First Hand Reports
Soarin'
Epcot



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(Some reports have spoilers --
if you want total surprise, do not read these reports!)


PRE-OFFICIAL OPENING REVIEWS


Kara Costello - April 30, 2005

My mom & I just returned from Disney this week. We had the chance to try Soarin on April 30th. We walked over to the Land & the ride was fully operational. I think the standby was 30 mins, so we opted to get a FASTPASS& have breakfast. (The new food court looks great!) My mom eventually decided to pass on the ride b/c of a fear of heights, but I decided to go for it. I was in row 2, on the very end. When the seats first lifted up, I admit that I grabbed onto the bar to the side of my chair. I really didn't need to hold on though. It was never rough or bumpy, I don't see why they warn against motion sickness. The attraction is awesome - Disney did a great job on this one! Definitely see Soarin if you get the chance, but FASTPASS it if possible.

*****

Christine Buckley April 17, 2005

We rode Soarin twice during the DVC preview on April 17 and loved it. I just think the preshow is hilarious, there is just something about that guy that cracks me up. I think I would try and request the front/top row the next time. The view is just way better up there, and the effect is not nearly the same sitting in the last row with the feet hanging in front of you. If you can get the front row, go for it, it's the best! The ride is great, scenery and effects are awesome and I highly recommend it for anyone.

*****

Kelly - April 2005

My family and I just returned from our trip to the World. When we went to Epcot I said I don't care what we do but I want to see if Soarin was open. No one in my group knew what I was talking about. When we walked up I asked a cast member if it was open and she said it sure was. The wait time said 55 min but we only ended up waiting about 30 min. Anyway the ride is wonderful! A must see! I am very afraid of heights but felt very comfortable. After we exited the ride my family members we so glad I told them about it.

*****

Lorie Miller - April 2005

Soarin is a great ride. Please note that not all seats were created equally. Row one (1) has the best view and position. Row three (3) is the worst - seeing feet above and the bottom edge of the Imax-like screen on the bottom. Of the three sections, the middle is the best. So the very best seats are Row 1 of the middle section.

Regardless of which section/row, the ride is really fun. Oranges can be smelled over the orange groves, and watch for the hidden Mickey on the golf ball. Super fun - but a somewhat slow line (which hopefully will improve once the ride is fully open).

*****

Kelly Petrucci - April 25, 2005

When visiting Epcot, make sure you check to see if the new ride Soarin' is open. We were told by two cast members that the ride and the whole Land pavilion were not open, but they both were. Use FASTPASS for Soarin' if you can. The standby line was 120 minutes when we got on with our Fastpasses. I don't think the whole ride was operational at the time.

Now, on to the ride itself--AMAZING! There are no words for how much I enjoyed this ride! I got tears in my eyes, it was that great! We all loved it from my 3 year old to my mother in her 60s! My 3 year old listed it as one of his top two favorites for the whole Disney trip! Just an incredible thrill, the sights, the smells, everything! Don't miss it!

The ride did not bother us stomach-wise. I think the only people who should avoid it are those who do not like flying at all or those who are have an extreme fear of heights. Everyone else should make a point of riding it at least once!!

******

Sandy Izzo - April 23, 2005

When we entered the Land Pavilion, the wait stated 85 minutes, but it was raining outside, so we decided to go through the line. In the beginning of the queue, there are screens showing different sights around the world, and trivia questions that keep kids amused during their wait. We ended up waiting only about 55 minutes - they were only running one screen, not both so that was probably why the wait was as long as it was. You enter into the seating area and it was great. I was somewhat nervous, since I get motion sickness pretty badly, but I was
not affected at all during the ride. You rise up off the floor 45 feet into the air and the ride takes off. It's great, really relaxing, and the different scenes are done so well, you really feel as if you are there. We were in the bottom row, so when the screen takes you through the water scenes, you really sense that your feet will get wet. It's the same feeling with the snow scenes! It was really an incredible ride, and no one in our group complained about the wait once we had gone through it. The attraction is still not listed on the park map, so you do have to know where to go in order to find it. Definitely a worthwhile experience!!

*****

Ben - April 21, 2005

We entered the nicely redone Land pavilion around 6:30 PM, and got in line. We spoke to some folks who had ridden Soarin' earlier in the week and they assured us the wait would be less than the 60 minutes promised by the lighted sign at the entrance. Only one concourse was open (max. capacity 87 riders /cycle). Sure enough, it was only a 30
minute wait, and we were seated in the second row, right side. Ride was short but satisfying, making good use of the IMAX technology. Reminds me of other IMAX movies I've seen in science museums around the country where they film down a ski slope or from a helicopter. The difference here is that the seats move, and you are suspended in
air in front of the screen instead of just sitting in a theater. The addition of moving air and smells to accompany the movie adds to the experience. It's not as intense as Mission: Space but if you're really sensitive, maybe you can pass this one by. Definitely a must see, so long as the wait is reasonable.

