I'm Flying High - Soarin'

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Florida Guide > Disney Parks

I'm Flying High - Soarin'

From the minute I heard about ‘Soarin’ I knew it was something I could not miss, so I could hardly wait to try it out when we visited our villa, in Orlando, this August. The thing is, as a Class 1 Wimp, who would have to be dragged kicking and screaming onto a roller coaster, this was one attraction that I knew I could cope with – after all, it’s really only a simulator, so if it was the least bit scary I could simply shut my eyes. However, shutting my eyes never entered my head, it was simply too stunning to miss a second of this amazing flight.

We arrived early in the morning on one of the rainiest days of August – it started to rain within an hour of us getting there, but that meant fewer people and more scope for riding the rides, so we weren’t complaining, and anyway it was nice and hot, if a little damp. We went straight to ‘Soarin’, anxious not to miss an opportunity to experience this fabulous new attraction.

‘Soarin’ is to be found in the old Land pavilion, on the eastern side of Epcot. The pavilion itself is not anything special, and the entrance is certainly not as inspiring as that for Mission Space, but the ride, itself, makes up for any lack of ‘wow’ factor. The whole theme leads you to believe that you are going to board a flight – the attendants are dressed in navy jackets with epaulettes, and you are given a pre-flight briefing – quite amusing – before you embark.

The ride lasts approximately 5 minutes, and I found it awe-inspiring and breathtaking. You sit in a multi-seated hang glider which rises 40 feet up, leaving your feet dangling in mid-air. As you glide silently through the candy floss clouds, nothing prepares you for the vista before you. As you emerge through the fluffy whiteness, with the wind in your face, you find yourself high above the Golden Gate Bridge, which lies below a vast and unspoilt blue sky. The whole of your vision is filled with the amazing panorama of the Californian countryside. Unlike Florida which is very flat, California is a land of extremes, its topography both stunning and varied. Your flight takes you over dazzling and spectacular views of cities and rivers, mountains and orange groves, arid desert terrain and rich farmlands, through National Parks and conservation areas, and over the sea, terminating at Disneyland, in Anaheim, where the finale is a splendid and noisy firework display in the sky, with us, seemingly, in the middle of it all. This multi sensory delight even adds the aromas of pine forests, orange groves and the sea.

I must admit that from the moment our hang glider began to rise into the sky and the stunning musical score began – created by no less a composer than Jerry Goldsmith – I was ‘hooked’. I lost myself totally in the experience, and was left holding my breath as our glider descended at the end of our trip. We were lucky enough to experience its delights 5 times in one day, and each time was different. The very best view is from the first and highest hang glider, and the first seat on the far left hand side gives the most spectacular view. It is so realistic that I defy you not to lift your feet, just once, as you swoop down low over the orange groves! Perhaps my only criticism is the abrupt ‘cuts’ from one panorama to the other, but even that could not spoil this simply unforgettable ride – and one which all the family can enjoy.

Don’t miss it! You will be thrilled and enthralled.

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