Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Area Attractions: FlyOver America

I recently had a chance to review the experience at FlyOver America. My daughters and I really had a fun time. It's located in the Mall of America, in the southwest corner by Nickoledeon Universe.

When we got there, I was very impressed by how pleasant and energetic the sutomer service reps at the counter were. They didn't know that we were there to review, so I know it wasn't an exaggerated experience. After having our tickets scanned, we had our picture taken (which unfortunately I wasn't able to find later, but I know that happens sometimes). As we were waiting for the ride to start, there were pictures of various landmarks and scenes from across America projected on the walls, and occasionally a trivia question would pop up. This kept it interesting while we were waiting. The staff in the waiting room would also point out certain things on the walls and make historical or cultural comments about them. If I could change anything from that part, it would be to maybe caption the pictures with locations, and to have more frequent trivia questions, since my daughters loved that part.

The safety briefing for the ride incorporates blues, rap, and country - several distinctly American styles of music. It's maybe a little longer than it would have to be, but it is cute and my daughters paid more attention than they would have if it was just a staff person saying the rules.

One note - the seats do move, and there is some suspension, so flip-flops and other sandals without heels need to be stowed in the very generous pockets under the seats, along with other bags. The ride does make use of misters, lighting, and a mild scent (although the scent only showed up in one place and didn't last long, so people sensitive to scents should be fine unless it's an extreme sensitivity).

The ride's motions are slight, but coupled with the giant screen really does add to the sensation of flying over the country. My daughters - and even some adults - flinched during the "close calls" and low flights over the water (this was even after my younger daughter leaned over and said "I know it's just a screen"). We got to see some amazing sights that we had never seen before, and really got to appreciate the diversity and beauty of American landscapes.

After the experience there is a small gift shop, but I appreciated that it wasn't overdone. Teddy bears, t-shirts, postcards, and magnets were about all the was offered, and a giant country map displayed the locations of the flight.

With the film itself, it would have been nice to know what we were flying over as we went along. Otherwise I thought it was very well done. The mist through clouds and water did add to the effect, and although it felt cold and wet, it evaporated very quickly.

Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves! It would be fun to somehow have other options - maybe one that focused just on a state, or being able to see other countries that way - but I was really glad we went, and so were the girls.

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