Old Soarin = Sore Legs in the line wait area

As one of Epcot’s most iconic attractions, Flight 5505 has been faithfully taking guests up into the big blue skies since May 5th 2005!  (NOTE: Flight 5505 refers to May 5th 2005!).
This original version of Soarin’ was so ground breaking and captivating, its popularity led to line waits of over 60 minutes on just about every day of the year!
Guests often returned home from vacation without even experiencing this amazing attraction.  Thankfully, in order to improve capacity, Disney took a big bold step and temporarily closed Epcot’s Soarin’ for a major upgrade on January 4th 2016.
The immense upgrade had been going on for well over a year ‘back stage’, and the bonus for Epcot guests included a much needed 3rd theater to help with the ongoing demand for Epcot’s most sought after attraction.

On June 17th 2016, the significantly upgraded version was renamed from just plain old Soarin’ to Soarin’ Around the World and we simply can’t emphasize how significant the improvements are.

New Soarin = Buckle up and soon forget that line wait!

Sure, there’s 50% more capacity with that extra screen, but the word is out that this is an awesome new version of Soarin’.
So for now, still expect 60 minute line waits while the novelty factor remains in effect!
The good news, is that this ‘reboot’ of an old favorite is truly incredible and makes for a much better experience while you take to those skies around some of the most spectacular locations on Earth!

First Impressions – Reassuring and comforting!

For Disney fans that hate change (99% of us??), don’t fret!
The imagineers have taken the utmost care to retain those beautiful sleek Soarin’ graphics and colors that are so imprinted in our family photo collections.
It feels like Soarin’, looks like Soarin’ and kind of ‘smells like Soarin too!
(More on the scent of Soarin’ later!)
Importantly, Soarin’ is a clear demonstration on how to make an incredibly popular attraction even better.
Test Track, for many, didn’t tick that box after the original version from March 1999, was ultimately replaced in December 2012.  It’s still a great ride, but some guests felt it had lost some essence.
Soarin’ II if we should call it that, suffers nothing of the sort though.  It’s just as thrilling but better, the grainy picture has gone and so too the scratched and blemished screen.
What we are left with is a high definition, and very immersive airborne voyage around some of the most beautiful tourism landmarks around the world.
The choices are charming, varied and very suited to a Soarin’ style ‘Fly By’.

Ladies and Gentlemen please prepare for takeoff!

The list of scenes at Soarin’ reach much further than the original Californian version, and naturally fit in neatly with the World Showcase concept that makes Epcot such a special experience.
The footage is a subtle combination of live aerial cinematography and expertly crafted CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).
Don’t for one minute be deterred by that thought though.
It’s so seamless and smooth, it looks 100% realistic throughout the entire show.
The transitions between scenes adopt a more creative style, relying more on elements such as birds, kites and clouds to take you from one location to the next.
Speaking of locations, you will not be disappointed.  This really is a global adventure of Epic proportions and the Imagineers didn’t forget those beautiful smells that almost defined our flights on Soarin’ I
Except!  –  No Oranges!!!
We were disappointed in that, but admittedly only through selfish nostalgia, and to be fair, the new scents are much more subtle, realistic and are timed to perfection.

With so much chatter online, we are going to leave those specific smells and aromas out of our blog post, to at least give some element of surprise when you climb aboard Flight 5505 during your next Orlando vacation.
We’ve included a video above, to offer a hint of what’s in store for you, but it leaves enough of the detail out to still give you that ‘first timer magic’ that blew flew us away recently!

List of scenes for Epcot’s Soarin’

Matterhorn in Switzerland
Isfjord, Greenland
Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia
Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany
Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The Great Wall in China
The Great Pyramids in Egypt
Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, India
West and East Mitten Buttes in Monument Valley, Utah, United States
Lau Islands, Fiji
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Epcot, Florida, United States

Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot – Quick Facts

  • 80ft high Imax screen
  • 180-degree projection dome
  • 87 guests per ride vehicle
  • Simulator type attraction
  • Not an extreme experience for most guests
  • Typical hours from 9am through 9pm daily
  • Interactive line wait area
  • Get a Fastpass+ in advance
  • Worth the 60 minute line wait!
  • Official Disney Website for Soarin’
  • Do Not Miss This Attraction!

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