Opened: May 5, 2005
Future World – The Land Pavilion on the lower floor.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening.
Ride Length: 5 minutes
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.
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.
FastPass+: Yes – highest Tier 1 priority. Soarin’ and Test Track are the top two Tier 1 priorities. Soarin’ gets the nod because it’s less convenient than Test Track, there are fewer morning priorities on Future World East, and it doesn’t offer a single rider line.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
The Soarin’ queue currently features large screen-based, interactive games to guests waiting in the standby queue, but you’re not missing anything by breezing by them in the FastPass+ line.
Total Average Experience Time With FastPass+: 30 minutes.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: Immediately after Epcot opens, as close to official Park close as possible, or with FastPass+.
Soarin’ Around the World and Third Theater Construction:
A new version of Soarin’ is expected to debut in late 2016. Titled, “Soarin’ Around the World,” it will feature all-new scenes and digital projection, in addition to a third theater being built to increase capacity. Above is a construction picture from August 2015 showing the cranes and the new theater construction behind the Imagination Pavilion. The expansion may necessitate Soarin’s lengthy refurbishment, expected to begin in January 2016 and potentially continuing through June.
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.