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Soarin' Logo.svg
Disney California Adventure
NameSoarin' Over California[1]
AreaCondor Flats
Coordinates33°48′30″N 117°55′12″W / 33.80837°N 117.92000°W / 33.80837; -117.92000
Opening dateFebruary 8, 2001 (Soarin' Over California)
June 17, 2016 (Soarin' Around the World)
Closing dateJune 15, 2016 (Soarin' Over California)
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Available
NameSoarin' Around the World[2]
AreaFuture World (The Land pavilion) (2005-2021)
World Nature (The Land pavilion) (2021-)
Coordinates28°22′21.66″N 81°33′9.43″W / 28.3726833°N 81.5526194°W / 28.3726833; -81.5526194
Opening dateMay 5, 2005 (Soarin' Over California)
June 17, 2016 (Soarin' Around the World)[3]
Closing dateJanuary 4, 2016 (Soarin' Over California)
ReplacedFood Rocks (1994-2004)
(Future World)
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Available
Shanghai Disneyland Park
NameSoaring Over the Horizon
AreaAdventure Isle
Opening dateJune 16, 2016
Tokyo DisneySea
NameSoaring: Fantastic Flight
AreaMediterranean Harbor
Opening dateJuly 23, 2019
Ride statistics
Attraction typeFlying Theater simulator ride
ManufacturerDynamic Structures
DesignerWalt Disney Imagineering
MusicBruce Broughton, based on a score by Jerry Goldsmith
Height80 ft (24 m)
Vehicle typeHang glider simulator / flying theater
Vehicles6 in two theaters (California, Shanghai)
9 in three theaters (Florida) (formerly 6 until 2016)
Riders per vehicleAlpha 27, Bravo 33, Charlie 27
Participants per group87 per theater
Height restriction40 in (102 cm)
HostPatrick Warburton
SponsorNestlé (2005-2009)
Must transfer from wheelchair
Closed captioning available

Soarin', also known as Soarin' Over California, Soarin' Around The World, Soaring Over the Horizon and Soaring: Fantastic Flight, is a flight motion simulator attraction at Disney California Adventure, Epcot, Shanghai Disneyland, and Tokyo DisneySea. It employs a mechanical lift system, a projected presentation on an 80 ft (24 m) concave 180-degree dome screen, and artificial scents and wind to simulate a hang gliding flight over locations in six of the world's continents.[4][5] Many consider it the first flying theater.

The attraction's first iteration, Soarin' Over California, was an opening-day attraction at Disney California Adventure on February 8, 2001. It took guests over several locations in California and included a pre-show on the history of California's aviation industry. It was also installed at Epcot in Walt Disney World as Soarin' in 2005.

The current global version of the ride debuted at Shanghai Disneyland Park as Soaring Over the Horizon on June 16, 2016. The American versions were also replaced with the new film as Soarin' Around the World on June 17.[3][6] A fourth attraction, Soaring: Fantastic Flight, opened at Tokyo DisneySea on July 23, 2019.[7] The original Soarin' Over California returned to Disney California Adventure for a limited engagement in June 2019, and its popularity led Disney to extend the run through the end of August of that year. Another limited run began February 28, 2020, as part of the park's Food & Wine Festival, but was cut short when the resort closed on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 13, 2022, Disney announced Soarin' Over California would return on March 4 for Disney California Adventure Annual Food & Wine Festival.


Ride design[edit]

Three rows of seating for the ride

Soarin' was first conceptualized in 1996 as Ultra Flight, a name that can still be seen on the tower consoles of the California Adventure attraction. It was to feature an OMNIMAX screen with an inverted track, allowing guests to fly over California's landmarks. It was to have three load levels, with a system operating on a horizontal cable, much like a dry cleaner's rack. The plan was abandoned when it was determined that the design's construction and labor costs would be prohibitive. It seemed that Soarin' wouldn't become a reality until engineer Mark Sumner developed a different idea for the ride vehicles, using an Erector Set and string to create a working model. The new design allowed Disney to efficiently load guests on one level instead of three, significantly cutting its building costs.

Each ride vehicle consists of three rows of seats under a wing-like canopy, with a capacity of 87 guests. After guests have been safely restrained in the vehicle with standard lap belts, the canopy descends slightly and a cantilever system lifts the chairs forward and into the air with the guests' feet dangling freely. The vehicle is lifted forward so that guests look into a large, concave movie screen onto which aerial views are projected. The original film's scenes were shot at an IMAX HD frame rate of 48 frames per second, twice the conventional rate of regular films. The vehicle is moved forward toward the center of the dome so guests can see only the projected images and experience the sensation of flight. The ride structure contains about one million pounds (454,000 kg) of steel; 37 tons (33.5 metric tonnes) are lifted during each ride cycle.

