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Flyover Chicago Adds Three-Pronged Entertainment to Chicago's Navy Pier
Rides 4U - New & Used Rides
The Flyover Chicago attraction has flown onto Chicago's Navy Pier, positioned across from the entertainment pier's location of the Chicago Children's Museum. The pier was already home to an S&S Double Shot Drop Tower, the Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze, and the 195-foot-tall, gondola-style Ferris wheel.

Flyover Chicago opened this month at the site of the location's former IMAX theater. The experience runs 30 minutes, including a Chicago Gallery, a pre-show, and the nine-minute ride itself. New ride sessions run in 15-to-20-minute intervals.

All three sections of the attraction were created by Pursuit, the Denver-based company which has opened four other Flyover attractions in Iceland, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and at Minnesota's Mall of the Americas. Tickets are priced at $24.95 for adults 14 and up; $14.95 for children 13 and under; and $19.95 for military.

The attraction was designed over a period of 2½ years, with the Flyover team interviewing Chicagoans for commentary about the city, stories which form a portion of the ride's audio track. Overall, it provides an inspirational message about innovation and resilience, relates Flyover COO and executive producer Lisa Adams, a message that encourages viewers to believe in themselves and their city, and to remember that “when we go through tough times and we come together, we come out better.”

With a story called “Believe Chicago,” guests begin their ride experience by entering the Gallery. Serving as the first introduction to the ride, the Gallery features circular walls that reveal a variety of videos introducing both the scenes and the characters that will be shown in the Flyover ride portion of the experience. From the Joffrey Ballet to Wrigley Field, guests can become acquainted with a variety of locations and individuals that are representative of the city. As viewers watch images of city landmarks, neighborhoods, and their inhabitants, a musical soundtrack draws them into the experience.

Upon leaving the Gallery, visitors will enter the pre-Show Theater, a curved room where images are projected on the circular screen positioned in the middle of the expansive space and on the walls. Here, guests get a look at a narrated short video which includes a vibrant musical performance by the Soul Children of Chicago. The story becomes more fully realized, offering viewers a fuller look at the city and its inhabitants.

Then it's time to enter for the final nine-minute attraction. Attendees enter a larger theater space with a 65-foot surround screen. Strapped into their seats, guests will feel their seats move to create the sensation of flying right along with the drones that shot the film footage on the screen. Other sensorial effects include wind, scents, and mist.

So where will you travel? Guests zoom above the city's famous skyscrapers, through the iconic silver sculpture known as The Bean, alongside a moving transit train, directly inside the Navy Pier holiday fireworks, and over the Chicago River when it glows chartreuse green for St. Patrick's Day. They'll also spin around the renowned statue of the goddess Ceres in her perch on top of the Chicago Board of Trade. The thrill ride seats 60 people.

The intensely realistic illusion of motion on the Flyover journey is part of the fun, taking guests everywhere from Millennium Park to Lake Shore Drive and the Navy Pier itself.  The music track is a mix of jazz, hip-hop and other Chicago vibes created by composer Elliott Wheeler.

According to Adams, Flyover plans to bring additional immersive Flyovers to the new Chicago location: those of its sister attractions in Iceland, Las Vegas, and Vancouver. She terms the Navy Pier location “really special.” Flyover is also planning a new attraction in Toronto in the near future.

Chicago's pricing is in the mid-range for Flyover experiences, which hew close to $20 at the Mall of America and hover around $40 in Reykjavik. The company's president, Marilynn Gardner, states that the goal of each Flyover is to always take its guests to hear “captivating stories” and visit the destination's “epic places.” That said, Chicago is the first FlyOver ride to focus on a single city. The Vegas iteration soars its viewers through the Grand Canyon as well as along the glittery Strip; the Reykjavik attraction immerses viewers in all of Iceland.

But Chicago gets a single-location approach on the 48,000-square-foot ride, something Gardner specifically wanted to explore, and one that she hopes viewers will find impactful and positive.

As to the thrills themselves, as guests careen from Chinatown to Buckingham Fountain, including vast aerials and engaging first-person storytelling, there are plenty of ooh and ahh moments to go around. The experience maintains an exhilaratingly rapid pace, as viewers virtually fly up skyscrapers and zoom back down to street level, allowing guests to experience a sensation not unlike that of airtime on a roller coaster ride. Working in tandem with the thrillingly filmed visuals, the seats that guests inhabit move into dips and swoops to create a flight-like feeling and even “hang suspended,” the Flyover PR asserts.

The attraction cost $40 million to construct. The result is a mix of virtual reality, theme park thrills, and uplifting messages, each a part of a 3-D immersive journey that serves as a love letter to the city while creating an illusion of real-life motion.

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