Theme Park Insider readers offer their ratings and reviews for Soarin', a simulator ride in Future World - The Land at Epcot. (The minimum height to ride is 40 inches.)
Written by Joseph Thomas
The newest addition to The Land pavilion at Epcot is Soarin', copied from Disney's California Adventure as a part of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, "The Happiest Celebration on Earth."
Guests are lifted between 30 and 50 feet in the air into an 80-foot domed projection screen. Wind effects and gentle tilting of the seats create a simulated flying sensation totally unique to Disney. Scents released at key points during the five minute presentation enhance the experience.
Eighty-seven guests can fly at a time. Two theaters double the capacity. The three rows are designed to hang in a reverse stadium seating fashion, allowing each row to get a clear view ahead and below. Some fans will argue that for the purest, unadulterated soaring experience, the front row in the middle section is absolutely necessary.
The attraction is a testament to the creative powers of Disney Imagineering. The ride system itself was a unique creation by Imagineer Mark Sumner, who developed the design by experimenting with his old erector set.
To welcome the new ride, The Land pavilion received a major face-lift both inside and out. The new walk-up entrance features a wilderness-like design that reflects the environment theme. Inside, while the balloons still hang from the ceiling, the fountain that used to dominate the center of the floor has been removed.
The biggest change is the restructuring of the Sunshine Seasons food court. New technology in the kitchens and new seating areas in the atrium gives the entire pavilion a feeling similar to that of an airport food court.
In fact, most of The Land's interior rethemeing incorporated the terminal concept to reflect the flight theme behind Soarin'. The attraction entrance looks like a terminal gate entrance, complete with check-in desk. The Cast Members wear sharp red, white and blue flight attendant costumes. The pre-show video (featuring Patrick Warbuton) even reiterates the airline concept. Everything is themed to inspire the mind to think of traditional flight--only to totally blow away ones expectations once they finally board--and in a good way.
In terms of entertainment value, Soarin' is just what Epcot's west side has been needing since Honey, I Shrunk the Audience debuted in 1994. It's an attraction the whole family can enjoy (so long as your family includes children over 40 inches tall and people without a fear of heights), inviting gentle thrills and some genuine awe-inspiring moments.
Wait times are usually fairly high all day and even during the dead season and not unusual to see a 45 minute wait at its least busiest times. Getting a FASTPASS first thing in the morning in strongly advised. FASTPASSES will usually run out between 3:00 and 5:00 in the dead season and can run out as early as 10:00am in the peak seasons especially Christmas and New Years. If attending on New Years, Easter, or Fourth of July, don't be surprised to see a 5 hour wait (300 Minutes)!
NOTE: Contrary to the rumors there is no scheduled movie change and there have been no official talks to change from the california themeing.
NOTE: There is no single rider line at this attraction due to the failed experimentation.
I feel like this ride was really great when it first came out. I think it is a ride where you only ride it once or twice. It's pretty cool the first time, but the thrill does not return for subsequent visits. Also, the wait times for this ride are almost always ridiculous. Even during extra magic hours the wait times can easily exceed an hour If you do not have time for this ride I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'll give it a 5/10 because it was pretty cool the first time. - Joe Keenen
Maybe I missed the point of this ride, but after waiting 70 minutes I felt it was really average. The tech elements were cool, but it just didn't hit me strongly for some reason. 4/10. - Nick McKaig
This ride is a tech demo, not an attraction. I have no idea why the line for this stupid ride is so long except for the fact there is almost nothing to do in Epcot. - O T
This is a great attraction, but a new film would be nice. The California theme works well at DCA, but not as well here. Also, the screen is fairly dusty and dirty, which hurts the experience. Still, it is an outstanding attraction and I do highly recommend it. - Bryce McGibeny
This is a great ride! It is like nothing else I have done and the landscapes are beautiful. Feels like you are flying more than many actual coasters that try to simulate flight. Disney perfection. (10/10) - Lexi R
Yes, this one of the best attractions in the world. For those who don't know, it's a simulator type of ride but one unlike the many others in similar parks (Is there a "similar" park to Epcot? I bet not). I won't spoil everything, but it simulates a flight over California. Consequently the queue is designed as an airport, and I find it done pretty decent (unlike others, I know). I like the wide hallway and that perceeding to the gate portion, along with the pre show. The so called games are nothing else than annoying. Yet the queue can be incredibly slow moving. I've witnessed crowd management, in which the FastPass and the Stand-By queue were cleared equally, resulting in a quite constant flow. As well I witnessed days, when only 5 to 10 people from the Stand-By queue per turn were allowed to proceed, resulting in a frustrating long and slow wait. This is where improvement should take place in the first place. Nevertheless, go ride it, you'll miss one of the worlds most unique rides and a highlight of the park when you don't. - Chris W.
Fun, but like others have said, it needs help. A new, better quality film, a fun queue, and scenes from around the world are all needed. - David L.
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