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Fantasy of Flight: World’s Largest Private Collection of Vintage Airplanes

Fantasy of Flight

Fantasy of Flight, Polk City, FL

I remember my first flight; a KLM 747 from JFK to Amsterdam, en route to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I was only seven, and so I thought the airplane would shoot straight up into the sky on a nearly vertical trajectory. Flying in an airplane was a fantastical voyage for me then. It still is.

So I get why Kermit Weeks began amassing his own collection of vintage airplanes at Fantasy of Flight to preserve their romantic history.

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

We were looking for large on our summer vacation to Orlando, and we weren’t disappointed. After an itinerary of gators, potatoes, planetariums, and Big Macs, Fantasy of Flight offered something a little different — the world’s largest private collection of vintage airplanes.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

We stayed in a lovely USA Vacation Home in Davenport, which was 20 miles west of Orlando. This location brought us pretty close to Polk City; too close to pass up the opportunity!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

This attraction offers more than a museum of old planes.  You know that wouldn’t be enough to hold a kid’s interest! Even in the main hangars, there are several planes to climb into and play with the controls, as well as a few flight simulators.

Cessna

A Young Earhart in her Cessna

The “immersion experience” is one of the first areas you’ll pass through. The interior of an entire hangar recreates a World War II bombing mission, with eerily realistic lighting, sound, props, and even mannequins in uniform.

B-17

The “Picadilly Princess,” in amazing condition.

The path leads you up into the back of the “Picadilly Princess,” a Boeing B-17 G Flying Fortress, and you exit beneath the cockpit at the front. There was really informative signage at each station within the plane describing the roles of the navigator, waist gunner, and other crew members. The Boy (12 years old) and I really enjoyed it. The Girl (five years old) was a little scared by the sound of gunfire, so Matt found a way to bypass this area.

We spent the most time in the “Fun with Flight” center geared for kids. The hands-on displays present different properties involved in flight, such as the paper airplane lanes where you can launch your creation to see how far lift will take it. You can ride the hot air balloon and hang glide simulators.

hot air balloon

Matt was surprisingly adept at reaching the target.

I was glad we scheduled our visit to coincide with the daily aerial demonstration. Kermit Weeks, the owner and a former aerobatics champion, performed on the day we visited. We were silenced by the roar of the P-51D Mustang “Cripes A’Mighty 3rd” as it took off over Lake Agnes, and again when it landed just feet away from us.

vintage plane

The P-51D Mustang “Cripes A’Mighty 3rd”

If you’re looking for a little extra adventure (at an extra cost), you can take a short flight in a vintage bi-plane, or an early-morning hot air balloon excursion. There’s also a new 600-foot outdoor zip line, Wing WalkAir.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list): 

This attraction is a stand-out for anyone intrigued by airplanes and flight. But really young kids may not find enough hands-on exhibits suited to their age. And while our visit was hosted by Visit Orlando, I personally consider the adult ticket price of $28.95 to be high, relative to the experience. (Admission for children ages 6-12 is $14.95, and is free for children five and under.)

Hey YOU! Go BIG!:

Fantasy of Flight

1400 Broadway Blvd. S.E., Polk City, FL 33868

863-984-3500

6 comments

  1. Leigh said,
    September 28, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    Like you, I am amazed by airplanes and their ability to soar so “easily”. I find it incredible they don’t just drop out of the sky (thankfully!!)! Flight of Fantasy will be on the list when the kids are older, especially since its so close to home. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mike said,
    October 1, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    So cool that you got to watch Kermit fly. I agre that the price seems high, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

  3. October 5, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    The P-51D Mustang is awesome!

    • Traci Suppa said,
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

      There were a lot of cool planes at this place…from all points in aeronautical history!

  4. Janet said,
    October 11, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    We’ve been there. We’ve been there! Loved it too. My husband is a pilot (I didn’t think I’d get him out of there!) and we sidetracked from Disney World to go see it on the recommendation of a friend from the area. I’ve added you to my sidebar blogroll too, btw. Have a great day! J~

  5. Brandon said,
    January 16, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know this was here. I work in Florida at a RV dealership, Florida Outdoors RV and this would be a great place to refer our customers that come through. This also reminds me of a place called MFI that takes supplies to Haiti in some WWII type planes. One day, maybe I’ll hop in a caravan and make my way there!

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  1. February 13, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

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