Have you been trying to figure out the answer to the question “Is Soarin’ scary”? Join me as I uncover everything you need to know about EPCOT’s iconic flight around the world!
Soarin’ first opened way back in 2005 and has been charming jetsetters with its incredible visuals ever since.
But if you’re planning to visit Disney World for the first time, you might not know what to expect from this iconic ride.
And you’ll probably be trying to figure out: “Is Soarin’ scary?”.
Now, I’m the first to say that I always do my research into drops, speed, and bumpiness before boarding anything.
So, I thought I’d do the legwork for you in this deep dive that should help you figure out whether Soarin’ is scary!
Oh, and I’ll even let you know what ages will appreciate this trip around the world the most!
Now let’s get to it.
What Is Soarin’?
Soarin’ Around the World at EPCOT is a flight simulator attraction that uses a large screen to make you feel like you’re hang gliding.
It gives you a seriously scenic tour around the globe (hence the name!) and takes you everywhere from the Great Wall to California.
It takes you through several different scenes over the course of a few minutes and has an incredible IMAX Projection Dome.
This is what gives it the incredible immersive feeling and next-level aerial footage.
Seriously, the screen is a 180-degree, 80-foot-high kind of deal that offers impressive visuals from all angles.
As you ride, you’ll be treated to an amazing score by composer Bruce Boughton and Jerry Goldsmith.
In short, it’s a multi-sensory experience that genuinely makes you feel like you’re flying.
I’d say it’s relatively similar to Flight of Passage, but I find this to be a milder version of the flying motion simulator vibe in Pandora.
For that reason, I’d say it’s a great “taster” ride if you’re worried about riding Flight of Passage.
Where is Soarin’ Around the World?
Soarin’ is currently exclusive to Walt Disney World and you’ll find it in EPCOT inside the World Nature Land.
As this area is dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the natural world, putting Soarin’ here totally makes sense.
How Scary is Disney’s Soarin’ at EPCOT?
Soarin’ isn’t scary as motion simulators go, but I’d advise proceeding with caution if you have a fear of heights.
This isn’t because you actually GO high, but the simulated swoops and dives along with a massive IMAX screen might feel off-putting.
Because you’re also suspended in the air, it’s worth trying to figure out whether this would make you feel unsettled.
For some riders, the slight feeling of weightlessness (you feel like you’re flying!) might not suit people with a fear of heights.
I’ll also say that this might slightly affect anyone who doesn’t like slight stomach flops.
Don’t get me wrong, there are no real drops here – but you do get a very small stomach flopping feeling at a couple of points.
But honestly, I wouldn’t say it was much to write home about (and I’m a wimp when it comes to drops!).
On a scale of 1 to 10 on the spooky scale, I’d say that Soarin’ barely even breaks a 3.
The only reason I’m giving it more than 2 is down to the potential spook-factor from the simulated heights.
What to Expect on Soarin’
I wouldn’t say that there are drops on Soarin’, but you’ll notice changes in elevation and boosts throughout the ride.
It’s designed to make you feel like you’re flying, which means there will be dips and ascents to give you that impression.
There’s nothing major, but the deeper you dip, the more you’re going to feel a stomach-flopping feeling.
I’d say that you’ll want to look out for the Alps section if you’re not a fan of the dropping feeling.
But most other sections are honestly nothing to worry about – it just depends on your constitution!
The fact that your feet are dangling might make you feel slightly more weightless (thus increasing the dropping feeling!).
I’ve honestly never noticed it though, so it’s quite minor.
And when you’re comparing it to major thrill rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Space Mountain? It’s child’s play!
If I was trying to compare it to something, I’d say it feels like the slight dips from a chairlift or bumps on a road.
Nothing more, nothing less.
You’re not technically moving fast at all when you’re riding Soarin’ – it’s all about perceived speed based on the screen.
You will feel like you’re moving relatively quickly as you swoop around the world as your seat tilts.
This light lifting motion creates a feeling of movement that’s supported by the moving images in front of you.
Generally though, speed isn’t something you need to worry about on Soarin’!
Ride vehicle and queue
In terms of the queue line, there’s not really much to talk about.
You’ll walk through as you play a travel trivia game (which I really recommend doing!) before going into boarding groups.
You can ask to ride at the front for a less height-intensive experience, as I sometimes find the back rows slightly too high.
But if this doesn’t bother you, don’t worry!
I’ve found Section B a reliable pick for great views and a not-so-scary height, just FYI.
The ride vehicle itself is a simple seat with no footrest that’s designed to make your feet dangle (so, be careful with footwear!).
The safety strap is quite simple and just goes across the bottom part of your body to keep you snug.
In case you’re trying to bring bags on rides at Disney World, there’s also a handy pocket by your seat for bags.
From here, you’ll be lifted into the air (not too high though!) and gently moved as you soar between scenes.
The ride runs for around 5 minutes, but it feels WAY shorter.
Theming and story
I’ll be real and say that the theming and story on this ride is just glorious and NOT scary.
It shows you the absolute best natural (and manmade!) wonders of the world alongside an amazing soundtrack.
