Author’s Note: This 4-part series answers the question: when you are trying to make the most of your limited time at the parks, and the crowds are maddening, there may be times when you will have to choose which favorite ride you will get a fast pass for that day. What would that ride be? Well, I definitely have my favorites at every park, each of which is covered under this title with parts 1-4.
When I only have limited time at EPCOT, I will always choose Soarin’ as my fast pass. This is a fantastic ride for Disney fans. Located inside The Land pavilion in Future World, Soarin’ is a feast for the senses. The ride simulates a peaceful hang-gliding flight over California.
The queue utilizes an infrared technology that allows us to participate in interactive games. Once we are through the line and are placed in our rows, we can view some of the scenes from California and receive a short demonstration on the screen of what we should do once we are allowed in to find our seats.Each ride vehicle consists of three rows under a wing-like canopy (so you get the illusion of being on a hang glider). There are 10 seats per row. Because three of the vehicles are loaded at one time, 87 guests get to ride at a time.
After all the guests have been secured into our seats by lap belts, the canopy descends slightly and an electronic mechanism lifts the chairs forward and into the air with our feet dangling freely. If you are wearing flip flops, you will need to kick those off and put them in the pouch under your seat before you get on the ride. The first row is lifted 40 feet in the air, the second row less and the third row even less. The vehicle is lifted forward so that guests look into a large, concave movie screen onto which aerial views of California are projected. Right away, we feel as though we are on a hang-glider.
To enhance the illusion of flight, subtle vertical movements of the seats are synchronized to the film. In addition, scents are injected into the air streams blowing on us at the appropriate times. In the Ventura orange field scene, for example, we are treated to the scent of orange blossoms. The mountain scenes have the aroma of evergreens. The Monterey and Malibu scenes have the scent of a sea breeze. It is awesome!
While on the “hang gliding” tour, we fly from daytime to dusk and then to night over some of the most beautiful sights in California: the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; the Redwood Creek in Humboldt County; Napa Valley; Lake Tahoe; Yosemite National Park; Palm Springs; San Diego; Malibu; and Los Angeles, just to name a few. Then we, of course, fly right into the nighttime spectacular of Disneyland holiday fireworks.
In addition to seeing California’s beautiful landscapes, we are treated to some simulated adventures such as snow skiing, river rafting, horseback riding, golfing, and hot air ballooning; in addition to the hang-gliding. The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis at San Diego’s Naval Air Station North Island is also featured, as well as the mighty roar of the U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds.
Wonderful music accompanies the imagery. This ride lasts about four minutes and 40 seconds and is a wonderful, beautiful adventure. It really is an enjoyable, inspirational experience!
- Must be 40” tall to ride
- Health restrictions
- Must transfer from wheelchair
Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.