INSPIRATION: There is no question: The Space Place is a blended achievement somewhere between Star Wars and Star Trek. However the seeds of inspiration are rooted in an unlikely combination of two locations: Disney World and Las Vegas!
My family was a Disney Family! We visited the theme parks multiple times. We shopped Disney, we own practically every Disney Video. We wore Disney clothing and sported the Disney logos. If I could have my dream Job, I would be a Disney Imagineer. (Disney calls their engineers “Imagineers” = Imagination + Engineering)
On Stage / Off Stage at Walt Disney World.
As you browse the pages of The Space Place, you’ll notice I use the terms “ON Stage and OFF Stage”. This comes directly from my Disney experience. Several years ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to experience Disney World as very few have ever seen it… behind the scenes! I was part of a small, 10 guest envoy. We were invited to tour places that are NOT open to the public. We walked beneath the streets of the Magic Kingdom, in the maze of utility corridors and tunnels that enable the Magic Kingdom to appear so magical! Over the course of this full day tour, I learned that Disney has it’s “On Stage Area” and it’s “Off State Area”. And if I had not experienced it myself, I would not have believed how absolutely DIFFERENT these two “areas” are.
On Stage at Disney is what the all the guests experience. The perfectly manicured lawns and trees. The impeccably clean streets, shops and restaurants.The famous Disney characters, in perfect form and customs. The lighting, music, sounds and smells… all perfect. On Stage is exactly what Disney wants you to see, hear and experience. They orchestrate everything perfectly. Disney goes to great lengths to insure you NEVER experience Disney OFF Stage.
Off Stage is a TOTALLY difference experience! Walking in the tunnels beneath Main Street USA, I encountered employees dressed in only the lower half of the costume of the character that they play “on Stage”. I saw Alice, from “Alice in Wonderland”, in the break room, chatting with man in a ‘headless’ Pluto costume, both enjoying a Pepsi! I saw TWO Mickey Mouse characters walking together, one dressed as normal Mickey, the other as Tomorrowland Mickey! You would NEVER see this “on-stage”! The off stage “scenery” is very boring and gray. No frills, very industrial and efficient.
Perhaps the greatest impact from this whole experience was when I was touring off stage “Main Street USA” outside. Our guide brought our group to a sunny, open area, behind one of the Main Street buildings. The area had ladders, glue buckets and clutter. The back side of the building was like a pole barn. Certainly not what you would call the “Disney Experience”. Then the tour guide had us take ONE STEP through a gate…. In that one step, we were instantly “On Stage”. No ladders, clutter or pole barns. We were standing on Main Street USA just as everyone else saw it. Bright, colorful with rich architecture. We spent the next half hour going back and forth. Taking one step: “On Stage to Off Stage” then back again “Off Stage to On Stage”. Then repeating the process, all the while studying how Disney controlled everything! All the sight-lines were perfect. If an area was off stage, it did not receive even a coat of paint! It truly was amazing! (By the way, you can image that Disney is going to keep their “Off Stage” area truly off stage, NO Cameras were allowed on the tour…. sorry!)
Having experienced how Disney controlled the whole On-Stage / Off Stage settings, gave me the bug to try to create some “On Stage” experiences of my own… these were the young seeds of The Space Place.
Las Vegas & The Space Place ?
Ok… so how does Las Vegas factor in to the inspiration equation of The Space Place?
Four Words: Star Trek The Experience!
If you are a Star Trek fan perhaps you’ve heard about, or better yet – experienced it for yourself.
Out of respect, I will not give away the plot or some of the awesome surprises. However, I will share this: I went to see this ‘show’ with three friends. Two of us are Star Trek fans, the other two couldn’t even spell “Star Trek” correctly. Nor did they care to know how. They went along for the heck of it.
By the end of the “experience” the two NON-Star Trek fans wanted to go back and do it again! IT WAS FANTASTIC!
This tour, coupled with the Disney ‘Off Stage’ experience, was all that was needed to give me my focus. I began planning “The Space Place” on this very trip!
A Child at Heart!
When it comes right down to it, The Space Place would NEVER exist if it were not for my true inspiration: my two awesome children. I wanted to create a unique “Play Room” for them.
What’s in a Name?
My oldest son gave The Space Place it’s name. I had envisioned calling it something more technical. But he was insistent:
“Dad, It’s THE SPACE PLACE!”
I figured a young Star Wars fan named “Luke”, knows what he’s talking about.
The Space Place ~ Page Links
|Intro & Inspiration||<< You are Here|
|Concepts & Construction|
|Star Field ~ On Stage|
|Star Field ~ Off Stage|
|Control Panels ~ On Stage|
|Control Panels ~ Off Stage|