20 September 2021

Walt Disney World 50 for 50: The Era of Air Travel

When it comes to extinct attractions we often have a moment or two in the attraction that shine brighter in our mind more than the rest of the attraction. Sometimes it is the big splashy ‘wow’ moment and sometimes it can be that small little detail from the queue that really stuck with us. You can always tell a great attraction from its ability for each guest to have a very different element that was that special place for them. Take, for example Delta Dreamflight.

Delta Dreamflight opened in June of 1989 and flew guests through the history of flight and across the globe until January of 1998. It wasn't the first attraction in this space to focus on the joys of air travel, however. It was preceded by If You Had Wings in 1972 and the short-lived If You Could Fly in 1987. Back in 1989, many guests who experienced the Delta Dreamflight iteration of the attraction remember the front section of the plane, known as the Spirit of Delta, and the gate that comprised much of the queue or the cut-out barnyard aerial show that filled a vast show room. Some remember the video screen with high flying stunts, the smoky turbine effect, or the pop-up book of air travel. For me, however it was always the scene with the global clipper.

The scene starts in San Francisco, as seen here, with the flying boat docked across from the Golden Gate Bridge. Guests would then move into the dining area of the global clipper, a Martin M-130 that began flying in 1934 and had its final flight in 1945, which is dripping in elegance. Exiting the other side of the clipper, and guests find themselves in a scene that jumps right off of the tour book of Japan. A quick turn, and guests are atop the hills of Paris, complete with sidewalk café and a Delta plane projected in the distant clouds.

There is so much that I love from the first several decades of Tomorrowland, and Delta Dreamflight is definitely up there for the 1980s babies. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t fly anywhere as a child, or maybe it was just that fascination with cool looking vehicles, but Delta Dreamflight, its scenes and music are ingrained in my memory and instantly bring a smile to my face. And there is no section of that attraction that I remember more fondly than global clipper tour. What was your favorite scene of Delta Dreamflight?

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