(Review and Photo Credit: Ember)
Soarin’ Over California is a very cool, very unique ride. More specifically, it’s not a ride— it’s somewhere between an open simulator, real flight, and not going anywhere at all!
The story is that you’re going on a hang-gliding trip over CA and the surrounding areas. After you’ve wound around inside the large building, gazed at the cool pictures and read some neat flight history, watched the humorous “pre-flight” instruction video, and the door has opened, you’re led into a vast room filled with six huge hanging rows of seats. Once everyone’s settled and buckled in, the lights dim, the music becomes more prominent, and then the rows move smoothly forward into the mist… but wait, what is this? If you calculate the movement, you’ll find that you only moved a few feet! The beauty of this ride is that you never actually go anywhere, yet the illusion of smooth, soaring, hang-gliding flight feels real.
There’s a gargantuan, circular, wrap-around screen in front of (and on the sides of) you; there’s beautiful, thrilling music playing; the rows of seats move gently but realistically; there’s wind blowing on you; and— what really gets me— there are the smells of what you’re seeing! I’m not kidding— as you zip past an orange grove, you’ll smell their citrus tang… soar over the pines and you’ll catch their sweet, outdoorsy fragrance… dip slowly down to the surf and you’ll experience the scent of the sea. It’s amazing.
In addition to being a really cool ride, Soarin’ is also a relaxing one. So, if you want to take a very nice break from all the adrenaline of the other rides and go on something truly unique, I would definitely recommend that you board Soarin’ Over California.