Is Disney’s Soarin’ Scary? – Speed, Drops, and Best Ages

Soarin – EPCOT” by Josh Hallett is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World soon, and you have your eyes set on the Epcot theme park, then you might be asking yourself the following question: is Disney’s Soarin’ scary?  Well, in this article, we’re going to answer that inquiry by examining this ride’s theming, speed, storyline, drops, and overall intensity for every age group.

How Scary Is Disney’s Soarin’ Ride?

If I had to rate how scary Soarin’ is on a scale from 1, being the least terrifying, to 10, being the most terrifying, I would give it a 2! Obviously, you know your child best and what they can handle in terms of rides and scare factor. However, if they are not afraid of small jumps or scares or the occasional loud noise, they will love this attraction. 

Here is a quick summary of what to expect on Soarin’ and how scary it really is: 

Theming – Scary Level 1 : Before you board your flight, you will walk down a long hall, almost like a terminal in a real airport, where you will have the chance to play a trivia game to make your wait go by a little faster. 

After, when you board your flight on Soarin’, you can expect what mimics a hang-gliding experience around the world where you will visit various countries while coming face-to-face with the wildlife and people that live there. The rides’ theme was designed with no intention of being scary for anyone and is a way to see the world with just one quick flight! 

Speed and Drops – Scary Level 1: When your flight takes off, the ride vehicle will gently swing you forward towards the 80-foot IMAX screen while your feet are left to dangle in the air during the entire flight. Throughout the ride, your seat will gently tilt and lift in sync with the video to create the feeling that you are flying around the world. 

Soarin’ is considered one of Disney’s slow rides with small drops, which are really just feeling of changes in elevation, so you should not expect to be jolted around as you would on Test Track or Space Mountain. 

Story – Scare Level 2: Essentially, this ride feels like you are part of a movie on the big screen, surrounded by uplifting music and different scents from around the world as you travel from country to country. On this breezy, airborne adventure you can expect a few sudden scares and loud noises as you come face-to-face with the wildlife and people in the different countries. 

However, you are mostly surrounded by spectacular views and music and will only experience these scares as you transition from one country to the next. I give this a two on my scary scale, simply because loud noises are not for everyone!

Best Age for Soarin: There is no age requirement to ride Soarin’, as it was designed to be enjoyed by all members of the family. However, your kiddo will need to be at least 40 inches to ride, but keep in mind, being tall enough does not necessarily mean ready enough to ride. 

So, if they are sensory-sensitive, this may not be the ride for them. Remember, you know your child the best!

Soarin’ Ride Queue and Attraction Experience

As you wait in line to board your flight on Soarin’, you will be able to team up with your family and friends to play a travel-themed trivia game using your mobile device. Make sure your phone is charged because it can get very competitive and is a great way to pass the time before you board your flight!

When your wait is over and you reach the doors to finally board your flight, you will be grouped in sections and rows with 9 other people. 

If you want the best seat in the house, be sure to ask to be seated in Section B Row 1. You may have to wait a little longer for the cast member to accommodate your request, but you will avoid any feet dangling in front of you and have the best view during the ride. 

When you board your flight, the seat is meant to feel like a hang glider with ten rows that seat 10 people in each. You will be strapped in with a safety strap that stretches across your body. There is an extra strap for children between the legs for additional security as well. You will also have an area below the seat to store your belongings during the ride. Be sure to put your shoes under there if you are wearing flip-flops!

As the ride begins, you will be raised high into the air and swept from one scenic location to the next. You will get to see some of the greatest wonders of the world because as Disney puts it, “No mountain is too high, and no landscape is too far.” Your journey will begin as the clouds part, and you soar above the Swiss Alps before visiting the polar bears in icy Greenland. You will then soar past sailboats on Australia’s Sydney Harbour and then between the elephants headed towards Mount Kilimanjaro. 

You will then travel over the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Taj Mahal in India. After, you will reach the beautiful sights and smells of Fiji before landing in the Iguazu Falls in South America. Lastly, you will find yourself on top of the sparkling Eiffel Tower before watching fireworks in Epcot. Be sure to keep an eye out for a hidden Mickey at the end of your journey!

