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Fantasy of Flight - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Days Out

For an alternative day out head approximately 15 miles from Disney World, heading west on I4 towards Tampa take exit 44 and head towards Fantasy of Flight. This air museum has a collection of over 40 aircraft from various periods in history, plenty of seaplanes and a huge collection of restoration works in progress and odds and ends of aviation hardware.

All based in several hangars, the main complex has been designed very much in the Art deco style and when you first enter you really have no idea of what you are about to encounter. The initial section takes you through an interactive walking tour based on planes of World War I and II, you actually get to explore through a WWII bomber – just be careful … the bomb bay doors are open! This really did make me appreciate what the air crew of this time went through. You see these massive bombers from the outside and they look big (okay, not Airbus A380 big, but still! ). Once inside, it is cramped and noisy and there are no creature comforts at all … so next time you are complaining about flying in coach, just think of this!

You emerge from this tour into one of two main hangars. These hangars feature a huge selection of different planes. Some you can clamber in, right into the pilot’s seat, others are for looking at and appreciating. It is a really eclectic mix and quite amazing to think that really it is just the personal collection of one man, Mr Kermit Weeks, and this is perhaps only a quarter of his collection!

Before exploring the hangar fully, we jumped on the tram tour. This takes you around the complex, stopping at hangars that are otherwise not accessible. Within these hangars you realise that they NEVER through anything away! There are engines, upon engines, upon engines, propellers, wings and spars all held just in case they are ever required for part of a restoration. Given the age of some of the planes that are being restored, I guess they don’t have a ready supply of spares! You also make a stop at the restoration hangar where they are actively working on some of the planes at the moment.

What is amazing is that a good number of the planes on display are in flyable condition and every day a different plane is taken out to be shown flying, definitely don’t miss this. Also don’t miss the fun with flight ‘kids’ bit, an interactive section with lots of different fun learning sections … eventually allowed our kids to have a go! There is also Fightertown where you take part in a dogfight, flying in your own simulator.

It is definitely a day out of the ordinary and you do feel that you are taking part in one man’s love aircraft and flying, however, it is done so, so well that it is really worth making the trip and spending some time at Fantasy of Flight.

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Page added on: 19 January 2010
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