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  • The Sorry State of Soarin'

    I read a lot of things about how people love Soarin' Over California. Indeed, the attraction, when it's in top form, is pretty darn amazing. However I feel like people dump too much praise upon something that maybe doesn't deserve it.

    I guess my point is, a guest's ride experience on Soarin' is sometimes not all it's cracked up to be. Here are a few talking points:

    1) The black or white ride experience.

    I can't think of any other Disneyland Resort Attraction that has this unique flaw. Depending on where you sit, your ride experience is either fantastic or (in my opinion) abysmal. If you're seated front row center, things look pretty good and the ride is a technological marvel and pretty immersive experience. If you are seated, oh I don't know, let's say third row far right (or left) you get the special feature of only seeing part of the screen, two (count them two) rows of dangling feet and spectacular view of the floor, walls as well as the top, bottom and sides of the screen.

    I guess my big issue is the attraction does not offer any sort of consistency. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. Other attractions never really offer bad experienes (Superstar Limo and Innoventions excluded ). Oh sure, you may not have the best seat in the house for It's Tough to be a Bug, but you don't have a bad time. In fact, changes in seating locations for any given attraction usually offer something new, something you may have missed the first time around. In contrast, seating changes on Soarin' don't yield anything but frustration.

    2) The complete lack of an immersive and entertaining queue.

    A winding outdoor standard issue serpentine, a unimaginative an boring interior queue as well as long wait times make for a grating experience. They put in this queue on the cheap for sure - and whatever sort of info/theme they do have on the walls is too far away to read due to Fast Pass.

    Basically the whole queue is awash with cheap stupidity. It tells no story, it's not immersive and the safety film is... well actually I sort of like the safety film so never-mind.

    3) The Ride is in desperate need of cleaning and refurbishment.

    The film is dirty, splotchy and occasionally out of focus. The screens have schmutz and junk all over the place. The handrails and walls have vandalism, peeling paint and chipped chunks of drywall. It's a pretty ugly experience these days and the devil's in the details.

    *****

    So in summary, I feel like the core ride experience CAN be really great, but it's not supported by any sort of story. The whole attraction could be wrapped up with a neat and and thrilling package (like Indiana Jones) from start to finish. Of course all of this begs the question: Will Epcot's version learn from any of these mistakes?

    I guess you can all go ahead and throw tomatoes now , but I just had to get that off of my chest. Everyone seems to lavish praise upon Soarin' (it really bugs me that it has no "g"), and I thought I'd offer a contrasting opinion.

    Commence tomato throwing on the count of three.

    One...

    Two...


    - fearsnda
    Last edited by fearsnda; 03-02-2005, 06:47 PM.
    ~ Tasty, yet morally ambiguous! ~

  • #2
    I agree, the attraction has potential but doesn't bring it out because of the cheap budget that was spent on creating the attraction. It seems like they were short on money and decided to pour most of the money into the ride iteself. They need to close it and redo the queue and do something about the quality of the film.

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    • #3
      "The Sorry State of Soarin'" That lousy state would be California.
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      With all this talk of "off the shelf" and "on the back-burner" it seems the only thing that DCA is really missing is the kitchen sink!

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      • #4
        I think the screen is really dusty. I can see a grid pattern in the snow...

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        • #5
          I have noticed that the film could use a good cleaning and I love the Patrick Warburton safty video.
          "He gets around you know he knows all the pretty girls." ~ Walt Disney

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Retlaw Yensid
            I have noticed that the film could use a good cleaning and I love the Patrick Warburton safty video.
            Yeah, it's about the only highlight I like in the queue. I still think they need a connective immersive story though. Right now it's sort of like they plunked down this simulator ride in the middle of theme park. It's not too far from waiting in line at the DMV. The Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, actually turns that concept on it's ear - if you have never been, they really went to great lengths to solve the problem of taking it from a ride to an "experience".
            Last edited by fearsnda; 03-03-2005, 07:37 AM.
            ~ Tasty, yet morally ambiguous! ~

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            • #7
              I personally love the ride, it's very neat, and true the side seats are not as good, i still enjoy the ride. But the queue! That is the most pointless, boring wait ever! The ride is about the differnt environments in claifornia...and the queue is aviation history! That did not have much thought put into it. But i still love the ride!

