Soarin’ Around the World is one of the most popular attractions at Epcot. This ride offers a simulated experience similar to hang gliding, except you’re seated upright. Below, we’ll discuss specifics of Soarin’, like height requirements, the best times to ride, and other essential details for experiencing the attraction.
Several versions of this attraction have debuted: Soarin’ Fantastic Flight, Soarin’ Over the Horizon, and Soarin’ Over California. From time to time, Soarin Over California is still offered at Disney California Adventure and Epcot.
Other versions of Soarin can be seen at Tokyo DisneySea and Shanghai Disneyland. However, for this article, we are solely focused on Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot.
Notable accolades for this hang glider attraction include a musical score written by Academy Award winner Jerry Goldsmith and composer Bruce Broughton.
Here’s a quick reference chart for Soarin’ Around the World.
|Soarin’ Around the World
|World Nature Epcot
The Land Pavilion
Yes, with Disney Genie+
Early Theme Park Entry:
Extending Evening Hours:
Screen-based attraction designed
to mimic hang-gliding.
Seats Per Vehicle:
Average of 10 per row
Anyone without a fear of heights.
Low, unless you have a fear of heights.
Children, Tweens, Teens, and Adults
Make sure to store your belongings
underneath your seat before sitting down.
Guests in wheelchairs or ECVS must transfer to the ride vehicles. Details for those with mobility issues (i.e., wheelchair, ECVs) are available on Disney.com. Video captioning is available for this attraction. Service animals are not permitted.
Soarin’ Around the World
Soarin’ Around the World opened to guests in June 2016. It replaced the original ride that opened in 2005, Soarin’ Over California. The newer version of this attraction offers the opportunity to “soar” over famous landmarks worldwide. Some of the landmarks you’ll see represented in Soarin’ are as follows:
- Swiss Alps in Switzerland
- Polar Bears in icy Greenland
- Sydney Harbor in Australia
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany
- Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania
- The Great Wall of China
- Great Pyramids of Egypt
- Taj Mahal in India
- Monument Valley
- Fiji’s Lau Islands
- Iguazu Falls in South America
- Eiffel Tower at night in Paris
- Epcot with a bit of a surprise!
When riding Soarin’, it’s essential to keep a few key factors in mind. For starters, it’s a popular attraction. Lines for this attraction begin to form immediately after the park opens. Those lines will continue to build throughout the day.
Soarin’ has two queues, a Lightning Lane and a stand-by entrance. This attraction does not have a single rider line or virtual queue. However, it is eligible for a Lightning Lane with Disney Genie+. It’s an excellent choice when selecting individual Lightning Lanes.
Lines for Soarin’ tend to drop off in the evening, especially after Living with the Land closes. If you want to ride this attraction with the shortest wait possible, ride first thing in the morning or after 7:00 p.m. A trivia game is available for guests waiting in stand-by.
Eventually, you’ll reach one of the attraction’s three theaters. Initially, this attraction only had two theaters. However, a third theater was added during the last refurbishment. Once you’re assigned a row, a pre-show featuring actor Patrick Warburton plays overhead. He goes over how to store your items underneath the seat and gives a few other warnings.
Soarin’ mimics a hang gliding experience over destinations throughout the world. However, in all actuality, you are sitting in a normal position in a row of chairs that lifts off the ground.
Each theater has three groupings with three rows each (front, middle, and back.) When the chairs lift, they are tiered, but all rows face the screen.
For the most optimal experience, you can request that the cast member seat your group in row one. However, you might be asked to stand to the side and wait for an extra turn to get this position. We prefer to ride in row two of the middle section. However, I don’t feel it’s worth the trouble to request a specific area when busy. But you can always ask if you want to see the screen from the highest viewpoint.
Since row one goes the highest, you won’t be able to see anyone’s feet dangling from above. You will see those feet when you ride on rows two or three.
Those who fear heights or are prone to motion sickness might have issues. Soarin’s chairs do lift pretty high off the ground. Row three will remain the lowest. If you have an intense fear of heights, it might be better to skip this attraction. If you get to the theater and decide not to ride, a cast member will show you to the exit.
The most common issue I have witnessed with Soarin’ is fear of the unknown. Many will wait in line for this attraction. During that time, anticipation builds, especially for children unsure of what they are riding.
It’s pretty dark once they enter the theater, and the seating arrangement might appear intimidating. We have seen several children get to the ride and have a meltdown before being seated. While there isn’t anything scary about Soarin’, sometimes that fear of the unknown wins out. As parents, we tend to forget these things.
As more of an observer in the parks over the past few years, I look back and know many things I wish I had done differently. Now I can see why and remember the times (cringe-fully) I pushed harder than I should have. Sure, it’s frustrating for a child to want to leave at the very last minute. But it’s just part of it.
Lastly, Soarin’s screen is an 80-foot IMAX screen. So, if these types of screens bother you, you might want to reconsider.
Here is an example of one of the screens.
This is part of the final screen.
Most guests enjoy Soarin’ and will want to experience it multiple times while touring the park. It’s a unique opportunity that simulates an experience many of us will never have in our lifetimes. So, there’s something special to be said about that.
For more rides at Epcot, you may enjoy the following:
- Frozen Ever After at Epcot
- Test Track
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Awesome Planet
While we cover a good deal of information on the site, Resorts Gal specializes in providing detailed information about the Walt Disney World Resorts. Browse our Disney World Resort Reviews to begin planning your next Disney vacation.
You might enjoy staying at one of the following Skyliner Resorts near Epcot:
- Disney’s Riviera Resort Review
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Review
- Disney’s Art of Animation Review
- Disney’s Pop Century Review
In the comments
What are your thoughts about Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot? Have you experienced this version of the ride? Do you have a favorite scene? Please share your thoughts and experience below in the comments.