Epcot - Soarin'
|Main Page||Future World||World Showcase|
|Map of Epcot||Mission: Space|
|Captain EO||Spaceship Earth|
|Imagination!||Universe of Energy|
|The Seas with Nemo and Friends||Restaurants/Dining|
|Turtle Talk with Crush||Shows and Events|
by Kevin Klose
As those who have ridden this unique attraction already at Disney's California Adventure can attest, this is not your typical motion simulator type ride. Soarin' at Epcot uses the concept that was a smash hit on the West Coast, and brings it here to add to an ever growing list of impressive new attractions in Orlando.
I experienced Soarin' for the first time at Epcot, so I will not attempt to compare the attraction to the Anaheim original.
The ride building is attached to The Land Pavillion in Future World, with the ride entrance accessible through the former Food Rocks attraction. The building itself is shaped like a huge, truncated hangar, simillar to what you might find at a medium sized municipal airfield. The interior is also reminiscent of a municipal airfield, with chain link fencing in places. There is no seperate pre-show to speak of. However, when you are ready to load up into your moving theater, you are treated to a short safety spiel type video on an overhead monitor.
Inside the theater, you will be guided to one of three large ride vehicles. Each has three rows of seating, with the most desirable being the front row, closest to the screen. When the ride begins, the front row winds up being the highest in the air, and none of the other rows are visible, as they go below and slightly to the rear of the row in front. I rode in the middle row, which still offers a fairly immersive experience.
The theater seats, quite honestly are the most comfortable ride vehicle seats I've ever seen in any attraction, anywhere. They are very similar to slightly reclined lawn chairs, with a mesh seat and back, and are perfect for this attraction. They are also somewhat wider and larger than ride seating in most amusement park attractions. Safety is provided by a simple lap belt restraint, leaving you with a comfortable, free feeling as the ride begins.
At the starts, your ride vehicle is lifted swiftly and smoothly forward and up, with each row stacking vertically above the other, right in front of a massive theater screen. And then you begin to "fly" through stunning scenes filmed over the California landscape. You are swept over snow capped ridges, desert canyons, rocky seashores, and gorgeous beaches. The whole experience culminates with a swooping run up Main Street USA to Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, ending among the evening fireworks display.
As the camera banks and turns through the scenery, your moving theater also banks and turns...In fact, each individual seat moves, banking you left and right, and angling up and down, in perfect synchronization with the camera angle on the screen. It truly does leave you feeling as though you were hang gliding over California's most breathtaking vistas.
The overall ride experience of Soarin' is certainly not to be missed. However, there were a few negatives that I also felt worthy of noting...At times, the picture quality of the film appeared to be a bit on the grainy side, and some of the cuts between scenery footage were a bit abrupt. During the ride, you are treated to the feeling of wind blowing in your face...I loved this part of the attraction, but I would have liked the wind to have varied a bit...I thought the ride could be enhanced by having the wind occasionally "gust" or lessen a bit as you banked through a turn. Lastly, on the negative front, guests who use wheelchairs and cannot transfer to a ride vehicle seat will not be able to experience this attraction, as there is no way to accommodate a wheelchair on the ride vehicles. disAbled access to the attraction, however, is good, with wide, gently sloping ramps throughout the queue area, and ample room to maneuver a wheelchair inside the ride theater. You just have to be able to get into the theater seats once you're inside.
There is very little not to like about Soarin' at Epcot, and a lot of reasons to make sure that this is one ride you don't want to miss on your next trip to the World. I give Soarin' at Epcot a grand total of 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars. A definite hit.
Soarin' is infamous for its lengthy standby wait times. (DIS Tip: Get there early and get a FastPass.) Disney has introduced new technology to make the wait in the standby line enjoyable. There are large overhead screens with interactive 'video games'. Similar to the Nintendo Wii, the players physical movements dictate the direction of the game. One game has guests directing a bird through a forest. You'll hear "lean left, lean right" as everyone tries to help. At times the group becomes so engrossed that they don't realize the line has moved. Early reviews give this innovation a "thumbs up."
