Opened: May 5, 2005
Location: Future World – The Land Pavilion
FASTPASS: Yes. Unless you are riding in the first 30 minutes of operation, FASTPASSes will likely be necessary to avoid a lengthy wait. Make Soain’ your priority because FASTPASSes run out sooner than Test Track or Mission Space.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening
Type: Motion simulator
Similar To: Unique, but identical to “Soarin’ Over California” at Disney’s California Adventure
Requirements: Must be 40” tall to ride
Scary Factor: Minimal. The ride takes visitors 40 feet in the air, which may be frightening for those scared of heights. Motion sickness is rarely a problem – just keep your eyes on the screen and don’t look off to the sides. The ride is gentle and there are no significant drops or sharp turns.
When To Go: Immediately after Epcot opens or with FASTPASS.
Expect to Wait: Unless you’re there first thing in the morning, expect to wait 60-90+ minutes later in the day. Soarin’ usually has the longest wait at Epcot and the second longest wait of any Disney World attraction, behind only Toy Story Mania. With FASTPASS, waits are still usually longer than other FASTPASS attractions. Expect to wait about 15 minutes, even with FASTPASS.
Length: 5 minutes
What to Expect: Riders are led into a large room with an 80 foot tall concave movie screen and three ride vehicles, each of which is three rows. Once all riders are seated, the vehicles are lifted into the air so that each row is above the row below it. A series of scenes are projected onto the screen and the ride vehicles move with the scenes to simulate a hang gliding flight.
Where to Sit: The best seats are in the front row of the middle vehicle. The front row is the one that ultimately is the highest, so you won’t have other people’s feet in your line of sight and won’t be able to see below where the screen ends, both of which take away from the experience. I would recommend requesting that row by telling the attendant that you’re willing to wait for the next ride to be seated there.
Commentary: Soarin’ is far and away the most popular ride at Epcot. Personally, I find it to be tremendously overrated, especially when you aren’t sitting in the top row of your vehicle. That doesn’t stop me from recommending it whole-heartedly because of its popularity and the fact that it’s many people’s favorite ride.