At first glance, Fantasy of Flight seems to simply be an aviation museum. With the many planes on display, some of which are behind ropes so you can look but not touch, it’s easy to think that first impression is correct. But it’s not.
Fantasy of Flight is is very hands on. With cockpits from real airplanes that guests can sit in and touch the controls, and being able to actually climb aboard an authentic B-17 Flying Fortress and experience a World War II bombing mission, you walk out at the end of the day feeling as though you actually flew.
When you arrive at Fantasy of Flight, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the water tower on the premises. The water tower is quite noticeable as, unlike typical water towers, it is painted red and white in a checkerboard fashion. The reason for this? To make it more visible to planes so they can avoid it. Additionally, in history, if a water tower was painted this way, it indicated a safe landing area for planes.
The facility itself is decorated in Art Deco style. Immediately upon entering the main building, the Compass Rose Diner is to the right. The Compass Rose reminds guests of the diners of the 1930s and 40s, with a short order menu and wait staff that are both pleasant and efficient. Despite the nostalgic nature of the diner, they do accept modern forms of payment.
Tickets are purchased in the gift shop, to the left of the main entrance. They will also provide you with a map and schedule of events. There are guided tours into restricted areas, such as the Tram Tour or the tour of the restoration areas. There are also daily Aerial Demonstrations (weather permitting), often flown by Fantasy of Flight’s owner, Kermit Weeks himself.
There are also many multi-media exhibits, covering such things as the Tuskegee Airmen, and WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots).
The Fun with Flight Center is an interactive fun center where you can make paper airplanes and then fly them, fly in a hot air balloon simulator, or hang glide with the hang gliding simulator. Children do need to be supervised by an adult while in this area, but it is very kid-friendly, as is the entire attraction.
It is difficult for guests to decide on a favorite part of the day. From the Aerial Demonstrations to the Tram Tour of behind the scenes secrets, it’s all exciting. For the real aviation buff, they even offer meetings and weddings.
Fantasy of Flight is 10am to 5pm daily. They are closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and do occasionally vary their hours for special events. Admission prices can be found on their website, or by calling them at (863)984-3500. They are located at 1400 Broadway Blvd SE, Polk City, FL 33868.