Those who are fans of Disney theme parks rave about the “Soarin’” attractions. Set in their own flying theater, guests are virtually transported through various parts of California and around the world while safely secured in their seats. And now, you don’t have to travel to California or Florida to experience this Disney-style ride. Read on for the high-flying deets on Wings Over Washington—Seattle’s first state-of-the-art flying theater and the only place in town where you can get a bird’s-eye view of Washington’s most scenic attractions.
photo: Miner’s Landing
Experience the Pacific Northwest Like Never Before
One of Seattle’s newer (and best) waterfront attractions, Wings Over Washington, is still fairly unknown by many. Tucked within Miner’s Landing on Pier 57 near the Great Wheel, an entryway between two totem poles beckons adults and kids to experience the best of the Northwest in a whole new way.
Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by “forest rangers” in a small room that displays posters of some of Washington’s better attractions and a large 3-D map on the wall. Psst… they serve as a spoiler of the places your family will visit shortly. Once inside, everyone is in invited into the “ranger station” that is decked out with authentic totem artwork and more tourist posters. Don’t be surprised if the forest ranger, who is known for telling some tall tales, is a little excited for your meeting with him. Fortunately, he isn’t long-winded and just silly enough to keep young ones’ (and adults with short attention spans) attention. While in the station, look closely as some of the posters subtlety come to life and watch how the totem creatures react to the ranger’s safety instructions ala “The Tiki Room” technology.
photo: Miner’s Landing
On the Wings of an Eagle
After your forest ranger briefing, a door will suddenly open up in the back of the room, a mist will come down and a holographic image will appear welcoming everyone to go “outside” to enjoy the sounds and sights of an outdoor camp site. This is where Wings of Washington is really tricked out with life-sized trees, wildlife hiding in the woods, stars that light up in the sky and a crackling fire just up ahead.
While getting seated on one of the long benches, you might fear that your kids won’t be able to see any of the action. But don’t fret, Seattle parents. This won’t be a problem. After everyone is strapped in, a giant eagle will arrive on the rounded screen in front of you, the benches will lift off the ground and you will be transported on the wings of the big bird to discover the sights, sounds and even smells of Washington State.
Familiar Sights You’ll See
Sights included on this journey include biking in the Olympic National Forest with the scent of Evergreen trees being piped in, soaring over Snoqualmie Falls and feeling the mist of the water, zooming over a Husky football game and gliding over giant tulip fields and other popular locales before arriving back at the Seattle Great Wheel and to the campsite where the ride all began.
photo: Miner’s Landing
Aww… Is It over Already?
The only complaint most often heard from the attraction is that it feels too short and the ticket prices are a bit steep, but the experience is totally worth it and you’ll be considered the coolest parents, at least for the day. Of course, on the way out, a selection of souvenirs are available to help remember the trip including the impressive Wings Over Washington hardcover coffee table book. If you are prone to motion sickness, this ride might not be for you, but overall, it is a fairly gentle ride. Getting through the traffic to get to Pier 57 is probably going to be more taxing.
Good to Know
1. The ride does involve twisting and turning, so some visitors might feel a little uneasy. But rest assured, everything is safe on this ride.
2. Riders must be at least 3 feet 4 inches (40″ or 101 cm) tall to ride.
3. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian aged 14 years or over.
4. Due to seating configuration limitations, Wings Over Washington staff cannot guarantee that all members of your group will be seated next to each other.
5. All riders must be able to assume and maintain a normal sitting position, hold themselves tight during the ride, and be held safely by the passenger restraint system (safety belt).
Wings Over Washington
1301 Alaskan Way
Seattle, Wa 98101
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight; Sat., 10 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Ticket prices: $17/Adults (12-64); $13/Youth (11 & under); $15/Seniors (65 & up). With the exception of seniors, tickets can be purchased online prior to your ride.
Has your family experienced Wings Over Washington? What was your favorite part? Tell us in the Comments below!
— Jeffrey Totey