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Fantasy of Flight closing its doors to the public – Will focus on private events

by Matt Roseboom

Fantasy of flight sign

If you’ve never been to the Fantasy of Flight attraction off I-4 between Tampa and Orlando, you have about another month to see it, before it closes as a public attraction. This announcement comes after they lowered their days of operation last year.

Kermit Weeks, owner of Fantasy of Flight, announced that effective Sunday, April 6, 2014, the attraction will be closing its doors as a public attraction and will focus on its private event business and the design and development of a new future destination attraction.

“Although we are located just 20 minutes west of Walt Disney World, we’re currently outside the center of mass tourism and not perceived of as a destination. We have a great product, but people have a misperception of what we offer,” said Weeks. “After 18 years of being in operation, it’s time we close the attraction and move forward toward creating the vision for what I know Fantasy of Flight can become,” Weeks told employees today.

fantasy of flight planesFantasy of Flight will close the daily attraction and focus on its events business. It will also turn the facility into what it was originally designed for, which is a restoration and maintenance facility that will be needed to build future attraction elements. For those who wish to enjoy the historical aspects of aircraft, plans are to open an aspect of the collection in a reduced capacity and admission price later this year.

“We have great employees,” said Weeks, “and will be working with several local, state and private agencies in the upcoming weeks in order to offer our employees assistance and training for the transition.” An event-focused staff will be retained as the facility continues to host weddings, meetings and corporate events, including team building and birthday parties via the Wing Walk Air Confidence Course & zip line.

“This isn’t the end of Fantasy of Flight,” Weeks assured, “it’s just the next step on the company’s journey to become what it was always meant to be – a quality attraction that uses entertainment as a means to an end for self-discovery and self-transformation. Think of this as a caterpillar going into its cocoon. We expect to re-emerge as a brand-new butterfly!”

Groups that are currently booked for admittance to the attraction after April 6 will be issued refunds (including deposits). Groups contracted for Wing Walk Air only and/or private events will not be affected by these changes. Annual passholders will receive a pro-rated refund based on the date of purchase, and refund checks will be mailed to the passholder’s address on file via USPS beginning April 8. If you are an annual pass holder with questions or to update your mailing address, please contact Brittani Taylor at [email protected].

Fantasy of Flight is an aviation-themed attraction showcasing vintage aircraft from a large private collection featuring themed immersion experiences, interactive exhibits, tours of aircraft maintenance and restoration areas, and the world’s only Aerial Demonstration of the Day featuring a vintage plane (weather permitting). Guests can also dine in the Art-Deco themed Compass Rose Dining Experience, browse through the gift shop, or try their hand on the Wing WalkAir Confidence Course and Zip Line. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.

For more information about Fantasy of Flight or for hours of operations, event schedules and admission prices visit fantasyofflight.com or call 863-984-3500.

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3 comments

Jim McGlynn March 5, 2014 - 12:55 pm

It is such a shame that this fantastic attraction is being lost, I have visited it numerous times amd have always been impressed with it.It would seem to me the basic problem has been advertising, it always seem to be aimed at people who are already interested in aircraft. I spoke to the engineer at length about thisand he agreed that my ideas were valid, my ideas were to use the daily flying slot to tow a banner over the Disney/Orlando area advertising the place. There are hundreds of visitors who visit this area who are too scared to drive in the USA,if complimentary buses were laid on to take visitors to the Fof F and Polk city there is the prospect of increased income and visitor numbers. I did ask for these ideas to be put forward to the commercial manager, but this obviousyl didn’t happen.

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[email protected] March 8, 2014 - 9:07 am

Some years ago, Fantasy of Flight canned their annual pass program and I never went back. Instead of focusing on locals and aviation enthusiasts to regularly support the enterprise, Mr. Weeks wanted the mass of Disney tourists who of course came over a trickle and not just because of the distance. The pricey general admission was not a good value and Weeks is finally recognizing this by the decision to re-open later with a reduced capacity & admission price. Too little and too late.

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Karl Sieg March 13, 2014 - 10:30 pm

Oh no!
Fantasy of Flight is an incredible place!
I doubt many are interested in the kind of private events featured in the video, but FoF would be my biggest reason to visit Florida.
My first visit was during Sun ‘n’ Fun, when we flew into Winter Haven to avoid the Lakeland air traffic and drove to Lakeland. After a day at Sun ‘n’ Fun we’d toured everything, had planned to return the next day for closer looks, and on a whim visited FoF. Wow! We could have spent the whole 2 days there! Heck, we could have spent a week there!
Amazing!
Not prettied up museum pieces, but all airworthy aircraft, of which Kermit flies one daily.
I want to return, but it looks like it won’t happen now.

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