Soarin’ Around the World Review and Planning Info
Soarin’ Around the World opened on: June 17, 2016, replacing Soarin’ (Over California)
Pull up a list of all Epcot attraction planning reviews here.
Location: Soarin’ Around the World is located on the bottom floor of the Land Pavilion. You’ll find it opposite of Living with the Land.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning and Evening.
Ride Length: 5 minutes.
Type: Motion simulator.
Similar To: Unique, but identical to Soarin’ at Disney California Adventure, at least when they’re showing the Around the World version. The original Soarin’ proved popular enough in California that Disney routinely shows it in place of the newer Around the World version.
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. It takes just a few seconds for the ride vehicles to be raised and lowered. Motion sickness is rarely a problem. It’s important to 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.
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. This video shows the whole process if you’re unfamiliar and apprehensive.
Where to Sit: The best seats are in the front row of the middle vehicle, which is row B1. 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. You also 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.
While most of these reviews include a “Where to Sit” recommendation, Soarin’ Around the World is one of the few attractions where it really matters where you sit.
Unfortunately, Disney didn’t seem to account for the concave nature of the screen. This leads to an immense amount of distortion from seats on the far sides.
While Disney made a big deal about filming the new version of the ride, the vast majority of it is digital. That also takes away from the realism of the attraction.
FastPass+: Yes, it’s a reasonable Tier 1 selection. Both Test Track and Frozen Ever After distribute fewer FastPass+ per hour. Wait times are also typically longer at both attractions, making each a higher priority. If both attractions are unavailable, then booking Soarin’ in advance makes more sense than the nighttime spectacular, which is the only other attraction currently in Tier 1. When the Ratatouille ride opens in the France Pavilion, it will likely also be a Tier 1 FastPass+. It’s hard to say what wait times and demand will look like there, but Test Track should remain the higher Tier 1 priority at Epcot.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
The Soarin’ queue currently features large screen-based, interactive games to guests waiting in the standby queue. You’re not missing much by breezing by them in the FastPass+ line.
Total Average Experience Time With FastPass+: 25 minutes.
While the ride is just five minutes long, using FastPass+ won’t help you bypass the wait after the merge with standby. That wait is typically about seven minutes in this hallway.
Then there’s the wait for the pre-show, the pre-show, the ride, and the long walk back to the entrance.
4th FastPass+ Availability: Day-of FastPass+ availability is typically better than the other Tier 1 attractions. Disney built a third theater with the opening of Soarin’ Around the World, which increased capacity. On busier days, it may take some refreshing to find a suitable return time, but you’re more likely to see Soarin’ become available than Test Track or Frozen.
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: By 9:30am, as close to official Park close as possible, or with FastPass+. Soarin’ is more forgiving than most attraction priorities, thanks to the fact that it enjoys a healthy capacity and most people head to Test Track and Frozen first thing. Still, by 10am, you can expect to wait at least a half hour most days, and often more. Waits drop in the evening as people head to World Showcase for dinner and the nighttime spectacular. If you can’t ride early or with FastPass+, return as late as possible.
Josh’s Take: Soarin’ Around the World remains one of Epcot’s most popular attractions. It’s also one of the only rides where people routinely clap at the end. Personally, I don’t care much for it for a variety of reasons, more of which you can read about in this post. Just about everyone will want to experience Soarin; for themselves. There’s a very good chance that you’ll enjoy it more than I do. Be sure to request the front row of the middle vehicle and distortion will be less of an issue. That’s key.