Fantasy of Flight is located on 2200 acres in an area known to the locals as “Orlampa,” the emerging midway between Orlando and Tampa, FL. Owned and developed by Kermit Weeks, the mission of Fantasy of Flight is to encourage people to “reach beyond themselves.”
After relocating from Miami, the attraction opened in 1995 and showcases over 140 aircraft, making it the largest private collection in the world. Integral to that operation was Jesse Douthit, VP of Operations. “What differentiates us from the neighboring theme parks is that we created this attraction based on reality, not fantasy. Our product is creating real dreams with real people. Everything here is genuine and every aircraft has or will be restored to original flight condition.”
In addition to displaying vintage aircraft, such as an original 1918 DH 4B airmail plane and a rare Seversky P-35, the main facility features an immersive environment which tells the story of flight, beginning with a simulated parachute jump onto a battlefield. As guests trace the steps of early aviation - from the Wright Brothers through World War I - they are told the story of the influence of aviation throughout history. The experience culminates in a tour through an actual B-17 Flying Fortress and a reenactment of a World War II bombing mission.
During the original 1995 installation, Fantasy of Flight contracted Technomedia, formerly Soundelux, to design the multimedia experience. An Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop was selected to run the audio throughout the facility. “It ran flawlessly for 15 years,” commented Jesse Douthit, “so when we looked to upgrade our immersion environment, we went back to Technomedia and Alcorn McBride.”
The original Digital Binloop continues to play the looped audio effects in the immersion environment. Scott Dickie, Fantasy of Flight’s Operations Manager, has experience working with Alcorn McBride products from his tenure with Princess Cruise Lines. “It’s rock solid. With the help of Technomedia we were able to load new content and repurpose the 15 year-old Digital Binloop.”
A new Digital Binloop HD was added to replace laser disk players and plays eight separate channels of video throughout the attraction. Careful attention was paid to hide any hints of technology, which would detract from the experience. All projectors, speakers, and screens are very well camouflaged.
The Preshow to the B-17 Flying Fortress combines actual footage from WWII training missions with new content to reenact a pre-flight briefing. The footage appears to roll from a vintage reel but is timed seamlessly to run from a twenty-first century design. The media files are stored on CompactFlash in the Digital Binloop HD. Both Binloops and the projector reel are controlled by an Alcorn McBride V16Pro show controller.
The B-17 Flying Fortress is a walk-thru attraction where guests climb aboard an authentic aircraft and experience the “excitement and tension of a WWII bombing mission.” Audio, visual, and wind effects are controlled by the V16Pro controller. “This is our showcase attraction and quality is important to us,” commented Mr. Douthit, “we are reenacting an experience. If our audio or video goes down it creates a large void in our attraction that we simply cannot have. Our experience with Alcorn McBride has demonstrated that it is the best solution for us.”
Fantasy of Flight has plans for expansion. “We envision a facility twice this size with areas dedicated to the flight dreams of the past, present, and future,” stated Mr. Douthit. “We’ve assembled a great team here so we are well positioned for growth.” As Mr. Weeks continues to expand the collection they will continue to deliver their message. With this attraction, the sky’s the limit!