Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot
Soarin in Epcot is our favorite attraction in this theme park. There are two other really good rides, Frozen Ever After and Test Track, but none have the broad appeal of Soarin. It's an absolutely fantastic attraction. This ride was recently remodeled. The new film is much better and as a result of the renovation, wait times are also lower.
Epcot is a Tier 1 Fastpass and in this article we'll give you a bit of background on Soarin, explain what you can expect on this ride, and then give you our Fastpass and touring tips for this incredible ride.
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 (row 1), and you won’t have other people’s feet blocking your view.
Originally this ride took you over different parts of California. It was an exact duplicate of the Disneyland version of this ride. In 2016, the ride closed and re-opened with a new film.
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 will “soar” over different parts of the world. You’ll also feel the wind in your face, which adds to the experience and make it feel as if you are actually flying.
In 2016, Soarin was expanded to add a 3rd theater, and to upgrade the projection system and screens. They also changed the film. Instead of flying around California, the ride takes you all around the world.
Matterhorn in Switzerland
Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia
Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany
Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The Great Wall of China in China
The Great Pyramids in Egypt
Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, India
West and East Mitten Buttes in Monument Valley, Arizona, United States
Lau Islands, Fiji
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Shanghai, China (Shanghai Disney)
The new film is awesome and we love it. The third theater has really helped wait times. Due to the third theater, and the opening of Frozen Ever After, our advice on Soarin has changed just a bit. In our next section we'll discuss how you can plan to ride Soarin.
Soarin Fastpass Tips
Soarin used to be the toughest ticket at Epcot. That isn't the case anymore. The addition of the third theater and Frozen Ever After have really helped wait times. Both Frozen Ever After and Test Track have longer wait times now. So Soarin is our 3rd choice for Fastpasses in the Tier 1 group for Epcot!
I don't often recommend that guests do full Epcot days. If you do choose to do one, make sure and ride Soarin early for the lowest possible wait times. Throughout the day, the wait time on this ride will fluctuate. So the goal is to keep looking at your app, and you’ll eventually you’ll probably find a wait time that you can live with.
If it's peak season and the wait times never drop, you can take solace in the fact that the entire queue is indoors. On hot summer days, there are worse things to do than to stand in line for 45 minutes for Soarin in the wonderful Disney World air conditioning. The queue also trivia games that will keep your young ones entertained.
For tips on all of the Epcot rides, head to our article Epcot Rides & Attractions.
Park - Epcot
Park Section - The Land
Height Requirement - 40 inches
Ride Type - Indoor Attraction
FP+ - Tier 1 Fastpass