Ready for the chance to “hang glide” and experience some of the most beautiful views across the globe?
Soarin’ Around the World is a popular attraction at Walt Disney World located in Epcot — and for good reason.
This ride really does make you feel as if you are hang gliding around the world. It’s pretty fantastic. Everyone should try it at least once during their trip.
Now, let’s soar into our guide to Soarin’ Around the World.
Soarin Around the World Quick Facts
Description: Soarin’ is one of the most popular rides in all of Disney World. It’s a very unique experience as it involves three senses at once: sight, sound, and smell.
You sit in a ride vehicle that lifts you in front of an IMAX dome screen and hang glide through many bucket-list destinations from all around the world, while smelling various scents and hearing the musical arrangements that enhance what you are seeing on screen.
You can find Soarin’ inside The Land pavilion (on the ground floor) in World Nature, which is one of Epcot’s neighborhoods.
Here’s the location on the map:
The Land Pavilion is a large complex containing several attractions and a couple of restaurants. This is a great spot to visit during hotter temperatures or fit you need to wait out any bad weather.
How to Ride Soarin’
Soarin’ has a Standby Line and Lightning Lane. There is no Single Rider Line.
The Standby Line for Soarin’ is typically the lowest first thing in the morning and at the end of the evening. The middle of the day will see the longest lines with sustained wait times of over 60 minutes.
Soarin’ is listed as an available attraction for Early Theme Park Entry. This means it will open 30-minutes before the official park open every day for Disney World resort guests (and select others) only. The Standby wait time jumps quickly after park open.
Eligible guests can also ride Soarin’ during Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.
Do I Need to Use Genie+ at Soarin’?
Soarin’ is available with Genie+ and we would highly recommend using it at this attraction.
It’s one of the most popular rides at Epcot that many guests make a must-do during their park day. So unless you do this ride in the first hour of the morning, plan to reserve a Genie+ time for later in the day.
You can also pair it with Living with the Land, since both attractions are located on the ground floor of The Land pavilion.
Be sure to check out our touring strategies for Epcot for more Genie+ advice.
Rider Switch/Child Swap
Yes, you can use Rider Switch for Soarin’, which allows guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little ones.
If you plan to use Rider Switch here, taking your little one who can’t ride that attraction onto Living with the Land is a great way to keep them entertained.
What to Expect When You Ride
The line for Soarin’ is completely indoors and is quite lengthy. Like every other attraction queue throughout Disney parks, this one is themed to the ride.
There are different concourses to load guests and during the pre-show you’ll even get to see Patrick Warburton (Kronk’s voice in The New Groove) go over the safety instructions.
Pay attention to the screen before you sit down, because it shows a map with pinned locations of your flight.
Soarin’ also has an interactive queue. If you like trivia, then this is for you. Family and friends can play “Soarin’ Challenge,” a multiple choice, travel-themed trivia right on their smartphones via the Play Disney Parks app.
The trivia game is completely free and has questions on geography, cuisine, languages, and more.
The ride itself is modeled after an Erector Set and can fit a total of 87 guests per flight. Each ride vehicle resembles a flight hangar with three rows of benches that seats approximately 10 passengers per row.
Before you sit you can store your personal belongings under your seat in the mesh bag compartment.
If your items are too big for the bag, ask a Cast Member. More than likely, you’ll be instructed to place your belongings in the aisle between ride vehicles.
Once seated you’ll buckle yourself with a safety belt. Cast Members will come around and ask you to pull on the yellow safety strap to ensure you are properly secured.
Since your feet dangle freely during the flight, those who are wearing shoes without backs, like flip flops, will be required to leave them on the floor directly below their seat before the ride begins. This way, you don’t have to worry about your shoes falling off mid-flight.
Guests must transfer from their ECV or wheelchair to board this ride. Video captioning is available for those with hearing impairment.
Due to the nature of this ride, service animals are not permitted to accompany their owner on it. Disney also warns that anyone who has a fear of heights or are prone to motion sickness should not ride(or at least use caution before doing so).
Since Soarin’ is an attraction that simulates flying and suspends you from 30-50 feet in the air depending on your row, motion sickness can likely occur for some.
There’s no getting around the sensation of being lifted up that high and hang gliding in the air. These are just a few things to keep in mind prior to boarding, especially for those prone to fear of heights.
