Now boarding: Las Vegas' newest 'Wild' ride

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T0913FLYOVERVEGAS1_C_HR [Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit]
"The Real Wild West" at FlyOver in Las Vegas features iconic landscapes from the U.S. West. Photo Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit

UPDATED: This report was updated on Sept. 8 to add that FlyOver pays commissions to travel agents.

Adventurous guests glide, float, plunge, soar and race over the West's majestic vistas in the new FlyOver theater that opened on the Las Vegas Strip on Sept. 1.

FlyOver is an immersive, multisensory flight attraction that takes guests above "The Real Wild West" in high-definition on a spherical, 52.5-foot screen. Before they lift off, they are buckled into seats on a moving platform with six degrees of motion that coincide with the stunning imagery. As their feet dangle, they encounter wind, mists and scents throughout the eight-minute journey.

The scenery includes a solar eclipse over a volcanic peak in Oregon's Cascade Volcanic Arc, stallions racing in snow-covered Yellowstone, a traditional Hualapai Bird Dance in the Grand Canyon, 65-foot waves on California's Lost Coast, Western movie set action in Goldfield, Ariz., and open spillways on that state's Roosevelt Dam.

T0913FLYOVERVEGAS2_C_HR [Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit]
As guests sit in their seats, feet dangling, they encounter wind, mists and scents throughout the eight-minute journey. Photo Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit

FlyOver Las Vegas' general manager, Jack Kenn, said the concept initially considered keeping the experience within a 500-mile radius of Las Vegas but was eventually broadened to include the entire U.S. West. The film's producers asked, "What story can we tell? How did the West become wild? Why is it wild? And what are the different versions of wild?" Kenn said.

Most of the 22 scenes, filmed in the past year, required one or two days to shoot. A helicopter was used for all but one; a drone captured the ambitious choreography of the Western movie set. No computer-generated imagery was used except in one intense scene with Air Force jets; the film's producers hope to reshoot the scene when pandemic protocols allow.

"A lot of the shots were incidental. The Golden Gate Bridge shot wasn't even planned," Kenn said. "We were just traveling from one location to the other, and we're like, 'Oh, my God, it's perfect! Go back and shoot it again.' So there were things like that were serendipitous."

Creative director and former Disney Imagineer Rick Rothschild led the effort behind "The Real Wild West." The score was created by Tom Holkenborg, a Danish composer and musician who also goes by the stage name Junkie XL.

As part of the 35-minute experience, guests go through a cinematic boarding area and see a preshow projected on wraparound walls and a central screen before "taking flight." The preshow highlights the West's rugged geology, diverse cultures and entrepreneurial history. Montreal-based multimedia company Moment Factory produced the preshow and other content for the attraction.

T0913FLYOVERVEGAS3_C_HR [Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit]
FlyOver's lobby and Lost Cactus Bar feature a canyon-floor theme. Photo Credit: FlyOver in Las Vegas by Pursuit

FlyOver converted the former Untied Artists' theater and part of what was a Famous Footwear store for the $50 million venue. It includes a retail store and a full-service bar (accessible without a ticket) with beer, wine, craft cocktails, mocktails and snacks.

A project of attractions and hospitality company Pursuit, FlyOver Las Vegas has two 40-seat theaters. The other theater screens "Iceland," a similarly immersive experience over the country where the first FlyOver opened in 2019. A third FlyOver is located in Vancouver, and another is expected to open in Toronto in 2024.

FlyOver, next to the Hard Rock Cafe on Las Vegas Boulevard, is open daily to guests of all ages. Tickets with specific showtimes start at $24 for children (ages 12 and under) and $34 for adults (with $10 discounts for locals) for one ride.  Children must be at least 40 inches tall to ride.

FlyOver pays commissions for travel agent bookings.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. this month and from 10 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) beginning in October. Visit FlyOverLasVegas for more information.

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