Fantasy of Flight
How did the Immersion Environments come about? What is their source?
Kermit Weeks: The Immersion Environments were a product of the design team I hired out of Miami, McBride and Associates, who were aware of a similar type museum exhibit in Chicago. Once I understood the possibilities of the immersion experience for guests, I came up with the three main concept areas: Early Flight, WWI, and WWII. And while I was not trying to emphasize the idea of war, most of the advancement in aircraft happened during those periods, and we had limited space to tell the story of aviation history.
The design team came up with the “jumping into the night” entrance and the mirrored “cloud chamber” aspects. The B-17 room was entirely my idea. Since that time I’ve come to realize the Immersion Environments will be a key piece of our future product and its delivery. By combining it with our audio experience template and ride technology, we will be able to create engaging scenarios delivering what we all share in common, the human experience, through great stories of aviation in a way our patrons can self-discover something about themselves for themselves!
We stumbled upon a great lesson by watching kids go through our “into the night” entrance tunnel [of the Immersion Environment]. It was sometimes a bit scary for them, but it was also consistently their favorite part. I began to notice kids going through it over and over again. Finally I came to realize they had self-discovered the process of overcoming a fear and would relive that self-discovery experience by going through it over and over again! This is a great example of how we meet our mission statement: “To Light that Spark Within!”