There’s not a strict “story” that you’re following here, but you’ll be able to appreciate different cultures as you zoom around.
I’d say that the quick transitions between countries might be a touch jolting, but it’s honestly not worth worrying about!
Assault on the senses
Although I wouldn’t say that Soarin’ is scary, it IS a bit of an assault on the senses.
As you soar around the world, you’ll encounter everything from orange trees to rushes of wind over the water.
For that reason, it can be a lot for anyone who doesn’t appreciate a sensory overload.
During your ride, you’ll also visit Greenland, Sydney Harbor, Kilimanjaro National Park, and Lau Islands (among other places!).
In some spots, you’ll encounter slightly loud noises, unexpected smells (that aren’t unpleasant!), and unexpected sights.
There aren’t any smells that I think will put off kids or adults, but the Tanzania section does have a distinctive dirt-like scent.
But if you’re able to handle the smell of burning inside the EPCOT Ball, you’ll be fine!
Bumpiness and ride motion
What I love about Soarin’ is that it’s as smooth as butter.
The ride mechanism keeps you easily dipping and gliding without any juddering that comes with carriage-based rides.
Also, the ride doesn’t really move very much from its base bar going up and down a couple of times and tipping forward.
This means that you simply won’t experience any bumps or turbulence (it’s a flight, after all!) that might put you off.
The smooth motion makes it far less scary than other rides at Disney World like Big Thunder Mountain.
So, if you’re not into rickety coasters, this can be a relatively thrilling experience to switch them out for!
I get that not everyone loves jump scares, and Soarin’ doesn’t really have them.
The only thing you’ll need to think about is just how close you are to the enormous IMAX screen.
Being so close to the action might constitute a jump scare if you consider just how quickly the scenes change.
But there’s nothing that jumps out as a deliberate spooky scare – it’s just the transitions that might shock you slightly.
The closest you’ll get to a legitimate jump scare is a whale jumping out of the water or animals running on land.
Oh, and a plane flying overhead and coming relatively close to you for a short period.
If you can handle that, don’t even sweat it!
Just be aware that all of these events are quite loud (including the finale fireworks show!).
So, if you’re traveling with children or adults with a sound sensitivity, you might want to think carefully before riding.
Is Soarin’ Scary If You’re Afraid of Heights?
I personally wouldn’t advise riding Soarin’ if you’re afraid of heights.
This isn’t because you’re lifted physically high in the ride vehicle, but being high above your surroundings might feel uncomfortable.
I’m being completely serious when I say that soaring above the Great Wall of China feels REAL.
And if you’re sensitive to heights, this is 100% going to feel as though you’re going to fall.
I’ve not personally felt this way while riding Soarin’, but it’s certainly something to consider.
Will Soarin’ Give You Motion Sickness?
One of the main things you might be thinking about when asking “Is Soarin’ scary?” is whether you’ll get motion sick.
Hey, I get it – I’m the kind of person that gets sick in the passenger seat of a car every time.
I’d say that there’s a small chance of motion sickness as you’re being lightly moved by a motion simulator.
The large IMAX screen also might overload your senses slightly if you tend to get headaches from looking at a screen.
If you’re very sensitive to dropping movements, certain sections where the swooping gets more intense might cause stomach-flopping.
But overall, I’d say you’re far less likely to get motion sick on Soarin’ than rides like Flight of Passage.
What’s the Best Age for Soarin’?
I’d say that the best age for Soarin’ is ANY AGE WHERE YOU’RE OVER 40 INCHES!
That’s right folks, this is a ride that I think is genuinely universal in its appeal and suits kiddos and adults of all ages.
There’s nothing here that’s particularly scary (at least traditionally!) and even toddlers enjoy the windswept feel of the ride.
The only thing that you need to consider is how younger children might respond to being swept up relatively high.
If they’re cool with it, you should be good to go.
How long is Soarin’?
Soarin’ lasts for approximately 5 minutes excluding the pre-flight briefing at the start of the ride.
How high does Soarin’ go?
Soarin’ lifts you between 30 and 50 feet depending on which row you’re riding in.
If you’re sensitive to heights, I recommend talking with a Cast Member and asking to be placed on the bottom row.
Is Soarin’ a rollercoaster?
Soarin’ isn’t a rollercoaster, but it’s a wonderful motion simulator that makes you feel as though you’re flying!
Are there any restrictions for riding Soarin’?
You’ll need to be at least 40 inches tall to ride Soarin’, but that’s really the only major restriction that might hold you back.
There you have it: the ultimate guide that should answer the question “Is Soarin’ scary?”.
If you have any further questions about Soarin’ or just want information about visiting EPCOT, feel free to get in touch! I’m always down to have a discussion about Disney World, so you’re welcome to drop me a line or a comment.
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Grace is the creator, editor, and sole writer for Pixie Dust and Passports – a blog that’s ALL about Disney! She’s made it her life’s mission to visit the Disney parks as much as possible and loves trying new snacks, grabbing the latest spirit jerseys, and rocking Loungefly bags. Oh, and she also holds a BA in History from UCL, which makes her a research and deep-dive enthusiast into all things Imagineering.