The term barnstormer brings many pilots and aviation enthusiasts visions of the good ole’ days of aviation when airplanes had two wings, open cockpits and radial engines. Pilots flew long distances at night navigating rotating beacon to rotating beacon and spins were used to get out of unintended IMC.
For Disney World visitors, the Barnstormer conjures a little different vision, one that pays homage to the old school flying days, thanks to a kiddie-coaster. The Barnstormer a prominent feature of Fantasyland within the Magic Kingdom is a very mellow roller coaster, ideal for the younger kids, lasting less than a minute form start to finish…
As I have learned, aviation + some Disney magic = something we can all appreciate, a pretty detailed, aviation-themed Disney experienced, aimed for the younger generation, but fun for all of us!
During January of 2017 Emily surprised me with tickets to Disney World, only 45 minutes from our home in central Florida. It was my first visit to Disney World in more than 20 years! I had vague memories of the trips my parents took my sister and me on when we were young, but much of the amusement park was new, though many pieces still remain the same (remastered of course…).
We made our way from Main Street USA to Tomorrowland and then into Fantasyland. Emily had told me about the Barnstormer, an aviation-themed ride, which I thought would be neat being an aviation enthusiast. Then I saw the Barnstormer, and I couldn’t get enough!
The whole thing is fantastic… The theme, detail, everything… The entry has prominent windsocks and various flying circus items. The loading area is within a red barn, hence the Barnstormer.
Once queued into a slot for boarding the rollercoaster train, made to look like an airplane pulls into the barn. The front car is complete with propeller than spins throughout the ride. Every second car has a bi-plane high- & low-wing. and the last car is complete with a vertical and horizontal stabilizers as well as a tail wheel!
Once on board, the plane flies up the track through a 30-foot tall checkerboard painted tower and then through various twists and turns, passing through a billboard before returning through the barn.
Upon returning to the barn you’re greeted with a “Fly again soon” message…
The entire experience is literally a minute, but the level of detail is excellent and the ride is bound to bring a smile to the face of any pilot passionate about flying. If just a handful of the children that pass through Disney World on a daily basis get the aviation “spark” because of this ride, then that’s a good thing for all of us in the aviation community. So even if you’re not a roller coaster person and don’t usually do kiddie rides, the next time you’re at Disney World, take a few minutes to stroll over to Fantasyland and ride the Barnstormer, it’s pretty neat!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9