Recently, Riley, Xander and I had the chance to visit iFly off international drive, in Orlando, Florida which is about 20 minutes from Disney World. When I arrived I was happy to find that parking is free, you pull up to this really tall building that is blue, and kind of looks like something from N.A.S.A.
It was very loud when we pulled up because of the giant fan that reaches speeds of 140 plus miles per hour which is twice the speed of your average roller coaster!
The building where you check in is located next to the big blue building that you fly in, with a nice deck to sit and wait for your turn, it is stocked with soda machines, and has wheelchair access.
In the office building is just that. A small area where they have T-shirts for sale, the desk where you check in, restrooms and finally giant televisions on which you see who is flying.
The staff of iFly are all very good looking people, all young and fit I mean I would not normally say this-but you're going to notice.
When you arrive you can do a self check in, which really is just inputting your info like name and birthday, then once you have self checked in, they will call your name to get your paperwork signed. Once that is done you're given an armband.
The start of the journey! You start by climbing up about 30 stairs to the viewing area, the stairs are on the outside of the building with high arm rails.
The viewing area is just that, its a room with benches that you can sit and laugh your butt off at friends/family that decided that they want to fly, everyone is allowed in this room. In the viewing area there are alot of "warning signs" one talks about risk, like bumps, bruises and sprains, other talks about age, height and weight and finally another is just info.
I was shocked to see how many of the participants were kids, Buggy wanted to go but she is only 2 and a half (they start letting them fly at 3 years old) so might have to take her back in a few months. They have other restrictions like if you are under 6 feet tall you must weigh less than 230 pounds, and those over 6 feet must weigh less than 250 pounds. Children under age 18 must have a adult to sign a wavier.
So its now time for myself, Riley and Xander to go to training! We leave the room and head up another 10 stairs to a little room which has lockers for all things in our pockets, or loose items (lockers are free and have a key). The training room is were you meet your instructor, ours was Chris and he showed us a video which talks about the hand signals that are used while in the air tunnel along with how to enter and exit. The movie is about 10 minutes long.
There are 4 hand signals, thumbs up is chin up, fingers in a peace sign out is legs out then bent in is legs in, and finally hang 10 is chill relax and have fun!
After the video you come back out to where the lockers are and get your helmet, goggles, ear plugs, not flattering jumpsuits and shoes if you need them.
It is good to have closed toed shoes when you come to iFly but if you're in sandals they do have shoes. The jumpsuits-oh the jumpsuits-wow lol they lift your butt and make you look chunky so trying to look good goes out the window so be prepared for that lol.
Also the jumpsuit goes over your own clothes no special changing is needed.
Once you have lost all looking good rights you head out to the main viewing area and the show begins. The group enters into what is like a small plexiglass hallway with benches, the doors are shut and an air fan starts.
Your instructor goes in first, then here we go, each person gets 2 sessions of 60 seconds each which the average jump from a plane only lasts 45 seconds.
You enter the fan area which you feel like a fish because you're in a glass tank (the best way to describe how everyone is watching) so for me I was more embarrassed than scared lol.
You come in to the tunnel with your arms close to your chest then fan out with arms at about eye level with your chin up and legs lifted, I kept having an issue with keeping my legs out, I think it's because you're aware of the walls so you pull in from fear of hitting them. You also want to make sure to breathe because the air is being forced up your nose and you get that nice pancake face, which I seriously looked like an old man. Whoo! lol The time in the tank seems a lot longer then 30 secondss and I believe you reach the wind speed of 130 miles per hour or so. I saw that with the kids they seemed to stay at about 110 mph. Your instructor is with you the whole time while you're in the tank, just to help you get the most flight as possible, because there are dead spots that you will just end up sitting on the net. Xander and Riley went after me and they did great, Riley was looking through the glass telling Paige "I'm done!" after like 5 seconds of being in there (because he wanted out) but we got him to go again. I loved how they make sure to go out of the way for kids, they take all kids by the arm and around the waist then crank up the fan and give them a really high shot into the air which the kids love!
I had a blast I would love to work there I mean wow what a fun job, after all the people in your group have gone the instructors get to go in and have fun showing off what they can do, Buggy was at the window and they would fly into it and she was laughing and having fun watching them. So once your done they shut the fans down and you go back up to the training room which you get your dvd if you purchased one, a certificate, and pictures if you want to buy some they are only 3-4 dollars per picture for them to be emailed, which is a great price. For all the women/girls/guys with long hair ha ha ha I would recommend tucking it in the helmet because wow I had such a rats nest after to work with.
I would really recommend this for all ages that say they want to do it, it's not over priced for what it is, you get longer time in the air, you're in a much safer environment than if you were to sky dive and for $20 more you can go again!
Prices are as follows:
Earn Your Wings with our most popular first time flyer package. Includes two flights for one person in the wind tunnel for $54.95
Spread Your Wings and learn to fly with four flights for one person in the wind tunnel plus a DVD for $109.95
Spread Your Wings for Two can be shared by two people, so learn to fly with four flights in the wind tunnel plus a DVD for $129.95
Family Package can be shared by up to five people and includes a DVD of your experience and ten flights in the wind tunnel $269.95.
I promise it's a once in a life time experience that you will totally fall in love with when visiting Orlando, Fl.
It is wise to book in advance, and please show up a hour before to make sure your flight and training goes as scheduled.
Added by Paige: Xander and Riley after the first "training" flight didn't want to get back in for the second flight, after i begged them (through the plexiglass) they agreed and when they came out were begging ME! to go again, also I noticed that a lot of the people who came out from flying were saying what a great once in a lifetime experience it was, for those scared of sky diving, this looks like it really comes close without the dangers.
I would definitely take Xander and Riley back again, Xander already asked me if he could have his birthday at iFly!