*****

Doug - April 19, 2005

I walked by and to my luck the Land was open (and it looks great). The queue time was long a little after 7 (40 mins) and not much to look at... however the ride itself was well worth the wait. I am terrified of heights, but my amazement of the ride kept me from even thinking about how high up I was. Contrary to other reviews, I did not think the ride was too short, but just the right length. The film itself is breathtaking, especially the ending scene (I won't give it away). Anyway, Soarin should be seen by every Epcot guest, no matter the wait.

*****

Ken - April 17, 2005

My wife and I attended the Passholder preview for Soarin' and we were very impressed with the new ride. A lot has already been written about it, so just let me say it's a must-do. Disney's motion-based film technology reaches new heights (pun intended) with Soarin'. You really do feel like you're hang-gliding over the wondrous sights of California -- from the Golden Gate Bridge to Disneyland's Magic Kingdom.

Others may disagree, but to me Soarin' bears some resemblance to an airborne CircleVision 360. Although unlike a CircleVision film you can't see directly behind you, the huge domed Soarin' screen allows you to see up, down and to both sides. The slight motion of your ride vehicle combines with the perceived motion of the film to trick your body into many of the same sensory illusions familiar to CircleVision viewers (think the old America the Beautiful in MK's Tomorrowland and the current O' Canada in Epcot's World Showcase).

Although I've heard that the three-tiered ride vehicles elevate to some 40 feet off the floor, you really don't get any sense of how high you are during the ride. Considering that a seatbelt is all that holds you in during your "flight" as your legs dangle off the seat, there apparently isn't any danger involved. There are no violent motions, just the occasional tilting back and forth of your vehicle.

Soarin' might give people with a fear of heights (I'm one of them) an anxious moment or two. The feeling of flying is very realistic, and a couple of times at the beginning I had a little apprehension. Not knowing what to expect on your first ride plays into this, though, and any fear quickly disappeared. I don't have a problem with motion sickness, so I really can't say if this might be a cause for concern for some.

If there's a complaint, it's that Soarin' doesn't last long enough. Not counting the pre-show, I timed the actual ride at a little more than 4 1/2 minutes. And it's such an enjoyable 4 1/2 minutes that it goes by very quickly. Soarin' is very popular in California, and Disney obviously expects the same in Orlando. The ride queue is immense.

Bottom line, Soarin' is a great ride. Disney has mastered the technology, and I can see Disney refreshing the experience from time to time simply by producing a new film.

*****

Emily - April 2005

While in Epcot I got a chance to ride Soarin' during a soft opening! I must warn you, the lines are terribly long. We waited for almost 2 hours to ride. Once you get into the ride vehicle you began to rise into the air slowly, and your feet dangle in the air. The IMAX screen lights up and then picturesque views of California come into place. You feel like you are hang gliding. The ride is nothing scary, it's probably as gentle as the Land Boat Ride. You can barley
feel the sudden drops, but the turns can be sharp. While you soar over the orange groves you can smell oranges and pine trees in the forest. Overall Soarin' was well put together, and a great edition to Epcot!

*****

Mary Karlo- April 17, 2005

We were fortunate enough to preview Soarin this weekend. We also got a lot of information since there was heavy fog in the area delaying the flight (BROKEN). The queue area accommodates three hours of wait time. Luckily for us DVC members were given fast pass priority over annual passholders so we rode it a few times continuously. The front row is much better than the last row. I was surprised at the difference in the two rows. The ride is identical to Disneyland but a welcome to Epcot. The fast pass distribution is downstairs in the Land where the entrance to the ride is located. Not much else to do in the Land except eat, or tour the Land boat ride. I would advise sending one person from your party in to get the fastpasses and then return at that time. I would expect the newly refurbished eating place to get crowded while people wait for their FASTPASS time. Some may enjoy the break from the sun. It also looked like the Land rotating restaurant was updated/cleaned up a little but I'm not positive. It may have looked better because it was empty.

