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If You Had Wings

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If You Had Wings
was an attraction in Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, prominently sponsored by Eastern Air Lines. Guests would ride in an Omnimover vehicle through Eastern Air Lines destinations throughout the world. The attraction ran from June 5, 1972 until June 1, 1987.

The Ride

After viewing a preshow about Eastern Airlines, guests boarded their vehicles and entered past a small view of a globe with a cutaway. Then, you experienced "take-off" where your vehicle went on an inclined plane up past silhouette images of birds and other planes. The track sent people going past different 70 mm movies of different world locations Eastern flew to. Even the attractions theme song, "If You Had Wings" respectively, couldn't mask the hum of the projectors. You did get to go through a "Super-speed tunnel" at one point where different transportation modes were projected all around you. This technology wasn't flawless; the images were quite fuzzy. The technology was improved upon for the incarnations on PeopleMover and World of Motion. Once you finished seeing the "world," you were told to disembark.


New Names, New Problems

Eastern Airlines ended their sponsorship in 1987. The title was changed it "If You Could Fly" and all references of Eastern were removed, from the preshow to the song. This upset many enthusiasts of the attraction at the removal of the preshow. It was replaced with images of flying birds. This version was closed quickly closed.

The whole ride, stages, projectors, and sets sat useless for many years until Delta Airlines took over sponsorship. The ride was retooled to Delta Dreamflight, one of the most remembered versions of the ride. It used most of the If You Could Fly sets, but had many overhauls in the theme and scenery. Delta did drop their sponsorship in 1996, but instead of finding a new sponsor for the failing attraction, the Disney executives removed all reference to Delta, brought back the old "If You Had Wings" theme with minor retools, and "Disney's Take Flight!" was incarnated. It closed in 1998.

The Future

The entire ride system and stages sat useless for years, like before the transformation into Delta Dreamflight. The Disney executives were looking for a way to advertise the Pixar movie hit Toy Story at the WDW park. They then remembered the old If You Had Wings track. So, they sent a crew of Imagineers to completely strip out the Disney's Take Flight! remains and create an arcade-style shooter themed to Toy Story. The end results were Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. This shooter-style game is the first to utilize the experimental free-rotating Omnimover. In it, guests have the ability to move their vehicle around by turning a crank in the center of the car. The new ride still utilizes the If You Had Wings track but in a reversed fashion.

Trivia

  • An episode of The Simpsons called "Special Edna" parodies If You Had Wings and several other attractions at an Epcot knockoff called "EFCOT Center." In it, a ride called the "FutureSphere" (whose exterior resembles Spaceship Earth) is supposed to show a world where everything is controlled by Eastern Air Lines. At the end of the episode, Homer escapes to Walt Disney World.
  • Some technologies of If You Had Wings have been reused in other attraction, mainly the Superspeed Tunnel in World of Motion and in Disneyland's PeopleMover.
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