Soarin in Epcot
The most popular ride in Epcot, without question, is Soarin’. Soarin in Epcot, as opposed to the California ride, has the highest wait times, and is the toughest Fastpass to get. Is this ride worth the wait? How does this ride differ from it’s California cousin? How can you avoid wait times and fit this ride into your schedule? In this article, we’ll give you a little history into this attractions, we’ll tell you a little bit about the ride itself, we’ll provide fastpass tips, and then we’ll finish things off with some basic information.
Once you have read this ride, we will recommend that you read all about how you can save time touring Epcot in our Epcot Touring Plan.
The original ride, Soarin’ over California, opened in 2001 in the new California Adventure park in Disneyland. Just a few years later, the ride was duplicated and put in Epcot, in 2005. In the 1990’s, Disney began planning for this ride, using the name “Ultra Flight”. Originally, the ride was going to be 3 levels high, but this planned was scrapped due to cost.
Instead, a design was created that allowed guests to all load on one floor, and then get lifted to 3 separate levels. If you ride this attraction, you will go high in the air, which can be a bit disconcerting! As a tip, ask to sit on the row that goes to the very top (usually row 1), and you won’t have other people’s feet blocking your view.
Soarin — The Ride
Soarin is essentially an IMAX movie with a twist. When you enter the ride, you sit on chairs with your legs danging. When the ride begins, everyone is lifted high in the air. As the movie begins, you currently will “soar” over different parts of California, as the ride is the same as the one in Disneyland. Disney pumps in different scents, such as citrus when you go over a field or oranges, etc. You’ll also feel the wind in your face, which adds to the feel that you are actually flying.
Recently it’s been announced that Soarin is being expanded. Not only are they going to expand and add a 3rd room, but they are going to upgrade the projection system and the screens. Rumors abound that there will be new footage. Personally, I feel like they have always missed an opportunity to make this a truly amazing ride. I think they are going to fix that. If they copy Star Tours, which seems reasonable, then you could be in for a new experience, everytime you ride. I mean, how hard is it to use drones and capture visually stunning images through the air? Not very difficult using TODAY’s technology, which is why I expect that the refurbished Soarin will be an awesome ride.
One of the major problems with Soarin is that it is full from about 9AM right until the final hour of Epcot’s closing. This makes it very difficult to ride without a fastpass. Soarin is in Group A, and it should always be chosen as your Group A fastpass, unless you’ve ridden it and don’t like it.
There really is only one tip we can give you for Soarin. Arrive 30 minutes early, and head directly to Soarin. Then later on in the day, you can use your Soarin FP, which will allow you to ride it twice. In a theme park that doesn’t have a lot of exciting rides, that’s a wise move.
If you can’t arrive early, you can forget about riding Soarin, unless you want to wait for an hour or skip Illuminations at nighttime. Usually in the last 20-30 minutes of park hours, you’ll be able to sneak onto Soarin with reasonable wait times, as the park huddles around the lagoon to watch the fireworks show