Florida Guide > Epcot
SOARIN OVER CALIFORNIA
Occasionally, Walt Disney' s imagineers create rides that are good, but not brilliant. Well, in the case of Soarin' , they have definitely hit the jackpot, and this is proved by the enormous queues that are always present at its home in EPCOT' s The Land, where it shares the lower floor with the huge Sunshine Seasons food court!
This ride, which was first ' launched' at Disney' s home in California, and following the runaway success, was introduced into EPCOT in 2005.
The ride takes guests on a simulated hang glider tour of California, flying over such landmarks as The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, Palm Springs (the golf ball passing close to the guests is amazing), and ends up at Disneyland California, at Christmas time.
A couple of brief figures explain the enormous size of SOARIN' . The steel used in its construction weighs one million pounds, and thirty-seven tons are lifted during each ride (goodness knows what the electricity costs each day! ).
The attraction is sited in two theatres, each with three rows of carriages (each theatre contains nine motion base units with ten seats), under a canopy to provide the illusion of flying under a hang glider. On lift off, guests are lifted forward and into the air, by a cantilever system, leaving guests' feet to dangle free in the air. In actual fact the ' carriages' are lifted into a huge IMAX Dome movie theatre onto which the scenes of California are projected.
One of the brilliant effects, to enhance the illusion of flight, is that the carriages can move slightly up and down. This effect allied to the turning image on the screen creates an almost real feeling of flying.
Also to add realism, air is blown onto guests containing the scent of orange blossom (when flying over orange trees), and the scent of evergreens when travelling over the mountains.
As already mentioned the main effect is created by a huge, curved IMAX screen on which, High Definition film is run at forty-eight feet per second, or twice the usual speed of normal motion picture film.
There are two Hidden Mickeys to watch out for during your ride. Look at the golf ball as it comes hurtling towards you. The second one is right at the end of the ride and is very easy to spot; just watch the fireworks and you won’t miss it.
This ride is highly recommended, although guests who suffer from motion sickness my wish to consider whether to board or not!
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