Your senses will undeniably be heightened during your flight around the world. In each country, you will be met with countless sights, sounds, and smells that make you feel like you are visiting the country. Once your 5-minute tour around the world comes to an end, you will land back in Epcot where you will gather your things before heading back out to the park to play!

Disney’s Soarin’ Ride Drops

Technically, there are no drops on Disney’s Soarin’. However, you can expect what feels like a few changes in elevation during the ride. Soarin’ mimics a hang-gliding adventure around the world. You will experience some ups and downs throughout the ride but nothing that is too scary or that could make you feel very queasy. 

You may get the feeling of butterflies in your stomach as you travel from country to country, but nothing more than what you would feel driving over a bump in the road. For example, you will get this feeling the most when flying over the Swiss Alps and the Great Wall of China because it feels like you are flying directly toward both places. Disney’s intention was to make this a family-friendly ride that everyone can enjoy together and should not be seen as scary!

Is Disney’s Soarin’ Ride Bumpy or Intense?

The best part about Soarin’ is that this flight comes without any turbulence like you would typically have on a real flight. Although the ride vehicle does not stay stationary, it only swings a small amount while gliding you from country to country and does so majestically. During your flight, you will remain on a smooth path, never hitting any bumps or flying upside down. It really is the perfect family ride that everyone can enjoy, even your younger kiddos!

Does Disney’s Soarin’ Ride Have Jump Scares?

The first time you ride Soarin’ there may be a few moments that make you jump a bit! There are several instances where you are brought face-to-face with the events that are taking place in the different parts of the world you are flying to. While this ride is not 3D, it is still a screen projected 180 degrees around you that surrounds your senses, and you truly feel immersed in the country you are visiting! 

For example, at one point a whale will jump out of the water and will feel like it is directly in front of your face. This part may make you jump out of your seat, especially when the ride sprays you with a very light mist of water. Do not worry though, it is only a mist and not enough to make you uncomfortable for the rest of the day. 

Along with the whale jumping out of the water, there is also a small engine plane that comes towards you rapidly that will not only make you jump out of your seat but will also be pretty loud. These are probably the two most “scary” moments during the ride. However, they are not intended to be scary but instead to make you feel like you are part of the country you are visiting!

Who the Soarin’ Ride Scare Kids?

There are periods when waiting for the ride to start where it is very dark, which may be unsettling for some children if they are afraid of the dark. When the ride begins, you are also raised 40 feet in the air and so, if you or your kiddo is afraid of heights, this may be a 10 on their scary scale. However, when you are lifted into the air, it is gentle and accompanied by a light, refreshing breeze which makes it way less scary than what it may seem. 

The primary concern with Soarin’ is for children who are sensory-sensitive, as the transitions from country to country happen quickly and are accompanied with bright flashing lights, especially when you reach the Eiffel Tower. As I have said before, the goal of the ride is to make you feel like you are immersed in the countries you are visiting, and the way they do this is with incredible sights, loud sounds, and unforgettable scents! 

Best Age to Ride Disney’s Soarin’?

There is no age requirement to ride Soarin’. However, you do need to be at least 40 inches tall to ride. As long as you or your child are not hypersensitive to flashing lights or loud noises, anyone above the height requirement will love this ride. Not only that, but it may also become a family favorite for you, as it does with so many other families that visit Epcot. Always remember, you know your child and their limits better than anyone, but Disney designed this ride for it to be enjoyed by both parents and the kids so do not view it as the least bit scary!


So, at the end of the day, is Disney’s Soarin’ ride scar?  Well, in my opinion—no, not really.  Soarin’ is not scary by any means and is one of the most joyful attractions in all of Walt Disney World. 

I rank Soarin’ as a 2 on my how scary is Soarin’ scale, simply because flashing lights and loud noises are not for everyone, especially those that are more sensory-sensitive. However, if your family wants to explore a bunch of different countries around the world without paying for a real flight, Soarin’ is the ride for you! 

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