Soarin’ Around the World: Epcot review

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

In this article, I’m going to provide you with my in-depth Soarin’ Around the World Epcot review.  This already popular attraction was recently re-tooled to provide an even better experience for visitors. 

And so, in this article, I’m going to let you know how long you can expect to wait to ride this awesome attraction, whether you should get a FastPass, what the ride is about, and whether it’s overall worth your time to experience. 

Some important tidbits to remember about Soarin’ Around the World before we go any further:

-Stroller parking is located outside of the Land Pavillon, so you will need to park it and walk the rest of the way in.

-The Land Pavilion is incredibly handicapped accessible.  Soarin’ is located on the first floor of the building, but there are escalators and elevators in order to get to stand by line.

-Soarin’ Around the World is a tiered fast pass system, so it is important to choose wisely.

-There is a height requirement of 40 inches to get on the attraction.  If a rider is on the smaller side, you will have to help them into the seat and slide the seat belt through an extra loop for their safety.

-Every seat is a completely different experience so do not hesitate to ride more than once if you have the time.

Wait Times & Fast Pass Reservations

Soarin’ Around the World used to be notorious for having some of the longest wait lines at all of the theme parks. Back in 2016, they added another screen.  While the line can still get long during the peak times of the year, we were able to go at the end of April at the end of the day and ride 3 times before watching the fireworks with little to no line at all.  A maximum of a five minute wait! 

Epcot does use the tier system for Soarin’ with their fast pass reservation system. This means that you have two groups of attractions to pick from.  In the first tier would be the high demand rides including Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After, Test Track and Illuminations Reserved Seating.  You should chose wisely.  If you have younger tots, I would recommend using your one fast pass selection for Frozen.  And on the other hand, for older kids, I would recommend Test Track. 

While doing stand by for Soarin,’ I would personally recommend two options. The line for Soarin’ Around the World varies throughout the day.  The first option you have is to arrive when the park opens and be there for rope drop.  (Note: Rope Drop is a term for when the park initially opens the gates in the morning.)

You can make the Soarin’ Dash over to the Land Pavillon and be one of the first in line.  Your other option is to wait until the end of the day as a nightcap.  The stand by que for Soarin’ is completely inside.  So even if you do have to have to wait in any sort of line, you will be able to get out of the hot Florida sun or avoid a thunderstorm (which are infamous during the long summer days).

NOTE: If you do have small children who cannot ride Soarin’ have no fear! There is a very large waiting area with plenty of seats to wait while the rest of you party embarks on their journey.  And not far from Soarin’ is Living with the Land.  It is a slow paced boat ride which is perfect for little ones.  They can see how food is grown and the story of American agriculture. 

It is personally a fan favorite in my family (Especially the fish farming!) Also, there are plenty of food options as well so you can stop for a bite to eat while the rest of your family enjoys the ride.  Just make sure they grab you a Child Swap pass so you can hop on next!

The Attraction Within the Attraction

Once you enter the Land Pavillon you will need to head down to the first floor in order to find the stand by and fast pass entrances for Soarin’. If you have any littles in your party, you will need to make sure they are measured before you even enter the line.  Once you find you appropriate line, you will then begin to embark on your adventure.

One of the best secret treasures of Soarin’ is the interactive que.  Even if you do have to wait for a hot second while in line, you will be cleverly entertained by the game within the line. Once you enter the line, you whip out your mobile device (Remember you have access to free wifi while you are in the Disney parks) and log into the website to jump into action.

You will instantly begin competing with other guests in the park in trivia with categories such as cuisine, landmarks, history, culture and more! You will be quizzed on multiple countries so it will definitely be an adventure.  It is an easy way to pass the time while your wait and if your family is competitive, it makes the entire line pass with what feels like no time at all! You will be able to unlock achievements. Make sure you try to make it to the top leaderboards right up until you get to the gate of the attraction!

