Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot (Ride Review)

This article discusses Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot. We’ll look at height requirements, the best times to ride, and other essential details for experiencing the attraction.

Soarin’ Around the World is an Epcot attraction that offers a simulated experience similar to hang gliding. It’s one of the most popular attractions at Epcot.

Notable accolades for this hang glider experience include a musical score written by Academy award winner Jerry Goldsmith and composer Bruce Broughton.

Over the years, there have been several versions of this attraction: Soarin’ Fantastic Flight, Soarin’ Over the Horizon, and Soarin’ Over California. In addition, from time to time, Soarin Over California is still offered at Disney California Adventure.

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.

Here’s a quick reference chart for Soarin’ Around the World.

Soarin’ Around the WorldEpcot Attractions


The Land Pavilion

Height Requirement at Disney :


Genie+ Eligible


Ride Type:

Screen-based attraction designed
to mimic hang-gliding.

Seats Per Vehicle:

Average of 10 per row

Rider Switch at Disney:


Good For:

Anyone without a fear of heights.

Scare Factor:

Low, unless you have a fear of heights.

Must-Do List:


Perfect For:

Children, Tweens, Teens, and Adults

Special Mention:

Make sure to store your belongings
underneath your seat before sitting down.

Soarin’ Around the World

Soarin’ Around the World opened to guests back in June 2016 in Epcot’s Land Pavilion. It replaced the original ride experience 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. Additionally, those lines will continue to build throughout the day.

Soarin’ has two queues, a Lightning Lane and a standby entrance. Unfortunately, this attraction has no single rider line or virtual queue.

Soarin’ Around the World is eligible for Genie+ if you’ve purchased the upgrade. It’s an excellent choice when selecting individual Lightning Lanes entrances.

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.

On your way to the concourse, a trivia game is available in the standby queue.

Eventually, you’ll reach one of the attraction’s three theaters. Originally, there were only 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. There’s a center group and one to each side of the middle. Each group has three different rows.

For the most optimal experience, you could 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.

I don’t feel like it’s worth the trouble. But if you want to see the screen from the highest viewpoint, you can always ask.

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 row two or three.

Those with a fear of heights or prone to motion sickness might have issues. Soarin’s chairs do lift pretty high off the ground. Row three will remain the lowest.

But if you have an intense fear of heights, it might be better to skip this attraction.

The most common issue I have seen over the years riding Soarin’ is fear of the unknown from children. Most will wait in line for this attraction for a decent amount of time. Meanwhile, anticipation builds, especially for children unsure of what they are riding.

Once they enter the theater, it’s pretty dark, and the seating arrangement might appear a bit intimidating. Numerous children get to the ride and bail before being seated.

There’s nothing scary about Soarin’, but children often try to be brave until their fear eventually wins out. As a parent, I know it’s easy to forget these things.

I would imagine that most of you probably visit Disney World to have fun with your kids.

As more of an observer in the parks over the past few years, I look back and know there are many things I wish I had done differently. Now I can see why and remember the times (cringe-fully) that I pushed a little 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.

For more rides at Epcot, you may enjoy the following:

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:

And don’t miss out on our complete list of Disney restaurant reviews. They include character dining, signature dining, table service, and quick service.

In the comments

What are your thoughts about Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot? Have you experienced this version of the ride? Which part do you like best?

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