Every Walt Disney World attraction is built around a story and every part of the experience must keep that story alive and not detract from that story. The “story” for Soarin’ is that you are joining in on a hang gliding experience that takes you on a journey around the world.
10. Soarin’ first appeared in 2001 in Disney’s California Adventure and it was a big hit. DCA gave Soarin’ to Epcot when The Land pavilion was being renovated in 2005. It has been a huge hit here at Epcot as well. It is the most popular attraction in the park.
9. In the queue make sure to look up above you to see a ceiling that is reflective of the sky. You may notice the lights dimming in certain areas, as a “cloud” passes by.
8. The queue is one of the interactive ones with games that large groups of those in the queue can participate in at the same time. On the large walls, in the Stand-by queue only, are projections of scenes. When guests reach up the scene changes and a goal becomes apparent. It is really a great diversion from waiting if you find yourself in the usually long queue for this attraction. These games use State-of-the-art infrared science to draw you into the game. There are five different games so as you move you have the opportunity to try a new one.
The loading area is set up in long rows with spaces equal to the seats available for that row. If you are in row you will be in the center row on the ride. There is a very funny pre-show video starring Patrick Warburton that riders view while waiting in this section. The video directs riders on stowing away all their belongings, including cameras, below the seat in a basket. There are seat belts to put on, and they come with a strap that fits between small children’s legs to safely keep them in their seats. If you are wearing shoes that are likely to fall off, like flip flops leave them on the floor in front of you.
7. It is time for take-off! Do you feel the wind in your hair? You quietly lift up off the ground as a beautiful scene opens before you. Scene after beautiful scene appears before you and you are getting the most amazing tour of our beautiful world, from the air. Take in the sights, smells, touch, and sounds of Soarin’.
6. Track: Since there is not really a track we can mention other elements of the attraction.
• 180-degree IMAX projection dome sits in front of you
• View footage captured in flight
• 87 guests can ride at one time
• Guests feet dangle
• Soarin’ is made with over one million pounds of steel, moving 37 tons up into the air for each cycle of the ride
• This is known as “Flight 5505” which is a nod to opening day for the attraction
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• Riders must be at least 40 inches tall
• Your vehicle takes you 40 feet into the air
• Three rows of 10 seats form a subset, 1 of 3 total vehicles at one time
• Each vehicle has a wing-like canopy over head
• Uses a mechanical lift system that is very quiet and smooth giving the sensation of flying
• A film is projected onto an 80-foot high concave screen
• Film was shot with an IMAX HD 48 frames per second
4. Smells are released at the appropriate scenes to make you feel like you are really there.
• Wind is gently blown through the studio to blow through your hair to increase feeling of movement
3. The ride vehicles provide the sensation of turning at different angles, but there is no actual movement!
• Gives us a view that we normally would never experience
• Ride lasts almost five minutes
• 87 guests can ride at one time
2014 filming at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World was done in effort to update the films to be more connected to each park, so filming completed in Walt Disney World is now in the “new” Soarin’ that replaced the California-centered film. Both park experiences also show landmarks from all over the world, ending with the corresponding parks footage. An additional third theater was also added to the attraction to be able to load more guests.
1. This is the coolest thing to me: Disney was struggling with how to load a large number of people at one time, safely and efficiently and were at a dead end when Imagineer Mark Sumner took his old erector set out and put it together, along with a piece of string, to develop a brand new ride system that saved this attraction from being ditched. It was safe, kept the story strong, and saved a great deal of money in construction and labor related elements. His design is for the current cantilever system that lifts the ride vehicles up and forward, loading three levels of riders’ at one time on one level.
Other information regarding the attraction:
TIP: Do NOT use flash photography because the Cast Members will call you out over the audio system and everyone will know who it is that is ruining the experience for everyone else and if you do it repeatedly the ride will stop and you will be escorted out.
Gift Shop: Surprisingly, this very popular ride does not end with a gift shop. There are a few things in a small stand near the entrance that also sells hydroponic gardening and Behind the Seeds tour items.
Character Meet & Greet: If you eat at the Garden Grill for their character meal you will meet Chip & Dale.
The closest restaurant is The Garden Grill on the upper level of The Land. What I consider to be the best Food Court in the Walt Disney World Parks is on the same level as Soarin’, Sunshine Seasons Café. Here you can order meals or snacks, many made to order, from opening time to Future World closing time. The food is very good and a goof value. This is one of two locations in the park when you are permitted to get refills for the soda you purchase here.
There are restrooms located opposite the entrance which is also the exit so they are easy to find. There are larger restrooms almost directly overhead on the second floor.
Cast Members are dressed in costumes similar to Flight Attendants in royal blue.