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              • #8
                I love Soarin' but I agree, it's needs some cleanup work. The Patrick Warburton video is pretty fun to watch, Retlaw.
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                • #9
                  Agree as well, but in the "missed opportunity" dept. The attraction has so much potential to take you into the vibe of California, but does opts for the typical Circlevision formula of many distant aireal shots that it makes the experience generic to almost anywhere USA. The edits are jump or smash cuts that abruptly take you elsewhere and have no magic transitition whatsoever. Why not fly thru the Golden Gate bridge, or the "O" in the Hollywood sign? Blow the tarps off of the street vendors of Venice beach or chase the Santa Cruz Boardwark's Coaster?
                  Where was the magic of Lombard Street or buzzing the Transamerica Tower, or racing through the redwoods? No ditching the spray of a Whale watch in this movie.. Dull dull dull.

                  It's ironic that the best scene in the whole thing is flying over the park next door..
                  "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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                  • #10
                    I HATE this ride and don't understand the appeal. Maybe it's because I'm a native Californian and I've seen all of this stuff before, but I just don't understand why it's so popular.

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                    • #11
                      Patrick Warburton trying to be a Flight Pilot when he actually is a Steward :lol:
                      1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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                      • #12
                        I rode Soarin for the first time in a long while at Cast Blast on Monday. I noticed all the dust, the visible grid on the screen, and the little UFOs that pop up and go away. I was really annoyed at the fact that theres no smooth transition between the scenes that move slowly and the scenes that move fast. Bust most importantly I just felt the ride was less special than it was back in 2001. The film hasn't changed at all and now 4 years later it's just getting old and boring.

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                        • #13
                          while i see your point... i think that perhaps you're confusing attributes of Disneyland attractions to DCA... To my knowledge, DCA doesn't really have entertaining queues. Think of everything from Screamin' to GRR, to TTBAB, MaliBOOMer, Sun Wheel, etc. There really isn't an interesting or immersive queue to be had. As for the ride quality being related to where you sit... all I can say is that Soarin' is kind of a show/attraction. If you were in the back left of the fantasyland theater for a showing of Snow White or the back left corner of the Hyperion for Aladdin, you might not be so hot-to-trot either. Just my $.02
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CaptainCM
                            while i see your point... i think that perhaps you're confusing attributes of Disneyland attractions to DCA... To my knowledge, DCA doesn't really have entertaining queues. Think of everything from Screamin' to GRR, to TTBAB, MaliBOOMer, Sun Wheel, etc. There really isn't an interesting or immersive queue to be had. As for the ride quality being related to where you sit... all I can say is that Soarin' is kind of a show/attraction. If you were in the back left of the fantasyland theater for a showing of Snow White or the back left corner of the Hyperion for Aladdin, you might not be so hot-to-trot either. Just my $.02
                            That's fairly true but I think the Muppets queue is fantastic.
                            Eglantine, Eglantine, oh how you shine!
                            I don't believe in giving animals ridiculous names. I call him Cosmic Creepers...
                            ...and if you've got no other choice, you know you can follow my voice...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MrLiver
                              I was really annoyed at the fact that theres no smooth transition between the scenes that move slowly and the scenes that move fast.
                              YESSS. This is one of my biggest issues with it, and I'm glad someone else notices. It just has choppy cuts when they could do smooth transitions easily by say, panning up to the sky and then editing it so it panned down to another region.

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                              • #16
                                Snorin' over an IMAX screen.
                                "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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                                • #17
                                  yeah, it's a hum-drum ride. Pretty much every ride that is essentially a movie doesn't have much repeatability, unless it's a fan-friggin-tastic movie. Or, happens to have an empty queue and a sexy CM.

                                  But speaking of queues... most of my favorite rides don't have the "immersive queue" going on. I think among the favorites, only ATIS had one. Subs, monorail, America Sings, small world, storybookland, skyway, potc, railroad, slim to no queue. With me, an immersive queue is like Jimmy crackin corn -- I don't care. But it does take ridiculously long to get on there, even on a slower day.
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                                  • #18
                                    I have a lot of issues with this "ride". There is no immersive quality at all; you always know no matter what that you are in a big concrete warehouse, there was no attempt at simulating that you actually leave the warehouse, you just look down and see the concrete floor and little blue lights and the illusion is gone. You get one of the side seats and again the illusion is gone because you see the side of the screen. I disagree this is a "show", do they attempt to make you feel like you are flying while you watch snow white? If its just a show, then why tilt the seats in time to the film? Its clear this is supposed to be a simulated actual flying experience, and it shouldnt matter where you sit, you should get the same (but slightly different) immersive experience.

                                    Yes transitions bug the holy heck out of me; really would it have been too hard to make cloud covers long enough to seem like you went from point A to point B without using a star trek transporter to do the job?

