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Widen Your World!

Today’s riveting historical find that has me agog is this amazing video, taken in 1988, of the rarely documented attraction if you could fly. This short-lived ride was a re-named version of the fan classic if you had wings, necessitated when Eastern Airlines dropped their sponsorship of that original attraction. The changes were superficial and quick; If You Had Wings closed on June 1, 1987, only to open five days later as If You Could Fly. All references to Eastern Airlines had been stripped out, including Eastern-specific logotypes, and, unfortunately, the original attraction’s catchy and iconic theme song went as well.

What makes this video particularly special is that there’s scant good video documentation of If You Had Wings as it is, and film of If You Could Fly is exceedingly rare. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever seen any online. For the time, and considering it’s a dark ride, the quality of the video is excellent.

If You Could Fly remained open until January 4, 1989. It’s show building – and ride vehicles and track – were later used for Dreamflight, which was sponsored by Delta Airlines. Delta had replaced the defunct Eastern Airlines as the official airline of Walt Disney World. After Delta dropped their sponsorship in 1996, Dreamflight became Take Flight for two years until it was closed again to become Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. But the next time you’re riding past the day-glo plywood and zapping Emperor Zurg, realize that you’re traveling on the exact same path that these fine inhabitants of the 1980s took to visit Cancun and olde San Juan.

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7 comments to Widen Your World!

  • Many great memories of riding this.

    I had the fortune to ride every single version: If You Had Wings, If You Could Fly, Delta Dreamflight, Take Flight and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

    However, none of them held a candle to my all time favorite Adventure Thru Inner Space from Disneyland. lol

  • Tim

    Awesome find!

    Any thoughts on where the music came from? The theme song to If You Could Fly would have to be one of the more obscure pieces of WDW music. Does it even have a known title?

  • You can draw an evolutionary line from this to Gran Fiesta Tour and Soarin’.

  • John Winn

    Glad you like it! I’m the one who shot this and uploaded it on YouTube recently when I realized there was no other ridethrough out there. My friend and I are making snide comments about the ride’s popularity at the start, but I wish I could ride it again!

  • Fantastic! Thanks for uploading! I was very excited to find this, as I had no real memory of this incarnation. And no worries about snide commentary; I have lots of similar videos with my brother haha…

    Scott: I know! I demand the return of Inner Space, as I was crushed that it closed before I could ride it.

    Tim: I know next to nothing about the song. I’ve never known it to turn up anywhere, and this was the first time I’ve heard it in… 20 years? Oy.

    Scott: Yeah, this was a direct predecessor to El Rio del Tiempo. Lots of similarities.

  • ericpaddon

    The video quality is excellent, though I have to admit whenever I see a video version of “If You Could Fly” I feel this need to kill the sound and then run a live audio of an “If You Had Wings” ridethrough synched to it because without the theme music, something just seems not right. Amazingly, I totally missed the ride in this incarnation because I had a three year gap in visits between early 1987 (when IYHW was still there) and February 1990 (when Dreamflight was already in place) so I just assumed the ride had changed from IYHW to Dreamflight with nothing in between.

  • ericpaddon

    This article may offer the explanation of why the song was changed.

    Assuming that Delta was in fact underwriting the costs of “If You Could Fly” right from the moment their contract status with Disney began in Summer 1987 (as the article suggests) it may have been their doing to insist that a song so associated in the public mind as the “Eastern Airlines” song be eliminated and a new one substituted for however long the old attraction would remain.

    The ten year length of the contract with Disney also ties into when “Dreamflight” would have had to become “Take Flight”.

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