To enhance the illusion, subtle vertical movements of the seats are synchronized to the film. Sensations of horizontal motion are created with a combination of vertical carriage movement and turning the image on the screen. Scents complementing the scenes are also injected into the air streams blowing on riders. When it opened, the scent was only present during the Redwood Creek scene and the Valencia Orange Farms scene. In the updated show, scents include rose blossoms in the Taj Mahal scene, grass in the Africa scene, and a sea breeze in the South Pacific scene.[4][8]


Disney California Adventure[edit]

Soarin' Over California at Disney California Adventure

Soarin' Around the World is in the Grizzly Peak Airfield section of Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort. One of the resort's most popular attractions, it utilizes the park's FastPass system, allowing guests to reserve specific ride times to avoid long queues.

While in line, guests pass the Wings of Fame, an homage to California's aviation history, including profiles of the P-51 Mustang, SR-71 Blackbird, and Bell X-1. There is also a section dedicated to aviators such as John J. Montgomery, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, Jack Northrop, the Wright brothers, Howard Hughes, Jacqueline Cochran, Kelly Johnson, Paul MacCready, and Chuck Yeager. Inspirational music from a variety of aviation-related films is played in the queue areas, including Patton, MacArthur, Air Force One, The Blue Max, Explorers (all by Jerry Goldsmith), The American President (by Marc Shaiman), DragonHeart, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Angels in the Outfield (1994) (both by Randy Edelman), The Last Starfighter (by Craig Safan), Apollo 13, and The Rocketeer (both by James Horner), Always (by John Williams) and the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers (by Michael Kamen). The Air Force Song and "Jupiter" from Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets are also heard, based on their use in The Right Stuff.

Before entering the theater area, guests are placed in one of three preshow areas, called Alpha Gate, Bravo Gate, and Charlie Gate (named for the first three letters of the NATO phonetic alphabet). Just before boarding, guests see a pre-boarding video hosted by their chief flight attendant, Patrick Warburton.[4]

The attraction opened with the park in 2001 as Soarin' Over California in what was then the park's Condor Flats area. In early 2015, it closed for refurbishment as the surrounding area was transformed into Grizzly Peak Airfield. It reopened on May 15, 2015, with new exterior theming and updates to its screen and projection system.[9][10][11][12] It now utilizes a laser illuminated digital projection array, replacing its original IMAX systems.[13] Several exterior changes include the replacement of the mock-up RS-25 rocket engine with a fire lookout tower.

From January to March 2016, the attraction intermittently operated as Soarin' Over California to prepare for the introduction of the Soarin' Around the World ride film. The original film was shown until June 16, when the attraction was closed to prepare for the new film's debut on June 17.[14][15]

Soarin' Over California Return Engagements

Since Soarin' Around the World's opening on June 17, 2016, visitors to Disney California Adventure are usually able to find Soarin' Around the World' playing. However, on various occasions, Disney has brought back the original Soarin' Over California for return engagements.

The first was on May 23, 2019, Disney announced that Soarin' Over California would temporarily return to the park for the month of June, following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland Park on May 31.[16][17] On June 21, they announced that the limited return had been extended to August 31, 2019, due to popular demand.

On February 28, 2020, the California version of the ride returned to California Adventure for the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.[18] The limited engagement was scheduled to run through April 21, but ended prematurely when the resort began its extended closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13.[19] When the resort reopened on April 30, 2021, "Soarin' Around the World" was being shown.

Soarin' Over California Runs

ORIGINAL RUN: February 8, 2001 - June 15, 2016

FIRST RETURN: May 31, 2019 - August 31, 2019

SECOND RETURN: February 28, 2020 - March 13, 2020

THIRD RETURN: March 4, 2022 - April 26, 2022

FOURTH RETURN: March 3, 2023 - April 25, 2023


Entrance for Epcot's Soarin' within The Land pavilion.

The attraction was duplicated, simply as Soarin', and officially opened inside "The Land" pavilion at Epcot in Walt Disney World on May 5, 2005, along with Lights, Motors, Action!: Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios as part of the Happiest Celebration on Earth festival. Unlike the Disney California Adventure version, the show had guests taking flights to California. The concept was reinforced with theming of guests being loaded into "gates", with airport-themed spiels referring to "Flight 5505", an homage to the attraction's opening day. Cast members wear costumes resembling flight attendant uniforms, whereas the California version wear airfield crew uniforms.

