Soarin' Review


#1

DW and I attended the Passholder preview for Soarin’ on Sunday and we were really impressed with the new ride. A lot has already been written about it, so just let me say it’s a must-do.

Disney’s motion-based film technology reaches new heights (pun intended) with Soarin’. You really do feel like you’re hang-gliding over the wondrous sights of California – from the Golden Gate Bridge to Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom.

Others may disagree, but to me Soarin’ bears some resemblance to an airborne CircleVision 360. Although unlike a CircleVision film you can’t see directly behind you, the huge domed Soarin’ screen allows you to see up, down and to both sides. The slight motion of your ride vehicle combines with the perceived motion of the film to trick your body into many of the same sensory illusions familiar to CircleVision viewers (think the old America the Beautiful in MK’s Tomorrowland and the current O Canada in Epcot’s World Showcase).

Although I’ve heard that the three-tiered ride vehicles elevate to some 40 feet off the floor, you really don’t get any sense of how high you are during the ride. Considering that a seatbelt is all that holds you in during your “flight” as your legs dangle off the seat, there apparently isn’t any danger involved. There are no violent motions, just the occasional tilting back and forth of your vehicle.

Soarin’ might give people with a fear of heights (I’m one of them) an anxious moment or two. The feeling of flying is very realistic, and a couple of times at the beginning I had a little apprehension. Not knowing what to expect on your first ride plays into this, though, and any fear quickly disappeared. I don’t have a problem with motion sickness, so I really can’t say if this might be a cause for concern for some.

If there’s a complaint, it’s that Soarin’ doesn’t last long enough. Not counting the pre-show, I timed the actual ride at a little more than 4 1/2 minutes. And it’s such an enjoyable 4 1/2 minutes that it goes by really quickly. Soarin’ is very popular in California, and Disney obviously expects the same in Orlando. The ride queue is immense.

Bottom line, Soarin’ is a great ride. Disney has mastered the technology, and I can see Disney refreshing the experience from time to time simply by producing a new film.

The Passholder preview also gave us a chance to get a look at the rehab work that’s now nearly completed in the old Land food court. Now called Sunshine Seasons, the area has really been spruced up with a bright, modern look. The cuisine will be “fast-casual,” with four distinct shops (including one with a wood-fired grill) preparing everything as you watch. That means no more fried foods, burgers or pizzas.


#2

Sounds great…hope one day I’ll be able to visit WDW…but for now we’re off the DISNEYLAND in a few weeks!


#3

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE has the same ride in their park (over in the test pilot/high desert section). It is truly one of the best rides to do while there.

The only bad thing, of course, is that it ain’t narrated. Which means unless you know enough about California, you unsure where, exactly, you are other than a vague notion of being SOMEWHERE in California.

Not sure how many people really care, but just a thought for the tourists who come from out of state…


#4

Thanks for the review, ParkHopper! We can always count on you for all the great details! I’ll be riding Soaring in about 40 days! I can’t wait!!

I’ve been nervous about my Dad riding this (fear of heights)…I heard if we ask for the back row, it’s the best. What is your opinion on that?

Thanks again and glad to see you around!


#5

cool I’ll be sure to check it out! thanks 626…


#6

Thanks for the kind words.

Here’s a Soarin’ seating chart. I’d agree that the back row would probably be better for someone with a fear of heights. Let me say, though, that I’m REALLY a Nervous Nellie when it comes to heights, but even though we sat in the front row I quickly overcame my apprehension. Once you realize the ride is serene and gentle, your fears quickly go away.


#7

While the back row technically isn’t raised off the ground as much, the sense of being high really comes more from the movie, not how high you really are. I mean, in the film you fly off of the peak of San Jacinto, which is altitude of 10,000 feet, and fly over Palm Springs down below. It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting; you’re still going to experience that in the movie.

I think, however, that the knowledge that it isn’t real, even though it feels real - but the knowledge that you really aren’t going to fall 10,000 feet to your doom - might help some that have a fear of heights enjoy this ride.


#8

Great review!!
Thanks for the info.


#9

Loved the review and can’t wait until I get the chance to ride it
Thanks Park Hopper


#10

Thanks PH!!! Can’t wait to ride it NEXT MONTH!!!


#11

PH. What a great review.

DW is a little anxious over it. I’m curious, do ever feel anxious riding Peter Pan? Believe it or not, while she’ll go on it, there are times where she gets apprehensive. It’s not so much a fear of heights, but a combined motion/unguarded height thing.

Any perspective?


#12

ParkHopper,

Great to have you postings again!

Wonderful review of the Soaring. I can’t wait to ride this…have they done anything else to The Land? Or is it just Soaring and a food court?


#13

Wow parkhopper I’m jealous! Pete and I were gonna go this weekend too, but it just didn’t happen (woke up too late:crying:). Thanks so much for the wonderful review!


#14

And the Living with the Land boat ride is still there as well. (And the Garden Grill upstairs)


#15

Matt, I, too, have the motion/unguarded height thing, though with me it’s more the unguarded thing than the motion thing. I can’t say, though, that I’ve ever had a problem on Peter Pan. At least with Peter Pan you’re pretty ensconced in the car, but with Soarin’ you’re just dangling there on the seat with no floor below you. There are times during the ride when you literally want to lift your feet to avoid clipping the treetops. Just reassure DW that there aren’t any violent motions and there is never a fear of coming out of your seat. Believe me, if I can do it she can, too.


#16

Just wanted to add to ParkHopper’s review. I have not been on the WDW version, but I have ridden the DCA Soarin’ several times. I do suffer from motion sickness from time to time, so I thought I would add my perspective on that. Only one part of the Soarin’ film causes me to feel a bit ill, and that is when you are flying over the city at night (not sure what city it is!) It’s funny…I can’t watch that part but when it flys over DLR at night it doesn’t bother me. Also, I seem to do better when I sit in the 2nd or 3rd row. For some reason the feet dangling above me help with my equilibrium I guess. I have never gotten sick after riding Soarin…just a touch of that strange feeling in certain parts.


#17

Thanks for the review, ParkHopper! Came here this morning just dying to hear about Soarin’ and was thrilled to read your review. We rode this in DL and it sounds exactly the same. WONDERFUL! The best ride ever! And you did it great justice with your review! You used the word “gentle” and this is a perfect word to describe it. WISH I WAS THERE!


#18

Thank you Park Hopper…I am extremely excited to get on this ride.


#19

I too have ridden this in CAand LOVED it!!! I have a huge fear of heights and it did not bother me at all!! My DS is terrified of heights and he loved this ride too!!

This ride will be in the classification of Splash, or POC in that once you ride it once you will never want to miss it on any trip!!!

There is definitley NO lack of imagination when it comes to this ride!! I cannot wait to ride it at WDW too!!! :wub:

Park hopper you explained it wonderfully!! You took me right back. I cannot wait!! :biggrin:

We already love Epcot :heart: :wub: :heart: soo much, this just gives us a reason to love it even more! :wink:


#20

Great review Park Hopper, thanks!! I’ve been nervous about this ride too but everytime I read something about it I get a little braver… :slight_smile: