Review of Soarin' Ride at Walt Disney World's Epcot, Florida
Soarin is a must do ride for any Disney park guest. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a stunning hand-glided tour across California? Through orange groves, Yosemite Falls, the Anzo Borrega Desert, a PGA golf tournament, the California coast and more, you'll see California from a completely new height!
Facts and Figures
Location: The Land pavilion, Epcot Future World, Walt Disney World
Minimum height requirement: 40"
Flight time: 5 minutes
Maximum height guests reach: 40ft
Size of projection screen: 80ft diameter
Queuing options: Stand by, Single rider, Fast Pass
Accessibility: Guests in wheelchairs must transfer to ride
Soarin was originally built and operated at Disney California Adventure. It made it's debut there in 2001, under the name 'Soarin Over California'. In 2005 the ride was reconstructed and opened in Epcot at Walt Disney World under the name Soarin. Both rides offer guests the same experience and visuals.
Entering through a futuristic style airport terminal, you follow a winding industrial walkway to the boarding gate where a flight attendant gives you your row number. From here you will watch a short intro video featuring Patrick Warburton - he'll tell you how to safely secure not only the mini-aviators, but your Mickey ears too!
Once the door opens you will step into a cavernous warehouse space filled with three rows of gliders - don't worry, you don't have to lay on your stomach like a real hand-glider (though that would be amazing), follow the on-floor markings to your row and head towards your seat. Belongings can be placed in the under seat storage (pretty big but the entrance gap is tight so larger back packs will struggle). Any belongings that don't fit into the storage compartment can be placed to the side and out of the way by a Cast Member - just ask them! Be sure to secure all lose shoes and articles, you won't want to drop them at the top!
The lights dim, the over head section of glider comes down, suddenly you find yourself being whisked into the air - 40 feet high! For those on rows 2 and 3 your illusion is somewhat spoiled by the dangling feet of the gliders above you but try not to let this ruin your experience!
Soaring through the clouds, fans gently whisk your hair about and the graceful and smooth movement of the gliders give you the sensation that you are indeed flying over California. Just watch how many guests lift their feet as you swoop over the peaks of Sierras ski resort, or try to splash through the crashing waves of the California coast.
You are further immersed into the experience by not only experiencing the sights and sounds of these picturesque places, but the scents too! The Orange grove comes to life as the pipe in the scent of fresh citrus.
Note: those whose suffer with extreme asthma might want to miss this ride or keep their inhaler handy as the chemicals used to create the scents have been known to set off some asthma attacks.
After your flight is complete, your glider with slowly descend backwards, bringing you back to the same spot where you landed. Be sure to grab all your personal belonging you stowed under the seat and put your shoes back on (if you took them off!) before you leave. Follow the markings on the floor and exit. The ride exit is adjacent to the ride entrance and there is also a waiting area for non riders here (next to the fast pass machines).
Did you know...
During the scene where the Thunderbirds fly past you, the lead pilot at the time was Lt. Col. Brian Bishop. Lead pilots of the Thunderbirds can only hold their position for 3 years, so this recorded fly-by was actually the last flight for Bishop as lead pilot for the Thunderbirds. What a way to have your last day at work captured!
Have you rode Soarin?
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