Opened: May 5, 2005
Location: Future World – The Land Pavilion on the lower floor
FastPass+: Yes – highest Tier 1 priority. Soarin’ and Test Track are the two Tier 1 priorities. Soarin’ gets the nod because it’s less convenient than Test Track, there are fewer morning priorities on that side of Epcot, and it doesn’t offer a single rider line.
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 intensely 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: Waits typically hit 60 minutes by 9:30am and stay 60+ minutes for the rest of the day, peaking between 80 and 110 minutes most days. Waits with FastPass+ are typically around 15 minutes including the pre-show, which is seven or eight minutes longer than most attractions.
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. Request the front row of the middle section when the cast member asks how many are in your party.
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.