The Anticipation

One you get to the end of the main stand by que, a cast member will direct you into one of three lines. This is a huge perk of the most recent refurbishment of Soarin’ Around the World because they added another screen.  It has significantly cut down the wait time.  Instead of being the longest wait in the park, you now can find times during the day where you can just hop right on. 

I strongly recommend downloading the My Disney Experience app.  The wait times are constantly being updated so you can check your app throughout the day and when you see your opportunity seize it.  Or just do the Soarin’ Dash and make it your first stop.

Once you are directed into your proper line, you will have another small wait while cast members begin to load you into your loading zone.  Each member of your party will stand on a number and wait graciously while they play an adorable video on how to handle yourself while you are riding the attraction. Make sure to pay attention because it will instruct you on how to properly fasten yourself and what to expect while you are riding Soarin’.

You will begin to load after the video ends.  The back row will load first and everyone will follow each other single file. This ride only has only single strap that goes over your lap and if you do need assistance do not hesitate to ask a cast member!

Remember if you have smaller children in your party to pay attention! There would will be red arrows on the seat.  If your child’s head does not go above the red arrows, you will be instructed to slide the seat belt through an extra hoop. Being aware will make the onboarding process a lot smoother.

Each Seat is a Different Experience

My biggest recommendation about Soarin’ is to ride it multiple times.  Seriously, if you have the chance, you need to ride it just so you can catch everything. 

Now everyone has their own personal preference. My favorite by far is the front row because you do not see anyone’s feet! It literally feels like you are flying with just your next seat neighbors.  My husband on the other hand does not like being able to see the top of the screen (which definitely happens when you are in the front row!)

So he prefers the bottom row.  And honestly, if feet don’t bother you, you totally will not notice it.  The middle row is the perfect viewing of the whole screen.  But still there will be feet.  You can see the small added details in the sky and the water.  I have ridden Soarin’ over a couple dozen times and each ride is a new experience. 

You are completely immersed flying from Africa to China.  Seeing elephants, polar bears, orcas, flying over the Great Wall of China, and the Eiffel Tower.  I cannot spoil how beautiful this ride is. It literally is an experience you would never be able to recreate. And the upgrade to the HD screens is a huge improvement.  An old complaint about Soarin’ was how grainy the screen would be.  Not anymore! It is a crystal clear picture and you feel as if you are actually flying through the sky. 

Keep in mind, there are some jerky movements and sharp turns on the ride.  You are gliding through the air.  And there is a few big drops.  While you are not physically dropping, due to the nature of the large screen it does feel incredibly lifelike.  You know your child best, if large scale thrill rides are not their thing, I would chose the child swap option or skip the ride altogether.  There are plenty of other options at Epcot for you and your little to enjoy together.

Once you land back on your feet, you will then help anyone in your party who made need help out of theirs and walk down a long exit which would drop you off right in the large waiting area so you party can easily find you!

Overall Score

I would love to give Soarin’ Around the World five out of five stars because it is by far my favorite ride at Epcot (and maybe all of Disney) due to the fantastic imagery, lifelike flying experience and the fact that the stand by que is so much fun to be in!

But the feet really get to me.  I cannot stand being in any row but the front because otherwise I am just staring at the feet of everyone above me.  Probably obsessing over it. Because it can be really distracting.  Especially because some people take their shoes off due to fear of them falling off. And then if you do have the chance to ride in the front or top row you could possibly find viewing the top of the screen and issues seeing the bottom of the screen quite annoying as well. 

But the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it comes to Soarin’.  Between the stand by line being air conditioned and interactive, the entertaining informative video before you onboard, and the mind blowing visual spectacular with realistic flying experience, this has to be one of the best Disney World rides. Just make sure that everyone in your party meets the Disney World height requirement and you will definitely understand why I rate this ride at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

So make sure you take every chance to ride Soarin’ during your stay.  Ride it more than once if you have a chance.  Try getting a seat in every section so you can get the experience from every possible angle that is available.  And always ask a cast member.  They are known for adding some extra magic so you may be able to get the view you desire.  So fly around the world with Soarin’ in this once in a lifetime experience.

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