ANAHEIM, Calif .– In a way, it seems fitting that Rick Rothschild’s favorite growing up movie is “Peter Pan”.
There was always something captivating about watching Peter Pan, Wendy and the other children fly through the air, Rothschild said.
When Rothschild was growing up, he gave people that sense of flying wonder.
Rothschild, who lives in Newhall, is a longtime Walt Disney Imagineer alumnus and the original creative director of Disney California Adventure’s Soarin ‘Over California attraction.
Rothschild left Disney over 10 years ago. But as the creative director of his own themed entertainment company called FAR Out !, he has helped develop other Soarin-like experiences in Canada, Minnesota and Iceland.
Most recently, he launched a new flight simulator attraction on the Las Vegas Strip.
FlyOver Las Vegas is a new flight simulator tour that takes visitors in a passenger vehicle with their feet dangling in the air inside an enclosed dome in front of a 52 foot spherical screen and glides over western destinations iconic, including parts of the Las Vegas Strip.
“I honestly believe people like to fly,” Rothschild told Spectrum News. “In our dreams, a lot of us like to do this.”
The $ 40 million merry-go-round, which opened in September, is the latest attraction in Viad Corp’s Pursuit division on the Las Vegas Strip. The attraction has taken over the old United Artists cinema next to the Hard Rock Cafe on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Like Soarin ‘Over California and Soarin’ Around the World at Disney theme parks, FlyOver Las Vegas is a multisensory and immersive experience.
But unlike Disney’s Soarin ‘, FlyOver Las Vegas has a different and improved ride system that allows them to do more movement during the ride and a higher definition screen.
The theme of the ride at FlyOver Las Vegas is the Real Wild West, Rothschild said.
Before the bikers go for real, there’s a bar that serves western themed alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a multimedia pre-show where they can learn about the west.
Once the show is over, visitors will board a transport vehicle where it will transport them to stages at 22 locations across 10 western states.
Some scenes show stallions riding in Yellowstone National Park, water skiers surrounded by snow-capped mountains at Cascade Lake near Lake Tahoe, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, fly fishing in Colorado, and surfers riding waves six story building in Mavericks in northern California. And, of course, the Las Vegas Strip is in the spotlight.
As the riders glide around and watch the scenes, Rothschild said they will feel other special effects, such as wind, mist and smells from outside.
For example, Rothschild said, tiny drops of mist will gently fall as cyclists pass through a cloud or waterfall.
The merry-go-round can accommodate up to 46 riders per show.
The entire experience lasts about 30 minutes. Tickets for adults cost $ 34 and children $ 24. In addition to Flyover Las Vegas, visitors can also watch the FlyOver Iceland movie.
“It’s a great way to kick back from the Strip,” Rothschild said.
Rothschild said it took about a year and a half to film and develop the scenes for FlyOver Las Vegas.
Rothschild and a co-director specializing in sports action photography sat inside a helicopter with a high-resolution camera and shot every scene seen in the film.
FlyOver Las Vegas is Rothschild’s fourth FlyOver attraction since leaving Disney after 30 years in 2009. His Disney CV is stacked up.
He was part of the Idea Team and led the Soarin ‘Over California project as film director and creative director. He doesn’t like to take all the credit.
“It takes a village,” he said, adding that he was part of the team that oversaw the development of more than 50 attractions at Disney parks around the world.
When he left Disney, Rothschild helped develop and design FlyOver Canada in Vancouver, FlyOver Iceland in Reykjavik, and FlyOver America at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.
During the conversation with Spectrum News, Rothschild was filming in Canada to develop another FlyOver experience.
Rothschild said that creating these types of FlyOver attractions makes him appreciate the beauty of the world. Sitting inside a helicopter, he has a bird’s eye view of the wonders of nature and loves to share it with the world.
“What you see are real places,” he said, adding that there was little CGI work. “We strongly believe that nature is an extraordinary thing that should be seen and enjoyed, and by understanding it, we are doing our part to help people realize the responsibility we all have to help maintain these places.”