Thursday, December 15, 2011

Soarin over California at Epcot in Walt Disney World; Wow!

Soarin has become my new all-time favorite ride at Walt Disney World. It is in Epcot at The Land Pavilion. To get there, turn right after you enter at Epcot. It is on a small hill near Innoventions. If you get to the lake at Epcot you've just passed The Land pavilion.

Your park admission includes Soarin. It an extremely popular Epcot attraction. Getting a fast pass is probably the only way that you'll be able to get a seat.

Seasons Grill is in The Land Pavilion
at Epcot.  It is underneat near Soarin
It's hard for me to put the experience of Soarin into words. The Epcot attraction simulates a hang gliding experience over Napa California, the Golden Gate bridge, a PGA tournament and more. Disney has done an incredible job. This is easily the crowned jewel of rides at Epcot. With Soarin, it really is as though you are flying at Epcot.

How to get a fast pass for Soarin
Sure, you can get in line and wait your turn to ride Soarin but good luck. The attraction is so popular that a pass is your only hope. It took two days for us to get one. Had we not gotten the following tip from someone else we would still be waiting.

The tip for Soarin is to go immediately to The Land pavilion the minute that Epcot opens. Ignore everything else at Epcot and go straight to the fast pass machine at Soarin. The tip worked like a charm for us. We were able to get a pass for three hours later and wow, was it ever worth it!

Flight simulation 

I have ridden simulator rides at other parks. None come close to Soarin at Epcot. Buckle your seat belt and get ready to go. The simulator lifts you 40ft from the ground. A huge IMAX screen wraps around you during the flight. It's exactly as though you were perched on an aircraft wing except more gentle. 

The Soarin sensory experience at Epcot is perfected by a light breeze and the scent of oranges from the grove below below as you fly over. Like everything else at Walt Disney World it ends with a fireworks show.

It's hard to say who enjoyed Soarin the most. Hubby had as much fun as I did. We could cheerfully have ridden it again but fast passes were unavailable. Don't even ask how long the line was. It's like asking how big Epcot is. You really don't want to know.

Who can ride
Soarin is for older school age kids, youth and adults who are unafraid of heights. You might want to check the Walt Disney World website in case there are other restrictions. At Soarin, all hats, loose shoes, bags and purses must be placed in the bins under the seat. A no-camera/camcorder rule is strictly enforced.

Handicapped accessible; No service animals allowed
This is also the only place at Epcot (or Walt Disney World) that I can think of where service animals are not allowed. It's too dangerous for them to be 40ft in the air. Even wheelchairs are removed from the floor by Walt Disney World staff after transfer and will be returned after the Soarin flight. 

Last word
Soarin in Epcot was the most incredible ride that I've ever experienced. It's my first choice for our next Walt Disney World vacation. A ride that is a close second is the Living with the Land which is in the same pavilion.

Additional articles
Fun facts about the Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World and my eco-tourism impression

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