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  • Trip Report Behind the Soarin projection screen

    Uncertain if anyone has detailed this experience before and while I know I'm certainly not the first but thought I would try sharing.

    I was invited by a division of Disney to the Resort for a hosted experience which amongst other things, included a visit to both parks both "on" and "backstage". As we entered DCA, my host indicated they would be taking me to Soarin and I assumed this would be a fun escorted front of the line experience a la walking with a plaid. My host was not a plaid but fun none the less. We politely moved ahead of the queue and jumped right on and the ride was fun as usual... As the exit spiel was going, I began walking left to the exit as usual but my host stopped me and said "but wait...there's more!". I was pulled over to the control panel area and the two CMs working turned around and escorted us down a flight of stairs to the pit under and behind the projection screen.

    My hand was twitching as I wanted to reach for my phone to take and share photos with Micechat but I was threatened with the penalty of death if I did so.

    The pit is about another 10-15 lower than the ride floor and everything is blacked out down there. I was able to reach up and touch the screen surface from underneath and it appeared to be metallic and perforated with holes like a colander. The CM explained that if I did pull out my phone or any light source while the show was in motion, the guests would be able to see the light source. Also he indicated there is a mechanical cleaning system that wipes down the surface of the screen nightly to remove any unwanted materials that were intentionally or unintentionally placed by guests. He did warn me not to go too far forward under the screen into the "splash zone" while the show was in motion. Yuck. Yes code "V"s occur in here too.

    So I took a couple of steps back and the next set of guests were ready for take off. Room goes dark, projection begins and now I am able see through the perforations and see all 9 rows of guests. Seeing the cantilevered ride system moving the guests up and close the screen was amazing! Also, since I was an additional 10-15 beneath them, they appeared to be perched even higher than you imagine. The perspective was interesting as I was able to see the "wow" on the guests faces, the swinging of the legs as they went up and over the skiers on the mountain (we all do this right?) and smiles as they fly over the Christmas Parade and through the fireworks.

    While the tech and construction aspects were interesting, it was being able to have this unique perspective to see "others" experience was what I will remember most of all.

    The beginning and rest of my day included other very unique experiences as well and I'm dying to share, however while this was an official Disney sanctioned outing, I do not want my host feeling like their efforts were just for me to post a trip report as the whole day was for a professional purpose.
    Last edited by Skunkwerx; 07-29-2013, 10:50 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

    Sounds like a truly unique Disney experience. Thanks for sharing. Too bad you weren't able to take photos.
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    • #4
      Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

      What a rare experience! Sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing!

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      • #5
        Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

        Wow, I'm jelly!!!

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        • #6
          Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

          So that's how they check up on the guests to see if they are doing anything stupid.
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          • #7
            Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

            I have also taken quite a bit of unique backstage tours, including seeing the back end of the boulder room in Indy, and being on the opposite side of the Soarin' screen as well. The Soarin' experience is actually very cool. In a way it felt like Space Mountain, seeing the projected light come through the perforated screen. It's so cool to see the guests enjoy the show. Being down there makes the room feel A LOT bigger. I still remember noticing the source of the projection light way up high in the middle. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Skunkwerx.

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            • #8
              Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

              Amazing people can go back there and the guests can't even see it.

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              • #9
                Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                During my tour they showed how the smell-effects are done: your hang-glider has a round plastic tray with pizza-slice shaped quadrants in which there are colored crystals..green for pine, orange for the orange groves, blue for the ocean...they are artificially colored to help identify them when they're replaced. The crystals are HEAVILY scented. During the scene requiring the next smell, the tray rotates one pizza slice and the fans blow across it into our faces. They replace the entire tray about once a month, if I recall correctly.

                The only CGI portions of the film are the fireworks, the golf ball and the hang-glider in yosemite...again all by memory so I may have missed one or two.

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                • #10
                  Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                  I got to do the same thing exactly a year ago with a tour. Disney certainly has a way of making you feel like a VIP with their "higher-end" tours. )

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                  • #11
                    Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                    Most movie theater screens have holes in them. That's so the sound from the huge speakers located behind the screen can get reach the audience. I used to work in a movie theater and we would sometimes stand behind the screen and watch the audience through the holes. It was a strange experience because it looked like they were all looking right at us.

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                    • #12
                      Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                      Originally posted by vnormth View Post
                      They replace the entire tray about once a month, if I recall correctly.
                      Did they happen to mention when in the month they replace the trays? I want to catch it as close to a fresh batch as possible!

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                      • #13
                        Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                        So they do clean the screen? Strange, as it always seems dirty when I go. Perhaps bad timing.
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                        • #14
                          Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                          Yuck code V's. Glad nobody coded on you while you were behind the screen. I've witnessed a girl losing her stomach out the exit queue of Soarin and I about gagged.
                          Thats neato you got a behind the scenes peek though. I always wonder how those effects work and though I know the whole ride system is similar to an erector set, its still cool to watch it from the front view I'm sure!
                          Wow also about the scents! I just imagined there were several large aerosol cans above us that sprayed smells during certain scenes.


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                          • #15
                            Re: Behind the Soarin projection screen

                            Thanks for the fascinating trip report! Hope you feel the urge to share more little secrets as time goes by.

                            So the CM's get to see me tear up each time we fly over Disneyland, huh? I can't help it!

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