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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Disney Catching Up to Our World of Immersive Simulation. Starship Horizon, A Four to Six Person Bridge Simulation. Missions at Home With Friends. Imaginarium Theater.

Disney's Soon to Be Star Wars Hotel

Hello Troops,
    Ever since I founded the Christa McAuliffe Space Education in November 1990 I dreamt of ways the Center could expand and grow if the concept ever took hold commercially.  In the Space Center's future, I dreamt of relocating to a larger facility which would include starship simulators used for both education and entertainment, an orbital restaurant, and fully immersive starship hotel. Well, I'm happy to report that Disney beat me to the punch.
Last week Disney announced several changes coming to Epcot at DisneyWorld; two of which perfectly match my vision for a space themed Edventure center.  

Here's the first headline.

Disney is opening an immersive Star Wars Hotel where each guest gets a storyline

OK, how cool is this.  

Greg Kumparak from describes the project in a recent posting. 

AHHHHHHH. Disney just announced something that’s potentially so cool that I hardly need complete sentences here: Immersive. Star Wars. Hotel.
Details are still super light, but Disney just dropped this bombshell in the middle of its D23 expo down in Los Angeles.

Here’s what we know so far:
  • All of the employees (or ‘cast members’, in Disney Park lingo) will be in costume and in character
  • Each guest will get a storyline, which Disney specifically says will “touch every single minute of your day”
  • It’s meant to take place on a space ship; ‘windows’ will only show space.

In other words, it’s… like… Westworld (or, you know, as close as anyone can get) plus Star Wars.
The potential here is incredible. I’d be excited about this even if it was just some haphazard third party throwing together a Star Wars-themed weekend. But with the might of an army of Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm’s own stamp of approval on it? Oh man, oh man, oh man.
Sadly for us Californians, Disney has only mentioned this as coming to Florida’s Walt Disney World thus far. BRB, buying plane tickets to Orlando.
And if that isn't cool enough, what about an orbiting space restaurant, just like I envisioned in the 1990's

Disney's Concept of Mission Space's Orbiting Restaurant
My vision for an enlarged commercial space center from the 1990's included an orbiting restaurant where patrons could enjoy delicious meals from the earth and places beyond while looking down upon our home planet.  My vision differs from the current Disney scheme in relation to the viewport. I imagineered a multi tiered restaurant rising in front of an Imax sized screen displaying a true HD view of earth from an orbiting satellite.  It was to be a true view of the earth coming to the restaurant from a real satellite, real time.   

Perhaps my dream restaurant is before it's time. Regardless, I'll happily be in line at this Mission Space restaurant at some future date with reservation in hand for an expensive (as Disney restaurants always are) meal and loving every minute, or I should say, every dollar of it.  

Mr. Williamson

Starship Horizons, A Four to Six Player Bridge Simulator       

I think it is safe to say that northern Utah, with its 27 starship simulators, is the world's capital of educational school based spaceship simulators. The keyword is 'school based' meaning located in schools. With the explosion of immersive video games hitting the market, I wondered how many entertainment starship bridge simulation programs were out there. The answer is several.  Many of you know a few, like Artemis.  Last week I found another company to add to the pool - Starship Horizons.  Surprisingly, Starship Horizons is eerily similar to any one of our local starships.  

Starship Horizons is a multi-player experience allowing 2-6 players to work together as the ship's Bridge Officers. The core gameplay experience is designed around players commanding their own Starship as the bridge officers in the roles of Captain, Flight, Tactical, Science, Operations, and Engineering. 

As a team, players can venture into the galaxy in our vast Campaign setting, or play any number of Missions designed for a shorter experience.

A Starship Horizons Computer Lab Bridge

As with other game-like simulations, the greatest flaw in Starship Horizons is the absence of interactivity - the core of the Space Center EdVentures missions which have a real flight director managing the simulation and changing the simulation's objectives and curriculum based on the crew's actions. However, Horizons may be something fun to tide you over until you and your friends can book your next mission in one of the many starship simulators using the Voyager inspired immersive and interactive simulators.     

Watch this video showcasing one of their simulations in progress.

This is an example of a Starship Horizons video training.

Another example of a crew in action during a demo mission.

Visit Starship Horizons website to learn more.

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Gifs of the Week Edited for a Gentler Audience.

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