The saying goes, never say never. But I can tell you with certainty that I will never go skydiving.
Like, never ever ever.
Jumping out of a plane just doesn't interest me.
I was, however, intrigued to learn about iFLY Orlando, an indoor attraction that offers the adrenaline rush of skydiving without the risk... or the hefty price tag. Basically, it's a vertical tunnel that blasts air up, simulating the sensation of a skydiving free fall.
My BFF and I have embarked on all sorts of Florida adventures, from going on a safari in Lakeland to swimming with manatees in Crystal River. This time, our friendship soared to new heights -- literally.
And it was a blast.
Here are our five takeaways from iFLY Orlando:
1) Remember to breathe. This sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised at the number of folks who forget to inhale when they enter the wind tunnel. There's air rushing all around you, kind of like a dog with its head out the car window, but I had no problem breathing through my nose. If you think you'll forget, then keep your mouth open. You may slobber, but I'm not sure it's possible to look more ridiculous than you already do.
2) Follow orders. It's loud in the wind tunnel, so your flight instructor will use hand signals to guide you. The peace sign means to separate your legs. A thumbs-up tells you to look straight ahead. The "hang lose" hand gesture signals you to relax and let the wind do the work. Proper form will have you flying higher and keep you from crashing into the observation window, so pay attention.
3) Splurge on the high flight. The basic first-time flyer package starts at $59.95, which includes two 1-minute-long flights. (For comparison, an actual skydiving free fall lasts the same length of time and costs upwards of $150.) When you make your reservation, you'll be asked if you'd like to add a high flight for $9.95. At the time, you'll be thinking, I'm already spending 60 bucks on two minutes of fun. The last thing I need is to shell out more money. But do it. During the high flight, your instructor will pull you up to the top of the tunnel in Willy Wonka-style rapture. It's the best part.
4) Buy the photos, too. Normally, I'm not big on buying some ridiculously expensive picture of myself, say, riding a roller coaster. But your iFLY experience is something you'll want to show off to your friends. Before you suit up, you'll have to stash your jewelry and other belongings. With no cell phone or camera handy, the only way to get evidence of your epic flight is to buy photos from iFLY. Fortunately, they're not crazy-expensive; emailed photos start at just $4 per image.
5) Twice as nice. If you have fun -- and I think you will -- then you'll be available for a return flyer discount.
Bottom line: If asked to try iFLY again, I would jump at the chance. For more answers to your burning questions, check out the iFLY FAQ page.