For many of us, Sin City is a starting point for adventures beyond the casino. Look past the showrooms, over the pool cabanas, and you'll find a great place to hike, skydive, or zoom around a race track in exotic cars. In recent years, we've lost some amusement attractions like Sahara's SPEED: The Ride and the original High Roller coaster atop The STRAT. But now we can add a new thrill ride to the offerings, thanks to FlyOver Vegas.
Disney park devotees are almost certainly familiar with the technology behind FlyOver Vegas. The exact same concept is utilized at SOARIN' AROUND THE WORLD at Orlando's EPCOT and Anaheim's California Adventure Park.. Much more than a simulator ride, FlyOver Vegas immerses you and your fellow travelers in an experience so realistic that you'll believe you've hand-glided among the clouds. And yet, it's perfectly safe.
So how does FlyOver Vegas work? Well, you'll just have to wait to find out....literally. Much like with major theme park attractions, there's plenty of anticipation and build-up. After selecting your destination and flight time(s), you'll receive a ticket, then head towards the concourse:
"Entering from Las Vegas Boulevard, guests happen upon an “endless hallway” that detaches them from the sounds and action of the outside world. Imagery, sound, color, and lighting are used to seemingly take guests to the bottom of a canyon." That's where you'll find Lost Cactus Bar, a lounge which "offers a variety of food and beverage options, including mocktails and specialty frozen drinks."
When boarding time approaches, you'll be directed towards the gate, and a jovial tour guide will line you up in groups, tossing some trivia about your destination into the mix. Then it's off to an in-the-round training facility (above) where a spherical orb is suspended over a swirling virtual pool. The orb is actually a video screen, entirely surrounded by massive projection walls enhanced by a booming sound system. They present an entertaining history of your destination and pre-flight safety instructions using actors, special effects, and animation. Are you excited yet?
Finally, it's time to board the "aircraft", a two-level row of gliders suspended in front of a massive, 52-foot semi-spherical screen. Once everyone is loaded and strapped in, the gliders surge forward in the darkness towards the show. Immediately, you'll experience the sensation of flight, as you swoop, climb, dive, and tilt in sync with the imagery. At the same time, breezes, fog, fragrances, clouds, and temperature changes fool your mind into thinking you're actually soaring above those stunning locations.
Shown in 8k resolution, fliers glide over landmarks in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. The roughly 9-minute film was shot especially for this attraction using world-class pilots and state-of-the-art cameras. It also features a music score written for the attraction by film composer Tom Holkenborg aka "Junkie XL" (Mad Max Fury Road, Deadpool, Godzilla vs. Kong).
FlyOver Vegas Real Wild West
Highlight destinations and sights include:
- Crashing 65-foot waves at Lost Coast just south of Jackass Creek
- A dual flood gate release that happens once every 11 years at Roosevelt Dam in Arizona
- Potash pools in Moab
- Bellagio Fountains and The Strip in Las Vegas
- A solar eclipse over a volcanic peak in Oregon’s Cascade Volcanic Arc
- Winter beauty in Yellowstone National Park with a team of stallions
- Water skiing in winter snow at Cascade Lake
- A Hualapai traditional “Bird Dance” in the Grand Canyon
- A speed demon Streamliner soaring over Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
- Two Navajo horseback riders traversing Monument Valley, Arizona
- Western movie set action in Goldfield Ghost Town, Arizona
- Fly fishing in the woods outside of Telluride, Colorado
- The vantage point of a wingsuiter as they descend Washington’s Stehekin Mountain
While most of the hype surrounding FlyOver Vegas involves, err....flying over Las Vegas, there is actually a second film in rotation with "The Real Wild West". Entitled "Iceland", it was created for FlyOver's sister attraction in Reykjavik. Just as gorgeous, and perhaps even more so, "Iceland" will take you over glaciers, glassy pristine lakes, massive waterfalls, and stunning green valleys. Yours truly experienced both flights and found "Iceland" to be the bigger crowd-pleaser. Passengers positively squealed with excitement, gasping during plunges towards the Earth and lifting their feet to prevent them from getting "dunked" in the chilly rapids.
Experience FlyOver Iceland
After the ride, be sure to wave hello to the technicians who make FlyOver's wizardry possible. You can then purchase photos of your adventure, pick up a few souvenirs at the gift shop, and return to the Lost Cactus Lounge for your connecting flight (or exit to the Strip).
My insiders tell me that roughly ten million dollars were used to convert the former Regal Showcase 8 Cinemas into FlyOver Vegas. The impressive facility is wheelchair-accessible, offers locker rentals, and can host groups of up to 40 individuals. There are no age restrictions, but riders must be at least 40" tall.
FlyOver Vegas is located at 3771 South Las Vegas Boulevard between Hard Rock Cafe and Mosaic Theater, across from Park MGM Resort. Hours of operation are noon through 8 pm daily. Click here to visit their website and order tickets online. Individual rides cost $34 for adults, $24 for children 12 and under. Experience both "The Real Wild West" and "Iceland" for $54 ($38 for kids), or check out these package deals Nevada residents save 30% with state ID.