Chicago’s Newest Attraction Is a Love Letter to Its People

Chicago’s bragging rights include a long list of “firsts,” from deep-dish pizza to the first-ever skyscraper, the Ferris wheel, and the establishment of the first blood bank. Last month, it added a new hallmark to its collection, the likes of which the world has never seen.

Flyover in Chicago, a flying ride, debuted in March to sell-out crowds and overwhelmingly positive reviews. The $45 million project is the first high-speed, FPV (first-person view) drone-operated movie ever created. It takes participants on a “flight” up, through, and over the streets of Chicago in a nonstop, action-packed nine-minute ride that elicits gasps, squeals, and awe from Chicagoans and tourists alike.

It goes beyond creating a new experience, though. The multi-act attraction dives deep into the very heartbeat of the city — its people — and weaves a story showcasing the best the Windy City has to offer.

“Officially opening Flyover in Chicago is a special one for us,” says Lisa Adams, COO and Executive Producer of Flyover Attractions by Pursuit. “Over this past year, we have had the privilege of hearing stories from Chicagoans from all walks of life, stories that illustrate the grit and tenacity this incredible city has that we have grown to know and love. Flyover is our love letter to Chicago, and we can’t wait for everyone to lose themselves in this thrilling adventure and experience the city like you’ve never experienced it before.”

In the making, America’s newest Flyover attraction became a gift to its people.

History in the Making: A Dream Team Comes Together

More than 750 individuals from across the globe came together to bring the project to life, with 500-plus hours and 20 months spent in the air, “flying over” to scout and capture what makes Chicago, Chicago.

What started as a dream took more than two years to create and required an exceptionally talented group to bring to life. The expert team behind the project includes a Chicago historian, an award-winning producer, a Disney Imagineer, and a record-holding drone pilot. The team combined their unique skills to craft an experience that captures Chicago’s essence.

The producers consulted urban Chicago historian Sherman “Dilla” Thomas for insight into people, places, and stories to incorporate into the film.

Thomas shares, “I want people to know that we’re not what they show on national news. We’re not the violent place where everyone is running lawlessly and everyone gets shot. We’re a place for art and culture, museums, Michelin star chefs, muralists, and activists who have changed the world.”

The nation’s oldest and internationally acclaimed Grammy award-winning youth gospel choir also plays a role in the film. The children, ages 7-17, perform an inspiring song created for Flyover in Chicago called “Believe.”

Soul Children of Chicago ’s founder and CEO, Dr. Walt Whitman, says, “I believe the global community needs this film right now. Chicagoans need to see it, and I really believe this will shift the spirit of negativity in our city. I believe this film will cause a shift and a movement among young people.”

Believe Chicago, Pursuit’s Newest Flyover Event

The new Chicago experience marks the fourth Flyover for global attractions and hospitality company Pursuit Collection, which also includes Flyover attractions in Las Vegas, Reykjavik, Iceland, and Vancouver, Canada.

Flyover is known for creating immersive flying journeys that take visitors on a multisensory experience across stunning landscapes and iconic locations around the globe. Chicago’s debut is Flyover’s first experience exclusively focused on a city.

The producers of Flyover in Chicago soared to new heights with the newly released attraction, stretching the boundaries of what was previously possible.

“We used to wander around town with this tiny little drone, fly around, and see if we could see interesting angles,” says Rick Rothschild, Creative Director of Flyover.

“The vision was forming, but the technology didn’t exist,” Rothschild continues, “so we reached out to an absolutely brilliant person named Gabriel Kocher, a Ph.D. in astrophysics and one of the fastest drone racing pilots on the planet. He’s on another level as an engineer and inventor of a new kind of drone. He recently worked on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) and built a piece of new equipment called the CYBERTRON FPV that moved the camera around in a way that hadn’t been done before.

“And then our dream became a reality,” Rothschild concludes.

Inside the Flyover Experience

The Chicago attraction is a three-part experience highlighting the power of community and the city’s resilience. Video snippets showcase various neighborhoods, people, and events that comprise Chicago’s heartbeat.

“From new drone technology developed specifically for Flyover to a musical score that introduces collaborative new music, to stories of Chicago told by its people, this journey will ultimately engage and entertain viewers with an immersive urban experience that pushes the boundaries of Flyover attractions in both technology and style,” said Adams.

Act One: Beginning in Chicago

Flyover begins with an introduction to Chicago’s culture and cityscape. The gallery-like first act displays people and places from the suburbs alongside music designed to inspire and fit the city’s theme.

Act Two: Delving Into Chicago’s Heart

The second act shifts its focus to stories from the people within Chicago’s heart, accompanied by powerful, original music. The setting is a preshow theater on wall-to-wall screens with a large round screen in the room’s center. Visitors view real-life stories and scenes from different Chicago neighborhoods.

Act Three: Soaring Over the City

The final act is a nine-minute flying journey over Chicago, giving guests a bird’ s-eye view of the city. The flight takes guests on a breathtaking journey up the sides of skyscrapers, over a movie set with a car chase, peering inside the Joffrey Ballet studio, and even flying through a historic theater where the Soul Children’s Choir performs. All while showcasing nonstop city life through every meticulously timed scene.

The experience features a 65-foot spherical screen with seats that move to mimic flying, making guests feel like they are soaring through the air. Sixty people at a time can experience the ride, feeling wind, mist, and scents for a fully immersive sensation while suspended in their seats.

Experiencing Flyover Chicago Yourself

The 48,000-square-foot adventure occupies a space at Navy Pier, located directly across from the Chicago Children’s Museum and near the west entrance of the pier. Luxury hotelSable at Navy Pier offers visitors a luxurious, accommodation-rich stay and opportunities to explore Navy Pier.

Flyover is now open to the public Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Chicago’s signature flying journey will be featured at other Flyover locations this year.

Karee Blunt | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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