It would be the year 2001, and a good friend, Diane, who I worked with at the Disney Store moved back to Anaheim and now worked at Disneyland. She invited me out to experience Disneyland and the newly opened Disney’s California Adventure. I was filled with glee- California! I had never been before, and to top it off, I was getting to go to two Disney Parks for free?!? Too cool! So off I went and one of the first rides at DCA that she talked me into was “Soarin.” Here is the review on both from DCA and Epcot- enjoy!
Diane knew that I had a fear of heights, so getting me on “Soarin” was going to be a bit of a feat. She told me it didn’t go “too high” and that we barely moved once we were up in the air. Now, to someone who is new to this, in my head was me hanging there in the air in a swing and swaying. Not peacefully, because again, I had never ridden it before. I had the fear that the higher I got, the more I would panic, and no one wanted that. So she talked me into the third row.
If you haven’t rode “Soarin” before, it consists of three rows in each section. I believe there are three section in total in the entire Theater-and then there is Theater A and Theater B. (Basically you go left or right). The ride is a row of chairs, and yes pretty much swings, and you follow your designated row to your seat.
I remember the first time I put the seat belt on…I ALMOST put on the “child” belt. I was super nervous, and so it was hard to relax on what is a nice and peaceful ride. Once it lifted off, she advised me to NOT look down. I have taken that advice EVERY TIME I have ridden it- it just doesn’t help my fear too, and there’s nothing to look down at anyways. The first time I was in the air, it was amazing. I could literally feel like I was flying without that fear incapacitating me. It was liberating to try it, and I was super proud of myself that I did.
When it came to Epcot, I was overjoyed. Living in WI, I knew that when we finally had plans set in motion to move here, I knew that the first ride as a family would have to be “Soarin.” We had all rode it at different stages of life and vacations, so this one would be so great to ride as our first one as FL Residents all together. The only real difference in the FL version vs the CA version is that the CA one is meant to look like an airplane hanger and has all this really cool flight artwork and pictures to look at in line, FL does not. But it is the exact same film.
Is it for everyone? Here’s the skinny on it. The first row does go the highest, so if you have a heights phobia, do what I did and try the third row first. You will find that riding with feet in your face isn’t worth the fear, and you will eventually graduate to the top. It’s the only ride on Disney Property (Not Water Parks) that you can ride with your shoes off! Nothing is greater than having your legs dangling, toes out, and flying through the scenery.
It is slow and even though it will say on the signs “dramatic drops” there are only a few over the tops of mountains, etc.. that give you that feeling- nothing like you are about to drop like Tower of Terror kind. The line isn’t worth it past 30 minutes- go in the morning right away, get in line, ride it, then FP it again for later. Fastpasses don’t kick in until a half hour after the Park opens, so the standby line will move quickly that first half hour. The line has interactive games, but most of the time people have zero clue on how to play. It is a hard line to wait in as it moves VERY slowly, and the cell phone service once you get to the pictures gets very slim to nothing. Meaning your entertainment is null until after you get off the ride. Also keep in mind that even though you may have a FP for this ride, the amount of time it takes to walk to the queue and then wait until they let the FP line in, then you queue again in the hallway, and then AGAIN in the actually holding area- basically give yourself time regardless- you don’t want to be late on a Dining Reservation because of it.
All in all, I love this ride. Is it a bit worn out? Yes! Rode it this past week and there was such a large piece of dust on it that I was trying to figure out the shape and not even paying attention to the scenery. But still it remains to this day to be my favorite because I will never forget the first time I rode it in CA, and the most memorable time riding it with my family. I held Craig’s hand during that ride and tears streamed down my face…we had done it. We were FL Residents. And now I can ride it any time I want. I hope this helps someone who is thinking of riding it or for those who do that you enjoyed my review. Have a magical day!!
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!