It’s easy to miss Las Vegas’s latest attraction. Tucked between a Hard Rock Cafe and an outpost of the discount department store Ross, the red-hued entrance to FlyOver Las Vegas is relatively discreet, especially in a city known for over-the-top shows. Walk inside and you’re quickly delivered from the cacophony outside into an entry with quiet music and soft lighting. It’s a perfect environment to prep your senses for what’s about to come.
Opened last year, FlyOver is a flight simulator, akin to the Disneyland ride Soarin’. In fact, FlyOver is the brainchild of Disney Imagineer, Rick Rothschild, who crafted Soarin’. FlyOver features two separate simulated rides, one covering the varied landscape of the Wild West and the other sweeping riders over Iceland’s stunning topography.
FlyOver feels like a full experience, well worth the relatively modest admission ($34 for a single ride, $54 for a double feature, and even cheaper for kids). Riders are led through a long hallway lit in bright, shifting, hallucinatory colors. From there, there are two pre-shows in two separate theaters — the space was a former multiplex — that somehow both relaxes riders and builds anticipation for what’s to come.
The ride itself follows that blueprint, being somehow calming and enthralling in equal measure. Utilizing seats that move, a 52-foot-long screen, wind, mists, and scents (though it’s mostly impossible to smell anything through face masks), FlyOver whisks you away from Sin City mentally, if not physically. The Wild West ride is a blast and includes a journey up and over the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and, of course, Vegas. The more high-energy Iceland experience is one for the books (especially for those of us stuck stateside), transporting riders to an alien environment of glaciers, waterfalls, and the colorful capital of Reykjavík. After each ride, giant maps outside the theater display where the awe-inducing aerial photography was taken.
FlyOver adds to a growing roster of interactive activities in Vegas — including the Area15 art campus and a trippy Van Gogh exhibit at the Shops at Crystals — that help further shift the city’s identity from a singularly-focused gambling mecca to a more diverse destination. (flyoverlasvegas.com)
This piece, initially titled Fly Away, originally ran in Out Traveler print magazine. The Winter 2022 issue is now available on newsstands.