Tuesday, September 11, 2012

D&M Time Machine : Back in 1989, at WDW Tomorrowland Delta Dreamflight Attraction

Disney and more Time Machine is back and today it takes you back in time to 1989! Who remember the great Delta Dreamflight attraction? Dreamflight was a beloved Tomorrowland ride located at WDW Magic Kingdom and sponsored by Delta Air Lines. Dreamflight, which opened June 23, 1989, replaced an attraction called If You Could Fly, which was originally the attraction, If You Had Wings, sponsored by Eastern Air Lines. Delta Dreamflight used the same Omnimover ride system than the one used in the Haunted Mansion. Dreamflight was a great pop-up book version of the history of flight using animated sets, some Audio-Animatronics as well as projection effects. Riders passed through scenes of barnstormers, an M-130, Tokyo and Paris in the 1930s, the jet age, and the future of air travel, and appeared to enter a working jet engine!

Guests entered the building into a small queue designed to look like an airport boarding terminal. The front-end nose and cockpit of an actual Delta 767 was situated on the left entering the queue, "passengers" appearing as though they were actually boarding a jetliner. The Delta jet was marked as "The Spirit of Delta" in bright gold. As you made your way into the queue opposite the jet, you entered a terminal gate with posters on the wall that included many exciting and exotic destinations of the world. Eventually, you would make your way back up the terminal gate and enter the side of the jet into a mirrored hallway with bright blue, green, red and yellow neon lights. As you walked up a ramp you entered the boarding area which was set up in a very similar fashion to the Haunted Mansion. As the bright blue 'cars' rode past you would walk onto a moving escalator ramp and board your flight.

By now guests will have seen a giant mural depicting the golden era of aviation in America was adorned on the wall in this room. The next room you entered on the attraction had a giant, pop-up book style spinning room which had a hot air balloon and other flying contraptions spinning by you as the Dreamflight song would play. Then you entered the second room of your flight which was designed to look as though you were in a giant crop field of the American mid-west in the roaring 1920s. Biplanes, stunt planes and barnstormers were flying all over the ceiling above a flying circus air show. The pilot of a plane had crashed through a barn and was stuck in the rafters on the ceiling of the barn. The third room was just a big screen with a film clip of an aerial stuntman standing on top of a prop plane while it performed dizzying stunts in the air.

Next came the propeller plane era, where commercial flights started taking passengers all over the globe. On your left, you passed the inside of a posh, elegant airliner's fuselage that was the dining area of a first-class trip. Then a gentleman in a suit stood on your left in a Japanese garden where he was being greeted by the Japanese locals. Coming up on your right hand side below you were the rooftops and the skyline of Paris, France. You flew past the rooftops of a Paris street and could see quaint little shops and tourists sitting below on the patio of a French cafe. As you moved ahead, a sign saying Jet Age, spun in circles and a male voice notified you to "please prepare for supersonic takeoff". Then another female voice said, "Ladies and Gentlemen. Your Dreamflight will depart immediately for the future. Please prepare for supersonic takeoff". To the immediate left on the wall was a giant painting of a jetliner taking off towards the sky.

As you made your way forward, a giant spinning light along with fog and fans, gave you the impression that you were about to actually enter the inside of a turbo jet engine. The sounds of an engine roaring to life and taking off then blasted out over the sound system. As you entered a gigantic film projection room, you saw footage of a plane taking off a runway to simulate your flight's departure, eventually lifting off and flying through the clouds in the sky. The next room was another film clip on your right which showed computer-generated clips of you above the earth, flying in a canyon above water and eventually flying in a futuristic city with fireworks exploding all around you; the first theatrical-format 70mm computer animations ever produced. The final room of the attraction was a giant pop-up book with destinations spread out in front of you on huge pages, while a little projection of a Delta jet flew by above the display into the clouds.

The exit area was a room with the Delta logo painted on the wall and with more posters of destinations from around the world to visit.

Delta sponsored the ride from its opening in 1989 through the end of 1995. The decision not to continue sponsorship was made in part due to the costs of sponsoring the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. From January 1, 1996 to June 4, 1996 the attraction was renamed simply "Dreamflight" while its future was being determined. On June 5, 1996 it reopened as Take Flight. It was only a slight refurbishment; all references to Delta were removed and the attraction's popular theme songs were rerecorded. Take Flight closed its doors for good in January 1998, ending the dynasty of flight-based attractions to occupy the space. It was then replaced by Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, but for all of those who ha dthe luck to ride Dreamflight - including me! - it was a beloved and favorite attraction, typical of what WDI was doing at the early 80's at Epcot.

Thanks to the video below you can board again for a ride full of memories or discover this extinct attraction if you didn't had the luck to ride it! I've embedded two different videos, the first one will show you more of the ride, including the attraction entrance, and the second video which was filmed some years later is a bit better in definition although you'll see more in the first one.


Tom said...

Waw, this is so cool. This attraction (these attractions) always fascinated me, they seem so "odd", but interesting. The first time I was in WDW, Buzz was already occupying the space. Thanks for the info and the video.

Tom said...

Again, wow! I love the effect where you went into the motor of the airplane, they did re-use this effect and the "cloud movie" part in Buzz if I remember correctly?

So cool!

Anonymous said...

I love the subtle advertising to visit Japan and France (TDL and DLP)!