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Orlando from the AIR! Flying with Mauiva Air Tours


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Today I had the opportunity to represent TPR in trying out a brand new offering for the Orlando visitors, in the form of Mauiva Air Tours. A new branch of a larger company specializing in chartered flights and tours, this new group seeks to offer a different take on the Orlando experience.

 

Flying higher than the tallest buildings in "the City Beautiful," Mauiva Air Tours offers several chartered flight options, including flights around Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Celebration and even a fireworks tour between Fantasmic! and Epcot's Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. My tour consisted of all that I mentioned above, minus Universal and Celebration, and obviously the fireworks. Flying in a Cessna, my pilot Blake and I covered lots of ground over the course of the flight. I was able to see things from the air that I could have never seen from the ground, especially at Disney. There is some backstage magic to be found on this flight!

 

And the coup de gras of the flight? Well, I had been hooked up with what they call the "Captain's Package" which includes the option to give the guest a chance to fly the plane. A little nervous at first, Blake was an excellent teacher (as well as pilot) who, when not making sure I kept the pitch and yaw level along the horizon, was able to passionately speak about his interest in the area, including Disney. One thing I noticed about this experience that I've not seen at a tour like this before, was that everyone involved clearly loved what they were doing.

 

I've attached a promo video that Mauiva gave us to share, but I think the photos will do even more justice.

 

[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=mauiva30v2_j689[/coastertube]The bottom line: Mauiva Air Tours is an extremely unique, entirely welcoming offering found in Kissimmee that even the most relaxed fan should consider flying with. Even better, you can tell that their hearts are truly in the right place, as they offer children several flights a month in a program they call "Give Kids the Air," done in conjunction with the nearby Give Kids the World.

 

My thanks go out to Brad, Angie and Blake for making my first Mauiva experience an unforgettable one... And it won't likely be my last. I'm seriously eying that fireworks tour for the near future!

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My morning started out with a very brief instructional video preparing me for what I was about to experience.

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This gives me clearance to fly!

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I'm starting to lose count of how many photos like this I've taken.

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The offices for Mauiva Air Tours are cozy and relaxing, setting a nice tone for the flight ahead.

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This is the business they are in, and they do it well!

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They own several planes and also lease a few.

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Are we ready?

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Almost!

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This is my pilot, Blake!

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And we're almost ready to fly!

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So many good movie quotes just flashed into my mind... I challenge you to think of which ones I haven't (or have) and post them.

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For all of you cockpit enthusiasts out there...

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Captain, we are ready for takeoff!

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And we are airborne!

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See the Peabody and the Orange County Convention Center? That means we are by SeaWorld!

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We're getting closer now...

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Wasn't I just here with Bryan?

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But first, let's take a look at Aquatica from above!

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Such a beautiful water park!

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I promise you, this isn't a photo of a model.

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And Aquatica's most recent addition, Omaka Rocka is looking good!

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Time for some Kraken love!

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Over at Shamu Stadium, you can see a few killer whales from above. You can also see the Dine with Shamu complex as it undergoes continued safety upgrades in preparation for its reopening.

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I've looked in this direction from the top of the Skytower before, but this is a little different.

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You can see the Magic Kingdom off in the distance.

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We would've gotten closer to the Magic Kingdom if we could have, but this yellow circle is a strict no-fly zone. Don't worry, we can still fly over the rest of the parks!

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We were two characters in flight over at Downtown Disney.

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No more Rock & Roll Beach Club or Motion...

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Did you know that the Casting building is designed to look like a cruise ship?

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The Swan & Dolphin dominates this side of the World Showcase.

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Typhoon Lagoon truly is a beautifully landscaped park.

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I see you Crush n' Gusher!

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On to my favorite park...

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Give me a moment...

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Disney's Art of Animation Resort is coming along very quickly...

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Disney's Hollywood Studios was already open for the day, which made our flight overhead even more exciting!

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Lights! Motors! Action! looks nice from here, though I still haven't seen it in person.

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I've never really thought about it, but the backside of the Grauman's Chinese Theater does really blend in with the rest of the studio buildings here.

 

Oh, and look at Pixar Place... And how much raw space they have to work with in Stage 1, next to Toy Story Mania...

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A neat view of Catastrophe Canyon...

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No more scaffolding on Tower of Terror!

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Unintentionally tilt-shift.

