Luiz Alberto H.

Created: Mar 27, 2024

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

  • Year: 2005
  • Type: Motion Simulator
  • Single rider line: No
  • Minimum Height: 40″
  • Ride Duration: 5min
  • Cool landmarks to see
  • Very relaxing

Everything looks so pretty from up above

Soarin’ is a fan favorite, pure and simple. In theory, it’s a very simple ride: you board a flight motion simulator, lift off and watch a movie while your seat slowly twitches to simulate a hang glider. It’s fun! Soarin’ launched back in 2005 and it featured beautiful sights from California only, but, in 2016, it expanded to include locations and landmarks from all over the world. You fly near the Great Pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India, for example, and even get to soar over Epcot!

This is a motion simulator, but it incorporates a few tricks to enhance the experience. The first thing you'll notice is the massive screen… It's giga-big. Seriously, it's much larger than what you typically see in a movie theater and essentially fills your entire field of view. The reason for such a big screen becomes apparent when you realize there are three or four rows of seats stacked one above the other, with each seat raised by mechanical arms to simulate the sensation of a hand-glider. The screen resolution isn’t bad at all, but you do notice a few things that are blurry. Still, I can only imagine how hard it would be to make the resolution look pixel perfect on such a big screen and with guests so close to it.

Disney Epcot the land soarin.jpg

Another fun trick is the occasional use of fans blowing on your face, enhancing the sensation of flying around the world. Additionally, the ride incorporates scents at appropriate moments depending on what's happening on the screen. For instance, there's a section (that might be part of Soarin’ over California only, I can’t remember) where you fly above an orange plantation, and you can actually smell the fresh scent of oranges. It's a clever trick that adds to the realism of the simulation.

So, what landmarks and countries can you find here? You will be flying over the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal in India and dozens of other places. Each segment is relatively short, lasting no more than ten to fifteen seconds, but this allows Soarin' to showcase a wide array of familiar vistas and countries from every continent on the planet. At the end, you will be flying over Epcot and that beautiful giant white ball, which is a nice touch.

Epcot Soarin 3.webp

Soarin’ is definitely fun, offering a more laid-back experience compared to other motion simulators. Imagine something akin to Star Tours or the Simpsons ride, but with less intense shaking as you're elevated from the ground. Unlike the thrilling set pieces you'd find in rides like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man or Rise of the Resistance, Soarin' is more about relaxation and appreciating cool locations from around the world. It's a perfect opportunity to unwind and take in the sights.

This is a popular ride, with queue time ranging from 40 minutes all the way to one hour. It’s also a pretty good candidate for a Disney Genie+ after you have used it for rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Test Track.

Will Kids enjoy it?

Deciding on a specific age range and whether kids will love Soarin' can be challenging. While it lacks sudden movements, drops, and can't be classified as a thrill ride, it does involve sitting in individual chairs that "fly away" as a large metal arm suspends you 30-50 feet in the air with your legs dangling. The aim is to simulate the experience of hang-gliding, and it's executed quite effectively. Make sure to talk to your children and see if they are okay being suspended like that or if they get frightened by heights.

Other than that, this is mostly a motion simulator with very little movement, where a huge screen in front of you shows awesome environments and vistas from all corners of our beautiful planet. Expect to see anything from the Arctic to the African savanna and the pyramids of Egypt. I do wish the screen had an even better resolution, but it’s not like kids will stop to think about that. If they don’t have any problems with heights, then I tell you to bring them here.

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