*****

Debby - April 2005

My family and I just got back from WDW and as we are Florida resident passholders we were able to view Soarin before the official opening. I wasn't sure how my 6 year old would like it. Well not only did Andrew like it my husband and I were told that Soarin is now his new favorite ride. We all enjoyed it so much we did it three times in a row (figured we'd better get it in while we could)

*****

Katef - April 17, 2005

My family was lucky enough to be passholders visiting Epcot on April 17th and we had the opportunity to ride Soarin'. We were there first thing in the morning and pretty much walked on. It is fantastic. I am afraid of heights and get motion sickness, but was not about to let that stop me from trying this ride. It actually brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful (and it made me happy to experience the feeling without having to actually hang glide!) My
husband and daughter got off the ride and got right back in line. Though I look forward to riding again some other day, once is enough if you have motion sickness issues. But I will definitely be grabbing Fast Passes for this ride during our next trip to Epcot. In fact, we're bringing Grandma back - because I know she will love it too!

*****

David Raser - April 15, 2005

We went to Disney for a special Sneak Preview of Soarin' offered to Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual
Pass holders. We had virtually no wait time since they were checking to make sure you had one or the other pass to get on. The ride was very enjoyable but extremely short. The views were terrific and the motion was smooth. Even my four year old daughter loved it. The only real drawback was the short length of the ride. Since we had no
wait time we rode three or four times in a row. If I had to wait 40 to 60 minutes like I expect the lines will be when the ride actually opens in May, I would be a little disappointed. All in all it was a great ride but use the fast pass option when it becomes available.

*****

Debbie O'Brien - April 5, 2005

Rode "Soarin" with my 5 year old daughter. Noticed the line forming to the right of the Figment entrance. The CM measured my daughter to make sure she was 40" tall and told us that if you are prone to motion sickness or afraid of heights to think about not riding. We decided to try it and as stated above, everyone loved it. Cheers all around when we landed. My daughter felt secure in the seat using the between the leg belt loop and the hand holds. We were in the second row and was glad of that because the first row is very high up. Only had a few moments of really feeling the motion, but you can look down or close your eyes to make it stop. The questions about this ride will be not if you've been on it, but "how many times". The ride only last 4 1/2 min. but every moment is spectacular.

*****

Nathan Mehta - April 2005

I can't believe how amazing Soarin the latest ride in Epcot is! This ride is fantastic as when I went the queue was only about 15 minutes. My wife suffers from motion sickness and insisted I go alone but after convincing she came along. When you enter it is amazing as it seems you're in a fabulous airport and the staff are really cheerful and helpful. Just before you board the flight there is a presentation which is very humorous and gets you in the mood to fly. The ride itself is just marvelous. You get to see spectacular scenes in California such as golden gate bridge, Los Angeles and many more. My wife came out just fine and we gave this ride a rating of 10/10 superb!!!!

*****

Edward Eybs - April 1, 2005

On April 1st, I was at Epcot. I was going to go on Journey to Imagination when I was directed to a separate line where we were given the a special sneak preview of Soarin' the new ride at Epcot. We were told that the ride was still under construction in some parts so we might not even get the full ride. It was a blast the ride is great. The sights, sounds and even smells of California. Even though it is technically the same ride as they have at the California Adventure. It is great and I can not wait till it is open and I can experience it completely.

*****

Sarah Huie - March 21, 2005

We saw Soarin' on March 21st. A huge line had formed off to the right of the Journey into Imagination with Figment entrance. The wait was about 45-50 minutes and well worth it.

The actor doing the pre-show for Soarin' is Patrick Warburton. He was Putty on Seinfeld, the voice of Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove, and is the voice of Joe Swanson on Family Guy.

Many larger backpacks will not fit in the mesh basket beneath the seats. CMs asked us to leave backpacks sitting on the floor to the side of the glider.

The ride itself was amazing. We had a motion-sensitive person in our group and the only hard part for her was the flight over L.A. You fly over a freeway at night and the oncoming cars with their fast-moving headlights are somewhat disorienting. Everyone in our group and everyone we could hear around us seemed thoroughly pleased with the ride and couldn't wait to go again!

*****

Chris White - March 21, 2005

My husband and I were very lucky- we got to ride the new Soarin' Ride on March 21st, about 3pm! The que line was to the right of the "Journey to Imagination" sign. The Cast Members costumes could not be missed. They are bright blue and red, and resemble flight attendant's uniforms. We entered the ride from backstage since the Land pavilion is not open yet. We were told that the "airport" was modeled after the Orlando International Airport, Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. They asked us to put away all cameras and camera phones before we entered.

