FlyOver Canada announces $20 million 'FlyOver America' ride at Mall of America

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Image: FlyOver Canada

A spinoff of the highly successful FlyOver Canada ride attraction at Vancouver’s Canada Place is coming to one of the busiest shopping malls in the United States in the spring of 2016.

Vancouver tourism entrepreneurs Stephen Geddes and Andrew Strang announced yesterday work has begun to build FlyOver America at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“We’re very excited to share the FlyOver experience, a Canadian success story, with the rest of the world,” said Strang. “The appeal of feeling like you’re truly soaring over stunning landscapes, and sharing that fun with friends and family in a fun and safe environment, is universal.”

The American version of the attraction will be similar to FlyOver Canada and is a continued partnership with the Aquilini Investment Group, the owner of the Vancouver Canucks. A maximum of 60 passengers at a time will be strapped on and suspended in the simulated flying ride that uses a 20-metre half spherical dome screen and special effects such as scent, mist and winds.

Film production and construction of the attraction in the shopping mall’s centre court will cost a total of US$20 million, which is higher than the CAD$16 million spent to renovate the old IMAX theatre at Canada Place.

A Los Angeles-based film crew that produced Disney amusement park rides, such as Star Tours and Soarin’ Over California, has been contracted to create FlyOver America’s feature film. Over the coming months, the team will travel across the United States to capture the nation’s most stunning and unique urban and natural landscapes, including the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon and the wilds of Hawaii.

Seasonal attractions like a Christmas ride to the North Pole and the screening of the FlyOver Canada ride film are also planned.

Proponents are confident about their business plan at the Mall of America, which is a major tourist attraction in the region that sees tens of millions of visitors every year. The mall area spans 4.2 million square feet of building area consisting of 520 shops, the Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park, an aquarium, mini-golf course and theatre complex.

“The Mall of America represents the United States’ largest retail and entertainment complex and has a staggering 40 million visitors every year including more than 16 million tourists. It’s an ideal destination for our expansion into the U.S. market,” Strang adds.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, FlyOver Canada has recorded about 700,000 passengers to date since it opened in July 2013. It is forecasted to clock its one-millionth passenger this summer.

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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