cedar Fair. Paramount Parks also featured Star Trek-themed Vekoma Flying Dutchman coaster at Carowinds, called Borg Assimilator. Cedar Fair renamed the coaster Nighthawk in 2008, when its IP license from Paramount terminated.
Before that, Universal Studios offered Star Trek Adventure, a live show featuring audience volunteers playing supporting roles that would be cut with previously filmed scenes featuring actors from The Original Series into a short film that would play at the end of the performance. (Universal most recently used a similar device in its Disaster! attraction at Universal Studios Florida.) The show ran at Universal Studios Hollywood from 1988 through in 1994, in the theater that now houses Shrek 4D. A limited version of the experience was offered at Universal Studios Florida as part of The Screen Test Home Video Adventure, from 1991 through 1996.
As for Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, if this were an indoor coaster, I'd be craving an opportunity to ride. But as an outdoor coaster, the Star Trek name here seems to me another example of aspirational branding on a theme park ride than the sign of a convincing immersive experience. And Movie Park Germany isn't exactly a major park. It didn't crack the Top 20 parks in Europe in the latest TEA/AECOM industry attendance report last year, putting its annual attendance at fewer than 1.46 million visitors. Formerly known as Warner Bros. Movie World Germany, the park was part of the Premier Parks/Six Flags chain until 2004, when it a private equity firm bought it and dropped the Warner Bros. branding. Parques Reunidos has owned the park since 2010.
But less-attended parks need big attractions to move up, and Star Trek certainly delivers a powerful brand. And Mack Rides makes some pretty sweet coasters, too. So we'll see if Star Trek: Operation Enterprise allows Movie Park Germany to make the leap into the top tier of European theme parks this summer.