It was a long walk inside to the actual entry to the ride, and you did feel like you were in an airport. We had heard that the que area was designed for up to a three hour wait (!) which probably will happen due to the fact that only 87 people are seated at a time on this attraction. We saw a Concourse #1 and #2. We were taken to Concourse #2 and split between Gates A,B,and C. Each gate has 3 rows. The screen shows you in words where you will be flying - for example, the Napa Valley, San Francisco, etc. Then the pilot appears and gives you information for flight, such as taking off your hats, including mouse ears, and storing things below your seat. You are told that when you sit in the chair, if you are shorter than the red triangle mark on the seat, you must put the seatbelt through this small plastic loop that goes between your legs (similar to that middle strap in a child car seats). The funny part is that I am 5 ft 5 inches and the red triangle mark must be for those under about 5 feet, I felt like I barely made that height requirement!

I cannot remember the name of the actor who was the pilot but he was funny. A tip for those who don't like going too high - my husband and I were in Row 3 in the gate line. We were raised the least into the air during the attraction. Row one rotates upward to about 40 feet, row 2 is below them, and row 3 is taken maybe 10 feet off the ground (?)I'm not the best judge! of heights. I would suggest that if you or your child are slightly afraid of heights, ask to be in the third row. If you look down during the attraction, you will be able to see the bottom of the screen if you are in the third row. There are three "flights" all flying at once. The back two rows hold 10 passengers each and the front row holds nine passengers - for a total of 87 seats.

The "trip" was amazing! You fly through many beautiful scenes and it is a multisensory experience. The seats you are in move slightly, to give you the illusion that you are flying throughout the ride. There are other sensory experiences that I won't give away- let's make it a surprise! The experience is so amazing that you are wrapped up in it. At one point, I almost felt like my feet were touching the tops of the trees on the ride - although you don't actually do that, the effects were so superior that you seemed to "feel" it. Many "oohs" and "ahhs" were heard throughout the ride. It is not a scary ride, it's a family ride. As I mentioned the only thing that might make it a bit scary is if the person doesn't like to be lifted up high, then ask for row 3. At the end of the presentation, you are rotated backwards to the ground. Everyone was clapping their hands and whistling as we landed - a big hit!!! Even the cast members were excited as we landed and laughed and smiled with us.

As we exited through the building, they were interviewing guests (videotaping) for promotional use. During the exit, we saw the future "FASTPASS" machines- located inside the building. When this ride opens to the public in May, I strongly recommend that you get a FASTPASS upon entering the park. There is the possibility the attraction line could be hours long since they only seat 87 passengers at a time. This is an absolutely amazing ride and it is not to be missed!!

*****

Cheryl - March 20, 2005

Over the weekend we visited Epcot. While going towards Imagination we noticed a line of people on the side of the building. We inquired and found out that Disney was testing out their newest attraction "SOARIN". This is located in the pavilion where the FOOD ROCKS used to be. They wanted to get guests feedback of this ride. WELL!!!!! Let me tell you this! We did the ride! It was AWESOME! They state that if you have motion sickness or fear of heights this is not the ride for you. My husband has both of these problems, but did this ride twice. The inside of the attraction is contemporarily styled wood and chrome. Very nice. The ride itself, well, I don't want to give too much away. It truly is an experience. The sights, the feel, the smells and the sounds are incredible. This is a winner for Disney and the Imagineers get an A++++++. Everyone should rush to do this ride at least once. You won't regret it.

*****

Kristen deHaan - March 16, 2005

We just returned from WDW and were treated to a sneak preview of Soarin on Mar.16 in the afternoon at EPCOT. We were walking from The Living Seas pavilion to go see our buddy Figment, when we were approached by a CM in a bright blue "airline uniform" asking if we wanted to be the first to try the new ride. He didn't have to ask twice.

The previous reviewers have given an accurate description of this ride, so I won't repeat everything. Myself and my three children were "blown away"!! This is one fantastic ride. When the ride was over, everyone was cheering and clapping...it was that good. From the size of the building and lines they have prepared, you will definitely want to get a Fast Pass for this one. However, I can honestly say it would be worth a very long wait to experience.

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

*****

Amy G - March 16, 2005

AMAZING attraction. If you don't like heights-skip it. Don't go on an empty tummy either, I went on hungry & left a little bit queesy-but it was worth it. The sights, smells, & overall feeling was pretty good. Made you feel like you were really soaring over Cali. The finale features Christmas @ Disneyland & Tink arrives to greet you along w/ the parade of characters below on Main Street & fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle. Besides Disneyland, my fav parts were soaring over the beach, citrus groves & ski slopes-u can really smell the atmosphere over those. We applauded at the end as well. The CMS seemed to be in good spirits from the groups approval. The entrance has a nice long air-conditioned que line w/ huge pix of Cali. Your lift UP at the beginning of the attraction is kinda fast-but its not scary. I am sure this attraction will be a new fav to all park guests.