Ride Guide – Soarin’ - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Ride Guide – Soarin’
One of the newer rides in Epcot Soarin’ was originally featured in the California themepark and proved so popular that the concept was adapted further and added to the Land Pavilion. It is definitely a family favourite and suitable for some of the smaller members of the family to join the fun.
The ride is themed around the idea of a simulated hang glider flight, flying over the Californian countryside. In the pre-show area the feeling is that you are almost going to be boarding a commercial airline flight, with staff in airline type uniforms and you are directed through towards departure gates. While you wait for the pre-show there is a long corridor with several different large screen displays. As well as showing pictures and videos, these screens interact with the audience as well, which helps to pass the time. There are quizzes or activities to do and you are even projected onto the screen yourself at times!
When you get into the main ride, you are directed to sit in one of three rows. All of the rows have equally good views and the sensation of flying works well for all of them. You clip on your seatbelt and then the ride is ready for lift off. The canopy closes down slightly above your head and the whole three rows of seats swoop gently forward and up, lifting you in front of a massive parabolic IMAX screen.
The screen completely fills your vision making the ride a very immersive one, however, as the whole feeling is very open I don’t think it is nearly as claustrophobic as some motion simulators can be. As the ride is also based on a hang glider flight, it is also a very gentle ride, with gentle swoops and turns so definitely one that people can enjoy, even if they do not usually like motion simulators.
Additional dimensions are added into the realism of the flight as you feel the wind blowing in your face, or the scent of the orange groves that you glide over fills your senses. Throughout the flight there are a couple of surprises and I would definitely not wish to spoil the flight by giving these away, however, the final scene is extra special.
All in all the ride lasts almost five minutes and really feels quite relaxing compared to the usual level of thrills and spills you would expect from a theme park ride. It really is tremendously enjoyable and would encourage even the most timid to try it, the experience is like none other and should not be missed out. As it is one of the relatively newer rides, though, it is still exceptionally popular, so expect it to be busy or to use the FastPass to get your time ahead of the queue. You can also do a parent switch if you speak to the cast member at the start of the queue.
Minimum Height – 40 inches (102 cm)
FastPass – Yes
Location – Epcot, Land Pavilion
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