E - Headliner/Super Headliner
40 inches (102 cm)
Those who have a fear of heights or are prone to motion sickness should not ride.
Supervise children at all times.
Soarin' is a flight simulator attraction where guests can hang glide over the iconic scenery of California.
In Soarin' you will be suspended in air for an exhilarating, gliding adventure that includes dramatic drops, turns, swoops and lifts.
This attraction appeals to the entire family. The only guests that should use caution are those with a fear of heights.
Times Guide – Opening/Closing
This attraction opens with the park.
Soarin' is one of the high demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Same day availability will be limited and guests will typically save at least 30-45 minutes using Fastpass+ even on low crowd days.
It is a "Tier 1" Fastpass+ attraction. Test Track and Soarin' are the two highest demand Fastpass+ attractions in the park.
Before you Ride
Once the attraction begins, the seats are suspended in the air. Some guests that have a fear of heights may be bothered by this sensation.
The queue for Soarin' is made to represent an airport terminal. Guests wait in a long crooked path that is lightly themed with beige colors and stainless steel accents. Blue lighting lines part of the queue as well to give a futuristic feel.
The largest section of the queue features four large video monitors where guests can wave their hands to participate in a variety of interactive games. The games feature varying landscapes, and the different sections of the queue can compete against one another.
At the Fastpass/Standby merge point, guests are directed to one of two concourses where they will be directed into the pre-show area.
The pre-show area is divided into three sections, A, B and C, each representing the corresponding section of the ride that the guest will enter. Within each section, there are three rows numbered 1 through 3, also corresponding to where the guest will sit on the attraction.
A video monitor shows the names of various California cities flying through the clouds. They include:
- Napa Valley
- Monterey Bay
- Lake Tahoe
- Palm Springs
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Redwood Creek
After the names scroll through the clouds, the "Soarin'" logo flies through clouds and the pre-show begins. The pre-show features actor Patrick Warburton. The video uses footage from Soarin' Over California from Disney California Adventure and functions as a safety video for the attraction.
He introduces himself as Patrick, our chief flight attendant and welcomes us to the attraction. After the introduction, he walks into a room where people are loading onto the attraction. He instructs people to stow all carry on items, including, "Cameras, purses, hats, and of course... these little beauties (Mouse Ears)." After a look towards the man wearing the Mouse Ears, the man reluctant guest takes off his Mouse Ears revealing a bald head. In the background, other guests are in vintage flight gear complete with leather helmet and goggles.
Next, Patrick tells guests how to buckle their seatbelts from left to right. Following this, he explains that, "If smaller aviators [guests] don't measure up to the height indicator on the seat, just put the belt through the loop in the center strap before buckling." This is an added security measure to keep younger guests from slipping out of the seatbelt. After a thumbs up to the child that correctly buckles his seatbelt, Patrick continues by telling guests that they will soon be airborne. The video shows the seats being lifted from the ground with another warning about guests with a fear of flying and/or heights. Finally, he goes through the entire pre-flight checklist before wishing us to, "Have a nice flight."
Following the video, a cast member will instruct guests to board beginning with row 1.
Each cycle of the ride can accommodate 87 guests. Guests board in one of two concourses, and each concourse is set up the same way. The concourses load in the sections and each of the 3 sections has three rows. Sections A and C are on the left and ride side respectively with section B in the middle. Rows 1 (top) and 2 (middle) of sections A and C can accommodate 10 guests each with Row 3 (bottom) accommodating 7 guests each. In section B, all three rows accommodate 11 people.
Cast members will arrange guests by concourse, section and row and will be directed to their seats after the pre-show. Once guests are seated the vehicle will lift them in place so that guests seated in Row 1 will be at the top of the screen, Row 2 will be in the middle of the screen and Row 3 will be at the bottom of the screen.
For the best view of the screen, you'll want to be in the top row (Row 1). The middle section (B) doesn't swing as much as the left (A) and right (C) sections. If you are in the left (A) and right (C) sections you want to be on the edges closest to the center section.
The post-show travels alongside the main queue and maintains the airport terminal theme.
Soarin' does not have a linear story, but the attraction simulates hang gliding over different areas of California. As the lights dim, the first thrill of the attraction occurs as the seats are lifted in the air in front of the concave IMAX screen. Guests first encounter clouds before the first scene.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco: Guests fly through the clouds to reveal the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The flight continues parallel to the bridge before it transitions into the next scene.
Redwood Creek: The flight continues over kayakers and rafters as the scent of pine forests permeate the air. The flight hugs the water, passing by the people traveling along the river.
Napa Valley: The flight continues alongside hot air balloons over Napa Valley. The flight travels over the tree tops to reveal the rest of the valley.
Monterey Bay: After the hot air balloons, the trip continues along the Monterey Bay coast as waves crash against the rocks.
Lake Tahoe: From the coast to winter at Lake Tahoe, the flight continues up a mountain ledge as a skier crashes performing a jump. The pine tree scent returns throughout this scene. The flight hovers over the top of the mountain before transitioning into the next scene.
Half Dome, Yosemite: The snow is gone and the flight continues towards a waterfall in Yosemite. Rock claimers scale the mountain face while a hang glider and a rainbow emerge in the bottom of the scene. Our flight follows the hang glider before transitioning into the next scene.
Palm Springs: Following Yosemite, the scene transitions over a Palm Springs golf course where former Disney CEO Michael Eisner hits a golf ball over our heads. If you look closely, you can see a hidden Mickey on the golf ball.
Orange Groves, Camarillo: Next, guests are greeted with the scene of orange groves as they fly over the groves in Camarillo.
Anza-Borrego: The dessert in Anza-Borrego is next, as we fly over people riding on horseback before the flight goes over a cliff and holds before a team of United States Airforce Thunderbirds fly by.
USS John C Stennis, San Diego: The flight continues alongside the USS John C Stennis aircraft carrier at a Naval Bas in San Diego. The flight follows a helicopter in the direction of San Diego before the next scene.
Malibu: The sun is setting in Malibu, and surfers are enjoying the waves. The scent of the ocean accent the scene before transitioning to the cityscape of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles: The next scene is nighttime in Los Angeles and the sea of traffic is moving in high speeds through the city.
Disneyland: Finally, the flight takes guests over the Main Street Railroad station at Disneyland as a Christmas Parade travels down Main Street USA. Tinkerbell emerges near Sleeping Beauty Castle as fireworks explode in the background. The attraction ends with a final fireworks blast that forces guests back in the seats. The screen goes dark and the seats are lowered back to the ground.
- The IMAX HD screen has a 48 frames per second frame rate.
- The ride structure contains approximately one million pounds of steel, 37 tons of which are lifted during each ride.
- The area of the attraction is 59,895 square feet
- Each Projection screen is 80 feet in diameter
This area was previously home to Food Rocks from 1994-2004 and Kitchen Kabaret from 1982 to 1994.
There are no attractions in Walt Disney World that simulate flying in the same way that Soarin' does. Impressions de France does have some similar types of visuals, but it takes place in a traditional theater.
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel Virtual Disney World. These videos allow users to manipulate the camera a full 360 degrees using their cursor or directional arrows on their computer. Users on a smartphone or tablet can also manipulate the camera by moving their device in the direction they wish to look.
1994 Avenue of the Stars
Lead Imagineer: Mark Sumner