- alayna86 - "This ride is extremely popular but has every reason to be. You won't find this type of ride anywhere but Disney! You really feel like you're flying over California. You're feet hang down and it's so relaxing!! must ride!"
- SuperDisneyDad - "In my opinion, this is the best attraction at WDW. It is an attraction that can be ridden again and again, and even the younger kids really love it."
More Soarin' Reviews
- Beaches and Cream will begin accepting reservations December 18 - This small soda fountain restaurant serves burgers, sandwiches and their signature ice cream desserts.
- Limited Time Magic: Secret Santa Week - Visit the Town Square Christmas Tree on Main Street and see Duffy in his Christmas outfit. Other Disney characters will be located around the park. Get a special decorated keepsake card from each one as a souvenir.
- Limited Time Magic: Tour the Magic Kingdom with Phil Holmes - 25 lucky guests will get to tour the park with current Vice President Phil Holmes.
- Blog - Best Places to View EPCOT’s Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
- VIDEO: Holiday Storytellers - The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs - New to Holidays Around The World 2013 at Epcot in 2013 are the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs play multiple sets each day filled with Christmas songs done the Canadian way on the Mill Stage.
- Blog - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Jonathan Groff from FROZEN
- Guests at All Star Resorts will no longer receive Key to the World cards - As of 12/2/13, guests at All Star Sports Resort will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in. This will begin at All Star Music on 12/4/13 and at All Star Movies on 12/6/13. This system is already in place at Pop Century.
- VIDEO: it's a small world Holiday Full POV Ride-Through - The happiest cruise that ever sailed gets even merrier for the holidays. it's a small world, the 1964 World's Fair attraction that came to Disneyland in 1966, gets a full overlay for the holiday season including decorations and a new soundtrack!
- Atlanta Braves spring training tickets now on sale - The Atlanta Braves return to ESPN Wide World of Sports for their annual spring training. Tickets are first come/first served and the games take place at Champion Stadium.
- Blog - Give Kids the World Village and Giving Tuesday December 3, 2013
- VIDEO: Gran Fiesta Tour POV Ride-Through - Donald Duck disappears on his way to a Three Caballeros performance in Mexico City and his friends, José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles, set out to search for him.
- Blog - Brewing Now: Joffrey’s Disney Parks Collection of Coffees
- Blog - A Brit’s Perspective – Visiting the UK in Orlando
- Specialty food and drink offered for holidays at Epcot - New this holiday season, each country will be serving a specialty food and drink.
- New bus loop at Magic Kingdom open - In addition to regular single stops, there are several double stops that will accommodate two regular buses or one of the new articulated buses.
- Limited Time Magic: Donate a Duffy the Disney Bear to Toys for Tots - Visit the Once Upon a Toy store or the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney and with every $5 purchase, Disney will donate a Duffy the Disney Bear toy to Toys for Tots.
- Limited Time Magic: Jolly Year of the Ear - Celebrate the season in style with Santa Mickey and Minnie Santa ear hats - only available for a short time at the Emporium at Magic Kingdom.
- Times and dates for Epcot holiday storytellers - Each country has its own special theme that highlights its culture. Storytellers will delight you with tales of their heritage and how the holidays are celebrated in their homeland.
- VIDEO: "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen in Celebrate the Magic - This holiday season, "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen is featured in Celebrate the Magic, the nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle November 11, 2013 - Night
- Blog - Happy Thanksgiving from the Magic Kingdom!
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A. - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A., November 11, 2013 - Night
- Blog - Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom: Turnstile-Free!
- New holiday entertainment for the Canada pavilion at Epcot - Follow the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs on a musical tour to discover the country's holiday customs.
- Blog - Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights 101
- Royal Caribbean is offering a $200 Onboard Credit and 50% Reduced Deposit! - The offer is only available for booking on December 2, 3 and 4, 2013.
- Disney Vacation Club members offered event at Splitsville Luxury Lanes - On December 2 and 9 from 5-6:45pm, the experience will include bowling, shoe rental, a shared appetizer, an entree (or kids' meal), a signature beverage and a special DVC gift.
- Several rehabs added for early 2014 - The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Festival of the Lion King, Kali River Rapids, and the Studio Backlot Tour have all been added to the rehab list.
- Aulani named Best for Families by Fodor's Travel - Aulani was recently named "Best for Families" by Fodor's Travel in their "Top 10 Hawaiian Resorts for 2013" list.
- Blog - Review: “Frozen”
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street Train Station - Main Street U.S.A. - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street Train Station - Main Street U.S.A., November 11, 2013 - Night
- Limited Time Magic: Thanksgiving Treats Available - Special treats will be available at various locations in the theme parks.
- New Year's Eve dining info for Swan and Dolphin Hotels - The restaurants of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will be offering special New Year's Eve menus.
- Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can save up to 37% at select hotels - Discount is valid for travel between 1/4/14-3/18/14, 3/14/14-3/29/14, 1/19/14-3/13/14 and 3/30/14-4/12/14.
- Blog - Why I’m excited to take my baby on a Disney Cruise!
- Limited Time Magic: Jingle Cruise poster giveaway - Celebrate the Jingle Cruise at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park with a complimentary mini poster while supplies last.
- Several rehabs scheduled for the Magic Kingdom - Among the closings are The Plaza Restaurant, Pinocchio Village Haus, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, Barnstormer, and the Liberty Square Riverboat.
- Blog - Disney’s Newest Animated Feature “Frozen” Flurries Into Theme Parks On Both Coasts
- The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special to return? - Rumors are that the popular holiday version of The Comedy Warehouse will be returning to Hollywood Studios this year.
- Blog - EXCLUSIVE: Nikon becomes the Official Camera of Walt Disney World and Disneyland
- VIDEO: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 - What happens when you combine one 30,000 pound, 65 foot tree, one 40 foot star, 5500 twinkling lights, 430 feet of garland, 325 ornaments, 275 feet of strung popcorn, 400 flickering candles, 135 candy canes, 100 gingerbread cookies and the Disney Characters? Why, you have the perfect recipe for Christmas at the Magic Kingdom!
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Photography - Creative photos from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Christmas dining options for Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Christmas menus.
- Thanksgiving dining options at Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Thanksgiving menus.
- New looks available for the holidays at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - Now through 1/3/14, little girls can choose from a Frozen Package or a Holiday Minnie Package.
- Santa Claus comes to Downtown Disney - At the Marketplace, you'll find Santa Claus waiting to greet you at his chalet in front of the World of Disney store.
- VIDEO: Josh Gad - Voice of Olaf in "Frozen" - Interview - Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in "Frozen" and "World of Color - Winter Dreams" and Tony Award nominee for "The Book of Mormon", takes a few minutes to talk about how important it was to work on a Disney film that led to a theme park experience and the music behind it all.
- All guests at Pop Century will now use MagicBands - As of 11/14/13, guests at Pop Century will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in.
- Heart is the third musical group to cancel SeaWorld performance
- Willie Nelson backs out of SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & BBQ event
- Disney obtains distrbution rights to future Indiana Jones films
- Family sues Disney when woman dies from complications after a fall
- Disney's PhotoPass+ changing to Memory Maker
- WestJet debuts Sorcerer Mickey plane
- Seaworld Orlando's Shamu show closes for 3 months
- Barenaked Ladies cancels SeaWorld concert due to animal rights issue
- 12-year-old girl protests SeaWorld parade float
- SeaWorld plans several events for early 2014
Today's Theme Park Hours
Epcot Future World:
Epcot World Showcase:
|8:00 - 11:00
9:00 - 9:30
11:00 - 9:30
9:00 - 8:00
9:00 - 5:00
10:00 - 5:00
Extra Magic Hours Morning: Animal Kingdom
Extra Magic Hour Evening: Magic Kingdom