It’s easy to expand a trip to Las Vegas to see the awe-inspiring landscapes and natural wonders of American West. All you have to do is buy a ticket to ride FlyOver Las Vegas. This attraction, created by the Disney Imagineer who created Soarin’, is the first stand-alone attraction of its kind in America. Here’s what you need to know about this amazing experience in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
What is FlyOver Las Vegas?
This “ultimate flying ride” was created by Rick Rothschild, the retired Disney Imagineer who created Soarin’ rides at Disneyland’s California Adventure in Anaheim California and EPCOT at Disney World in Orlando Florida.
But (dare I say it?) the FlyOver Las Vegas version is even better than the Soarin’ rides at the amusement parks. The 8K film and 6D experience (the ride moves front and back, and twists side to side while you’re buffeted by wind and misted by spray and scents) is an upgraded version of Soarin’.
These films, shown on a 52.5-foot spherical screen, offer a birds-eye view of some of the most eye-popping landscapes around the world. They were filmed via a special fisheye lens camera mounted on a helicopter piloted by one daring dude. The ride soars and swoops and dips so low that you’ll involuntarily lift your feet for fear of dragging them in the rushing blue waters below.
The state-of-the-art technology made it feel so real that the simulator ride reminded me of a helicopter tour of the Great Smoky Mountains I got to experience a few years ago. Actually, in one way this ride is even better — the helicopter didn’t swoop and dip like the Las Vegas attraction does.
The FlyOver Ride Experience
The experience starts when you step off the bustling Las Vegas Strip into the foyer of the attraction. Jack Kenn, director of business development for FlyOver, says the beautiful videos that line the walkway back to the ticket sales desk and then on to the FlyOver lobby are designed to “decelerate” guests. And, despite the pounding music at the entrance, it does feel like a real transition from the chaos of the Strip to the wonder of FlyOver.
Each FlyOver location – there is one in Canada and another in Iceland – is created to reflect its local area. For that reason, the lobby floor has a painted blue “river” running through it to reflect the aquifer that runs under Las Vegas.
You can grab a drink at the Lost Cactus bar while you wait, but I recommend planning that stop after the ride, just in case the twisting and turning is more than your stomach can handle. But definitely plan to have one of the specialty drinks there. More on that in a minute.
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The FlyOver Las Vegas Shows
There are two different rides at FlyOver Las Vegas: “The Real Wild West” and “Legendary Iceland.” While both feature stunning landscapes and incredible vistas, they are far different experiences.
The Real Wild West
The newest show in the FlyOver arsenal, “The Real Wild West” flies over 22 iconic locations in the American West, including the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, the colorful Grand Prismatic at Yellowstone National Park and, of course, the incomparable Grand Canyon. Other sights include Zion National Park, Monument Valley, Lake Tahoe and the Mojave Desert. The film ends with a flight down the blazing lights of the Las Vegas Strip and the dancing water fountains of the Bellagio.
The experience starts with an entertaining “pre-show” that offers a quick multimedia history of the West, including bits on how the geography formed, Native Americans and cowboys.
This flight through the land of fire and ice explores volcanoes, glaciers, history and legends as you soar across pristine Iceland. Legendary locations include: Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, Mountains of Hörgársveit, Island of Elliðaey, complete with fearless mountain bikers, hikers and rock climbers waving from the top of a very skinny mountaintop. Without a doubt, the highlight for me was soaring over the Aldeyjarfoss Waterfalls – and the kayaker who paddled right over the falls into the river below.
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The pre-show here is hosted by an ugly troll who shares the history of Iceland.
SheBuysTravel Tip: While both flights are about soaring free over the landscapes, this flight is particular swoopy. It felt more like a thrill ride. I loved it, but if you or your kids have issues with motion sickness, be forewarned.
How Much Does FlyOver Las Vegas Cost?
The 35-minute experience includes the pre-show and the ride, which lasts approximately 9 minutes. It’s not cheap, but nothing is these days. There are several ticket options ranging from the “locals” price of $15 for one ride for children to $65 for a double ride for adults plus a drink.
I vote for the full deal that gives you access to both the Wild West and Iceland films plus a drink. Check availability and pricing details here.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Book your tickets 14 days in advance to get a 20 percent discount.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Like all good attractions, the flight ride exits through the gift shop. So be ready for the kids to ask for (demand?) one of the soft cuddly stuffed animals or another memento of their time visiting the Wild West or Iceland.
Lost Cactus Bar
The centerpiece of the lobby, the Lost Cactus Bar is a family-friendly spot that knows kids want a drink too. There are fun mocktails on the menu, like the Instagram-worthy Gold Rush mocktail that is served smoking.
There also are some tasty specialty adult beverages. I tried a very tasty Prickly Pear Margarita.
Can Everyone Ride?
Riders must be 40 inches tall to ride, which means most kids 5 and older can ride. There are wheelchair-accessible spots for riders who cannot transfer to the seats. Even blind riders can experience the swoops, dips, wind and scents.
A warning at the entrance suggests that pregnant women and people with back problems, high blood pressure or other maladies forego the ride.
It can be a problem for people with motion sickness. But workers assured us all we had to do was raise our hand if we needed the ride to stop so we could get off.
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The newest attraction on the Las Vegas Strip, FlyOver Las Vegas is next door to the Hard Rock Cafe. The space on Las Vegas Boulevard formerly housed a Famous Footwear.
Pursuit, a global tourism and hospitality brand that owns FlyOver, also operates:
- FlyOver Canada in Vancouver, which opened in 2013.
- FlyOver Iceland, which opened in Reykjavik in 2019.
A second US location, at Navy Pier in Chicago, is set to open in 2024. Another Canadian location is slated to open in Toronto.