The Epcot queue originally had pictures of natural wonders from around the world, not just California. It currently utilizes a new infrared technology that allows guests to participate in interactive games. In 2009, this interactive technology appeared in the Magic Kingdom as part of a seven-month overhaul of Space Mountain.

The attraction closed for refurbishment on January 4, 2016, and was originally slated to reopen on June 17, with a third theater to coincide with the release of the new Soarin' Around the World film.[20][21] The ride reopened with the original film on May 27, and the change to the new film occurred on June 17, 2016.[14][22]

Shanghai Disneyland Park[edit]

The attraction was retooled as Soaring Over the Horizon for Shanghai Disneyland Park. It was not part of the park's original plan, but was added to it after Walt Disney Imagineering began developing similar attractions for the U.S. parks.[23] Located in the park's Adventure Isle area, it opened with the park on June 16, 2016.

Embedded in the Adventure Isle setting, the attraction is presented as an ancient observatory and temple to the Arbori tribe's Condor god.[24] The preshow and safety spiel are hosted by a shaman of the tribe who grants guests the ability of flight, but has trouble controlling her own shapeshifting abilities.[25]

Tokyo DisneySea[edit]

On April 27, 2016, Tokyo Disney Resort announced a number of coming attractions for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea parks,[7] including a proposed version of Soarin' (titled Soaring: Fantastic Flight) to be in the Mediterranean Harbor section of Tokyo DisneySea.[7] The announcement said this version would have a different theme, with ride vehicles designed as Renaissance-era Dream Flyers created by aviatrix and Society of Explorers and Adventurers member Camellia Falco. It opened on July 23, 2019.

In this version of the attraction, rather than an aviation terminal, it is set in the Museum of Fantastic Flight, which is hosting a retrospective on the life of Camellia Falco. Her spirit takes guests to see some of her Dream Flyer gliders, and invites them on a flight of fantasy around the world. (Falco's name was first seen by guests at Disneyland's Tropical Hideaway restaurant as one of the names on a series of oars belonging to members of the Society.)[26]

Two other differences can be seen in this version of the film: The Paris scene is replaced with Tokyo at sunset, with Mount Fuji in the background; and the finale is a flight over Tokyo DisneySea.

Ride films[edit]

Soarin' Over California[edit]

Soarin' Over California exterior as it appeared from 2001 to 2014 at Disney California Adventure

The original ride film, which lasts four minutes and 51 seconds, takes guests on a simulated hang-glider tour of California. Appropriate scents (citrus, pine, sagebrush, ocean mist) fill the air as the ride vehicles move gently to simulate the sensations of flight. In addition to the state's various landscapes, it also highlights its diverse recreation, including snow skiing, river rafting, kayaking, golf, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, surfing, and of course, hang gliding. Its locations are:

The original Soarin' Over California ride film at both Disney California Adventure and Epcot has an orchestral score by Jerry Goldsmith, who is said to have come down from his first ride in tears. In addition to finding it visually beautiful and magical, he said that his father was a pilot who loved all things Californian. "I'd do anything to be part of this project," Goldsmith said. "I'd even score the film for free."[27] His soundtrack plays during the entire attraction, starting with a crescendo in the low strings while the screen is still dark. Numerous variations of a serene theme for horn and strings are heard, and several statements of a fanfare accompanies the grandest vistas. The original ride score was included on Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World official albums, including Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Disneyland. It continues to be heard as ambient music in the Disneyland Resort Esplanade and Epcot's entrance plaza.

Soaring Over the Horizon, Soarin' Around the World, and Soaring: Fantastic Flight[edit]

An updated version of the Soarin' attraction debuted at the Adventure Isle section of Shanghai Disneyland Park as Soaring Over the Horizon on June 16, 2016.[28][29] On August 15, 2015, at the D23 Expo, it was announced that the attractions at Epcot and Disney California Adventure would debut versions of the new Soaring Over the Horizon ride film, titled Soarin' Around the World, featuring locations, landscapes and landmarks across six continents.[30][31] Unlike the original film, the updated version heavily utilizes computer generated imagery., including animated transitions between scenes, such as close encounters with a seaplane, a kite, and an eagle.[4] The updated attractions opened on June 17, 2016, at Disney California Adventure and Epcot, along with a third theater for the latter location.[3][21][32] The film's locations are:[4]

