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Take Flight at Wisconsin Dells' Wilderness Resort opens, completes yearlong renovations to facility

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Wilderness Resort’s newest attraction Take Flight has riders soaring high into the sky, showcasing several national and local landmarks without leaving the Wisconsin Dells area.

The completion of the 60-seat flying theater ride, which opened Sept. 2, also concludes several facility updates that took over a year to finish.

The attraction, located in the New Frontier lobby, takes riders on a 10-minute aerial adventure while displaying iconic landmarks on a theater screen, including Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower and Niagara Falls. Attractions Director Chris Ebben said the ride will also showcase the lower and upper sections of the Wisconsin River in the Dells.

Kimberly Adams, a Chicago resident, was visiting the Dells with her goddaughters, Ananyah and Mariah, for the Labor Day holiday. Adams said they enjoyed the ride because of the view it displays and the reality of being up in the air above famous national landmarks.

“It’s really peaceful, it’s very detailed,” Adams said. “It makes you feel like you are right there.”

The experience begins with sounds of crickets and birds chirping and other nature sounds. Attendees can keep occupied by making their own computer animated airplane while waiting in line to purchase a ticket. Riders then go to a security checkpoint when they hear their named paged to scan their ticket and get their photo taken before watching a 7-minute safety video prior to entering Take Flight.

Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells prepares to open new flagship attraction

Ebben said the resort decided to build Take Flight to create a new experience for guests, as well as locals. The ride brings a new attraction to the Dells and showcases the area’s geographic nature from a different perspective. Actual footage was taken from drones and helicopters for the film and there isn’t any CGI, he said. Ebben said footage from “The Polar Express” will be added to the current film in the winter months.

“I think it’s something the Dells is missing in general,” Ebben said of Take Flight. “It’s an attraction, something that’s inside as well too, that can showcase the national landmarks and also bring the custom footage of the Dells.”

Ebben said what separates the ride from other animation rides is it isn’t a 4-D attraction but provides a four-dimension vehicle with pitches and rolls throughout the film for an experience of actually flying through the air. Riders will also feel wind, sense smells of nature and get sprayed with a little mist while watching the film.

Dells' Wilderness resort rolls out new attractions for 2020

Ebben said customers compared the ride to Soarin’ at Disney World, another flight motion simulator ride that also takes riders through popular national landmarks.

Chicago resident Patrice Perry said the ride is second best compared to Disney World’s Soarin’.

“It was phenomenal,” Perry said. “My daughter thought it was so real.”

Perry’s favorite part of Take Flight was seeing the Dells local landmarks, like the JetBoats and Wisconsin River, along with the other national landmarks like Mount Rushmore. Her children, six-year-old Joseph and five-year-old Abigail, said they liked the real life atmosphere the ride provided, like the water spraying at them and getting up-close to the boats.

Cost to ride Take Flight is $19.99 for the general public and $15.99 for children 12 and under. Wilderness guests receive a $5 discount. Local Wednesdays will be hosted for residents in the Dells area to ride at the guest price, Ebben said. Military members and veterans can ride for $13.99, according to a press release from the resort.

Participants must be 42 inches to ride. Take Flight will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

Other renovations

Heidi Fendos, public relations counsel for the resort, said the Take Flight attraction is the final installment of several updates at Wilderness Resort that took about 15 months to complete. They include renovating its lobby, adding the Camp Social restaurant and bar and the Candy Cabin candy store.

The Happy Camper store was put in place of the resort’s original registration site on the second floor. The original restaurant from 1995 Wild Canyon Café was removed to make room for changes to the lobby. Three party rooms were also added and the arcade moved to another location at the resort.

Downstairs from Take Flight is the new Wild Kids Club where children who stay at the resort can participate in crafts, watch movies and other activities. At Wilderness Lake, a 3,000 square foot laser tag room has been added as well as a new escape room called Twister, where participants have 60 minutes to find valuable items after a tornado hit grandma’s house. Cost to enter the escape room is $34 and Wilderness guests get in for $29.

The Wilderness resort in Wisconsin Dells opens with new lobby, safety measures, attraction plans

Fendos said Cubbies Cove outdoor waterpark at Wilderness Lake will be open on weekends throughout September, weather permitting, to give guests a chance to experience the waterpark, while also remaining socially distant. The water parks and resorts shut down in March due to restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilderness reopened to the public June 4.

Fendos said the resort is taking several precautions against the virus from posting signs to inform guests to wash their hands and social distance, installing Plexiglass, closing Timberland Playhouse, spacing out arcade games and providing extra hand sanitizing stations.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.


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