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Focusing the camera while moving at such high speeds isn't easy, but the architecture of Epcot still stands out.

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Space Mountain, the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower all look very nice together.

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Over at Fantasmic!, we got some neat sights...

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Anyone need a snake, canoes or a riverboat?

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"From here you all look like little ants!"

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Echo Lake is one of Mickey's ears...

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(Continued)

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Flying over Disney's Hollywood Studios really was my favorite part of the tour!

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Blizzard Beach also looks amazing from up here...

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Some more of the Disney resorts from above... I think these are the All Star hotels.

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The Family Raft Ride is a fun topic for my family thanks to my cousin forcing my mother on it many moons ago.

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Over to Animal Kingdom we go!

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Next to the Polynesian and the Grand Californian, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is my third favorite Disney hotel in the world. MiraCosta is fourth.

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"Diggin'... Diggin' in Dinoland."

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Ever notice the tree in the concrete of the entry plaza at Animal Kingdom.

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Everest still works from above.

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Time to make our way back...

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Which means I get to fly!

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Yes, the vent is jetting air from the outside into my face. But in the hot Florida Summer, it felt amazing!

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One more stop on the way back...

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What have we here?

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Power Trip, the park's new coaster (Cypress Gardens' old Galaxy Spin coaster) is nearly ready to open.

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Almost back...

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We're coming in for landing...

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Just as an old warbird waits to take off.

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"Nobody move a muscle..."

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The planes have room for up to three passengers, weight dependent.

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This truly was an amazing experience!

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Upon the end of the flight, guests are given a nice looking certificate if they participated in the "Captain's Package.

 

Guests are also asked to write their thoughts on the experience in the Pilot Notes book, which will be read after each flight. This company takes its guests seriously, and takes all words to heart--a truly great sign in this business.

 

Again, Mauiva Air Tours is a fantastic offering out of the ordinary, especially for the theme park fan. There are some great photo moments, some neat backstage glances and, if you choose to do so, the opportunity to fly a plane, which may be a first for some of you. Give it a try--I promise it will be worth your while!

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Awesome pictures! Not only did I see the hotel me and my family stayed in, but my apartment complex and of course, The Seas where I worked. I miss the college program . Also I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who loves the Polynesian the most out of all the Disney hotels. Its just...I love it .

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Pretty sure that is the Team Disney building but it does look like a cruise ship! Great report Adam, I have always been fascinated by aerial pictures of Amusement parks.

 

Also you should have titled this trip report Soarin over Soarin.

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Awesome report, I think I might check this out. I never noticed that the entrance to the Great Movie Ride was hallow like that, it was quite a surprise. I also loved the behind the scenes of Fantasmic.

 

Thanks so much for the report.

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By the way, this is actually the Coronado Springs. Not the all stars. :)

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^It's just a way of Disney "preserving the magic" with MK (like no drinking and the TTC nonsense). I had no idea that it was just restricted to MK though, I thought it was all Disney property.

To paraphrase a friend's response to this question once:

 

After 9/11, the FAA started imposing "Temporary Flight Restrictions" all over the country which require a waiver to fly below 3000ft. and within 3 nautical miles of somewhere or someplace holding 30,000 people or more. This includes things such as sporting events and concerts.

 

There's always been debate about whether Disney had lobbied for special treatment even before 9/11 to help keep sightseeing and banner-flying planes out of their airspace, as Brian suggested, to "preserve the magic." Regardless, I think it was decided that the park generally has enough people on a daily basis (similar to the 30,000 person standard) to just go ahead and apply the rule permanently to the MK.

 

I'm pretty sure (don't quote me) in Florida the rule is you can't fly below 3000ft within 3 nautical miles of the Contemporary Resort without a special waiver (with the obvious exception of emergencies, etc.).

 

 

Oh, and nice work, Adam!

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dsc08408_0.jpg

 

Pretty sure that is the Team Disney building but it does look like a cruise ship! Great report Adam, I have always been fascinated by aerial pictures of Amusement parks.

 

Also you should have titled this trip report Soarin over Soarin.

Yeah that's definitely the Team Disney Orlando (TDO) building, not the Casting Center, which is further down the road (next to/behind the Hess station, I believe), across the road from the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney. TDO is across the street from the Westside.

 

Really awesome pics though, Adam! You're braver than I am because there is NO WAY I would get in one of those little puddle-jumper planes like that.

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