What does it take to make a thrilling flying theater film?

February 14, 2019, 2:16 PM · Flying theater rides have become a staple of themed entertainment attractions all over the world. Ever since Disney introduced Soarin' Over California at Disney's California Adventure in 2001, theme parks and other destinations around the world have been developing their own flying theater productions.

While some parks have opted for superhero films in their flying theater rides (notably the excellent Green Lantern: Galactic Odyssey at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi), most destinations opt for the aerial travelogues that launched this trend. But what does it take to produce an engaging non-fiction film that will inspire audiences to tell all their friends, "you gotta see this!"?

The producers of the upcoming FlyOver Iceland attraction have released a "behind the scenes" look at their production, detailing how a crew got the shot of kayakers going over the 40-foot Goðafoss waterfall in northern Iceland. This isn't a CGI animation — it's a real-world shoot involving RED cameras on gimbals suspended from helicopters, athletes pushing the limit in extreme conditions, and director doing the math to bring all these elements together.

And if the project's creative director, Rick Rothschild, looks familiar, that's because he is the former Walt Disney Imagineer who directed the original Soarin' Over California film.

FlyOver Iceland debuts on July 1 in Reykjavík's Grandi Harbour District. It will include a two-part multi-sensory pre-show that "explores the roles of nature, time and humankind on this ancient island while featuring volcanoes, glaciers, trolls and more," in addition to the flying theater ride. FlyOver Iceland is a production of Pursuit, a Canadian company that also developed the FlyOver Canada attraction in Vancouver.

Replies (3)

February 14, 2019 at 9:18 PM

Some additional context here: Budget flights out of Iceland are claiming a growing share of the trans-Atlantic market, but they all require stopovers in Reykjavik. The more attractions that Reykjavik can offer, the more those stopovers can be sold as a plus - rather than seen as a negative - for these flights.

That's creating demand for more quick-service tourist attractions in Iceland, and this seems to serve that need perfectly - allowing people to get a quick taste of the nation during a stopover. And for those staying longer, it could be a nice introduction to the country.

February 15, 2019 at 10:55 AM

I get a lot of notifications about cheap flights to London and all of them require stopovers in Reykjavik. Although they are on the average $350 cheaper than my preferred carrier - British Airways - the inconvenience is such that I'd rather pay full price and reach my final destination as quickly as possible. By the same token, although it's cheaper to fly from JFK to LHR than to fly from PHL to LHR there's the hassle of getting to JFK in the first place. It would take a lot more than FlyOver Iceland to entice me to book one of those flights.

February 15, 2019 at 11:13 AM

Iceland only needs 2 words to get me to stop over - volcanoes and glaciers!

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