Author: Pirate Diva
One of my favorite rides at EPCOT is Soarin’. Soarin’ is located in the Land Pavilion in Future World. It is an amazing hang-glider simulation that lasts approximately 5 minutes. The lines for this ride can be very long, so I would recommend grabbing a fastpass early, because this is one of the most popular rides at EPCOT. However, if you decide to go through the full queue, there are several interactive games to participate in while you wait. The five different games are projected on massive digital screens. Much like a video game, the players motions guide the movement onscreen as you pop the blobs to uncover a picture, collect treasure in a hot air balloon, or alter a landscape by moving mountains and planting seeds. At the end of the queue, you are taken to a pre-flight area where you will be given instructions regarding your flight. There used to be a safety video featuring the hilarious Patrick Warburton, known to many Disney fans as the voice of Kronk in the Emperor’s New Groove.
When you enter the flight deck, you will see three rows of seven seats that are hanging at normal chair height above the floor. The seats are fairly roomy and should be comfortable for most guests. You place your bag under your seat in the small netted carrier, or if it’s too big, on the floor beneath your seat. Loose shoes and other articles should be removed and stored in the netted carrier or on the floor. After taking your seat, buckle up and prepare for takeoff.
Diva Tip: For the best view, request a seat in the front row. When they lift the seats up in front of the screen, the front row is at the top, so you don’t see feet dangling above you. However, if you are afraid of heights, try the back row, which only gets a few feet off the ground.
Just before you lift off, a canopy above you lowers slightly, then you are lifted into the air in front of a massive screen. Fun Fact: The ride was originally designed using an old Erector Set. It helped Imagineers solve the problem of how to get guests into the ride and then up to the screen. The seats swing and sway as you “fly” over various locations in California. The scenes are gorgeous shots of the best scenery that California has to offer. You fly over the Pacific Ocean, orange groves, pine forests, and snow covered mountains. Disney is famous for “plussing” rides, and Soarin’ is no exception: the Imagineers added scents to the breeze in several scenes. As you fly over the orange groves, you can smell the oranges, and the pine trees smell real. The ocean smells breezy and clean, which always makes my family laugh, because I never noticed that the Pacific smelled good when we lived in California. And the music, which was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, is a perfect accompaniment to the flight. The flight ends with a trip down Main Street in Disneyland, when it’s covered in lights for Christmas. The final firework display is absolutely spectacular! As the ride ends, the screen goes dark and you are flown backward, returning to the spot where you boarded.
The entire ride lasts about 5 minutes and is well worth the wait. If you’ve ever wanted to go Soarin’ over California, this is the ride for you.
Scream factor: 2, the ride is fairly tame, but if you are afraid of heights, it can be a little intimidating.
Diva Tip: Definitely get a fastpass for this ride, or ride first thing in the morning or late at night, especially during Extra Magic Hours.
Amy, the Pirate Diva, also shares her Disney obsession on the Disney at Heart blog. http:disney-at-heart.blogspot.com