If You Had Wings

In all likelihood this video will be completely uninteresting to you if you’re not me, so I’ll give you a little time to sort that out and decide if it’s worth continuing.

Right.

This is a low-quality video of a mediocre ride at Disney World taken in 1985. The ride, “If You Had Wings,” was sponsored by Eastern Airlines, and despite its modest ambition, it had a few things going for it. It was free, it was air-conditioned, and the line was always short. This was in the Age of the E Ticket, so it was good to have a place to get out of the Florida heat without burning through your book of ride tickets. Beyond this, the ride had a few nice touches. The most exciting to me was the so-called Speed Room, in which your Omnimover Chair moved toward a giant wrap-around screen while you watched movies that made it appear as if you were zooming along at high speed. Tame stuff compared to a modern IMAX film, but in the 1970s it was the cat’s pajamas, let me tell you. The best part was a little hack where they tilted the seat back to make it feel as though you were accelerating. It was a beautiful, simple, and very effective UI hack that took me a long time to figure out. This being the web, I was able to find this terrific page on the history of the ride. How gratifying to see the blueprint of the whole ride and hear the story of someone who worked there.

The ride also feature a catchy little song that looped hypnotically. I rode it over and over as a kid, and as I recently watched the video above I found myself enchanted just like my 12 year old self from years ago. The scary part is that I was last on the ride some 30 years ago, but I can remember every single one of those little scenes and video clips. Why am I storing all that? It seems very likely that this will be the song I sing in the nursing home: “If yooou had wiinngs… If yooou had wiinngs… If yooou had wings, had wings, had wiinngs.”

4 thoughts on “If You Had Wings”

  1. So, I was going to Monsanto’s “Adventures thru Inner Space” at Disneyland about the same time you were going to Eastern Airline’s “If You had Wings” at Disney World. Huh…

  2. Okay you so took me down memory lane with this post! I loved that ride, and loved getting out of the heat, and still hear that song in my head at random moments. Well, that and the “It’s a small world” song…

  3. Wow, time warp. I used to ride that over and over, like you said, to get out of the heat and stretch out my ticket book! That, and the GE Carousel of Progress. Um, I think that’s my next YouTube search!

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