Soarin' Around the World and Soaring Over the Horizon received a new score by Bruce Broughton, heavily based on Goldsmith's original score,[5] and performed by the London Studio Orchestra.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Soarin' Around the World". Disneyland. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  2. ^ "Soarin'". Walt Disney World. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Lim, Victoria. "Soarin' Around the World Takes Flight at Disney Parks This Summer". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e MacDonald, Brady (June 22, 2016). "Disney's rebooted Soarin' ride takes flight over worldwide landmarks". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 25, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Gritchen, Jeff (June 15, 2016). "Shanghai Disneyland: Get a sneak peek at new 'Soaring' ride, also coming to California this week". The Orange County Register. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  6. ^ Glover, Erin (August 16, 2015). "Soarin' Around the World Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts". DisneyParks Blog. Disney. Archived from the original on February 25, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Drew Taylor (April 27, 2016). "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST-THEMED LAND, BIG HERO 6 ATTRACTION ANNOUNCED FOR TOKYO DISNEYLAND". The Walt Disney Company. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  8. ^ "All Of Your Soarin' Around the World Questions, Answered". Oh My Disney. June 25, 2016. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  9. ^ Pimentel, Joseph (January 25, 2015). "Upgrades close several Disney rides". The Orange County Register. p. Local 2. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015.
  10. ^ "Soarin' Over California". Disneyland. Archived from the original on January 13, 2015.
  11. ^ Glover, Erin (March 9, 2015). "New Smokejumpers Grill Opens March 20, Part of Grizzly Peak Expansion at Disney California Adventure Park". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  12. ^ Glover, Erin (May 15, 2015). "Grizzly Peak Airfield Now Open at Disney California Adventure Park". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  13. ^ Mark Eades, OC Register (May 19, 2015). "New Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney California Adventure recalls scenic national parks". Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015. According to Scholz, advances in laser illumination technology allowed Disney to upgrade the projectors without a sacrifice in the quality of the show.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ a b Lim, Victoria. "Last Chance to Experience the Classic Soarin' at Epcot and Disney California Adventure Before Soarin' Around the World Debuts on June 17". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Glover, Erin. "Taking Flight from Grizzly Peak Airfield on Soarin' Around the World at Disney California Adventure Park". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on June 5, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  16. ^ Tuttle, Brittani (May 23, 2019). "Soarin' Over California to return to Disney California Adventure for a limited time". Attractions Magazine. Dream Together Media, LLC. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  17. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (May 23, 2019). "Disney Parks will resurrect an old ride to lure people away from Star Wars Land". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  18. ^ "Soarin' Over California returns for another limited run during Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival". Orange County Register. February 3, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Soarin' Over California returns for another limited run during Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival". February 3, 2020.
  20. ^ Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks. "More Opportunities to Soar, Enjoy Toy Story Mania Coming to Walt Disney World Resort". Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 12, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  21. ^ a b Erik. "D23: Soarin Around the World coming to both Epcot and Disney's California Adventure!". Behind the Thrills. Archived from the original on August 17, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Bevil, Dewayne. "Disney: Opening dates for Frozen ride, Soarin', Star Wars fireworks, more". Archived from the original on May 23, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  23. ^ Makinen, Julie (June 17, 2016). "Disney's popular 'Soaring' ride gets a Shanghai reboot". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  24. ^ "Soaring Over the Horizon | Shanghai Disney Resort".
  25. ^ SHDL Soaring Over the Horizon(Preshow) ソアリン オーバー・ザ・ホライズン(プレショー) (YouTube). rogermosphere. June 20, 2016. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  26. ^ "Soarin: Fantastic Flight - S.E.A. Link Confirmed". Jungle Skipper. January 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Jim Hill Media. "The new Disney California Adventure Official Album". Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  28. ^ Ben Fritz. "Disney Unveils Shanghai Disneyland Details". WSJ. Archived from the original on August 16, 2015.
  29. ^ Makinen, Julie (July 15, 2015). "How 'Chinese' will Shanghai Disney be?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2015.
  30. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (April 19, 2016). "Disney: More details on Frozen ride, new version of Soarin'". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 20, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  31. ^ "Soarin' Around the World Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts". Disney Parks Blog. Archived from the original on August 17, 2015.
  32. ^ Mauney, Matt (August 25, 2015). "Epcot: Here's what the Soarin' update will look like". Archived from the original on March 31, 2016.
  33. ^ "Soarin' Around the World Takes Flight This Summer at Epcot" (PDF). Walt Disney World. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.

External links[edit]