If you need it, we have a guide on motion sickness that’s filled with information and tips.
On The Ride
Ride spoilers ahead!
After boarding your ride vehicle and safety check, hold on to the hand rails at your side. Your ‘Flight 5505’ has been cleared for take off. You will hear the music score begin as you feel the ride vehicle lift up and start flying through a scene of clouds.
The clouds disperse and you find yourself in Switzerland flying over the snow capped summit of Matterhorn mountain and then down into the ice caps of Isfjord, Greenland, where you’ll spot polar bears right before a whale jumps out of the ocean and splashes down into the water (no worries, you do not get wet.)
Next, you fly into Sydney Harbor, Australia past the beautiful Opera House. A plane passes by and transitions you to Bavaria, Germany for an incredible aerial view of the Neuschwanstein Castle. Does it look familiar? This castle inspired both Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park and Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom.
You glide south into Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, Africa where you soar over a herd of elephants. The scent during this scene is a mixture of fresh rain, turf, and grass.
Your flight next makes its way north towards the Great Wall of China for a completely incredible overlook of one of the ancient wonders of the world. Afterwards you’ll explore one of the remaining Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Soarin’ over to India, you will take in the sights and beautiful rose, lilac, and jasmine flower smells of the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, India. Get ready because you’re heading back stateside to your next stop on Soarin’ Around the World, Monument Valley in Arizona. Watch for a Hidden Mickey in the balloons!
Swooping down into the South Pacific you will be greeted by the fan favorite smell of warm beaches and tropical ocean breeze scents at Lau Islands, Fiji. Then get ready for a bird’s eye view of Iguazu Falls located on the border where Brazil and Argentina meet. This is one of the largest waterfalls in the world!
Nearing the end of your flight you will glide over to Paris, France for the magnificent vision that is the Eiffel Tower all lit up and sparkling at night.
The final scene has your flight arrive over Epcot theme park where you will see Tinker Bell fly over Spaceship Earth which culminates into Mickey-shaped fireworks before you feel yourself being lowered back down to the loading station.
Is Soarin’ Kid-Friendly?
Soarin’ is an unforgettable experience. It’s not fast, rough, or dark, but you are suspended in the air, which could frighten little ones. You do feel like you’re actually flying, so kids may or may not like that sensation.
We have a full guide on several other things that might scare little ones at Disney World.
Strollers are not allowed in the queue for Soarin’. You’ll need to park your stroller in the designated stroller parking area, which is located outside of The Land pavilion.
It might be a good idea to cover your stroller with a rain cover before entering the pavilion. You never know when the sky will open up with those famous Florida rain showers.
This is a one-of-a-kind experience that elevates guests up to 50 feet into an 80-foot projection IMAX screen that gives an unbelievable real-life sense of flight.
Soarin’ opened at Epcot in 2005, but not as Soarin’ Around the World. The attraction opened as Soarin’ Over California, which also first debuted at Disney California Adventure.
Soarin’ Over California transported guests over the beautiful landscapes of California. There were also incredible fan-favorite smells, like the pine tree forest and orange grove.
This version came to an end at Epcot on May 27, 2016. Soarin’ Around the World opened on June 17 of the same year, in which guests now fly over world renowned landmarks like the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.
What makes the ride even more special is the musical score was composed by Academy Award-winner Jerry Goldsmith. Plus the ride system is all thanks to Imagineer Mark Sumner, who found design inspiration by using an old Erector Set and string!
Other Fun Details
- Pay attention when you’re on the ride for a Hidden Mickey thanks to hot air balloons. There is also a hidden Mickey formed in the final scene over Epcot when two fireworks burst at the same time above Spaceship Earth.
- The Matterhorn shown on the ride is connected to the Matterhorn attraction at Disneyland Park. Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle shown inspired the design of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland and also gives odes to the Cinderella Castle structure at Disney World.
- Every Soarin’ ride has flight number 5505. This stands for the date Soarin’ first opened at Epcot on May 5, 2005.
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Friday 8th of April 2022
Correction: We were there in summer 2005 and the world experience was shown.
Friday 8th of April 2022
Hey, Ed - We were there for the opening of Soarin' Around the World in June 2016. Before that, it was the California version.