                                    Why in holy heck does the ending over Disneyland take place at CHRISTMAS no matter what time of the year you visit the resort???? Is this thing a time travel device as well???

                                    The que is the worst one I think I have ever seen for ANY attraction, heck even universal can beat this que to death.

                                    Thoughts on ways to fix this mess...
                                    Install a device that when the cars are off the ground, has another screen on the FLOOR that has projections as well, and expand the current forwards view screen to completely wrap around the sides of the cars so no one gets the "oh great I see the side of the screen now" problem. The bottom screen would push out in time to the cards lifting off, so that the intitial projection would look like a runway going by fast (or go back to the original hangglider idea and make it look like leaping off a cliff). How this would be done is to have the screen on a under carriage on rollers underneath the forwards viewing screen, when we are lifting off, the carriage rolls towards us as if its the runway (probably still dark and not projected on, with blue lights on the sides for runway lights) once the carriage is fully rolled out, and we have reached the end of the "runway" fog would pipe in covering the screen resembling clouds. Then with small fans the clouds would "part" and the bottom carriage projections would begin. For landing, pipe in more "clouds" as the screen rolls back under the front screen.

                                    For further immersion; cover over the forwards screen entirely with a fake hangar wall that looks like the opening is a ways off (its a still slide projection just in the opening part to simulate the outside sunlight), once strapped in, do a fake "taxiiing" out of the hangar onto the runway (the fake wall parts as the projection comes up, the cars have a jerky up and down motion like the plane is on wheels moving). Then you can get into the above sequence I just described. This way there is illusion throughout; you should never really know with absolute certaintly that there is a big screen in front of you it completely spoils any pretensions to illusion.

                                    The que itself should wind around some ACTUAL planes, which would be intersting to look at and give the idea you are really in a hangar.

                                    And because the ride cars themselves resemble nothing like a real airplane, and to add more "zing" to the story; have the moniters tell guests they are testing out a new type of flying machine that is more compact than a airplane and for possible use as future transit across the state.

                                    Oh yes, and have seperate seasonal projections of flying over disneyland at the end; if you are visiting in June its a summer projection, if you are visiting at christmas its a christmas projection.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by CaptainCM
                                      As for the ride quality being related to where you sit... all I can say is that Soarin' is kind of a show/attraction. If you were in the back left of the fantasyland theater for a showing of Snow White or the back left corner of the Hyperion for Aladdin, you might not be so hot-to-trot either.
                                      Someone else mentioned this, but Soarin' isn't a show it's an attraction. I just can't figure out why people tolerate waiting in line for an hour to look at the left side of an IMAX screen. To my way of thinking, sitting on the bottom left of Soarin' is like riding the Disneyland Railroad facing backwards.

                                      Originally posted by Cousin
                                      Why not fly thru the Golden Gate bridge, or the "O" in the Hollywood sign? Blow the tarps off of the street vendors of Venice beach or chase the Santa Cruz Boardwark's Coaster?
                                      Where was the magic of Lombard Street or buzzing the Transamerica Tower, or racing through the redwoods? No ditching the spray of a Whale watch in this movie.. Dull dull dull.

                                      It's ironic that the best scene in the whole thing is flying over the park next door..
                                      Wow these are great ideas, ones that had never occurred to me! You're a pretty creative armchair imagineer!

                                      Originally posted by MrLiver
                                      I rode Soarin for the first time in a long while at Cast Blast on Monday. I noticed all the dust, the visible grid on the screen, and the little UFOs that pop up and go away. I was really annoyed at the fact that theres no smooth transition between the scenes that move slowly and the scenes that move fast. Bust most importantly I just felt the ride was less special than it was back in 2001. The film hasn't changed at all and now 4 years later it's just getting old and boring.
                                      Ha! That's the same thing with me. I hadn't been on the contraption in a while, and I rode it on Monday night at Cast Blast - that's what started getting me all worked up, and hence this thread Speaking of Cast Blast, what were they thinking???

                                      -fearsnda
                                      ~ Tasty, yet morally ambiguous! ~

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                                      • #20
                                        I agree the queue is a bore, but I love this ride. Yes, there are better seats than others. I have ridden this ride enough times to sit in all the areas of the theater. I still enjoy the ride regardless.

                                        That said, the film does need to be duted/cleaned more often than it currently is. The dirt and grime build up on the screen is my biggest complaint about the attraction.
                                        WALT'S DISNEYLAND DEDICATION SPEECH! - To all who come to this happy place, welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth can savour the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will become a source of joy, and inspiration to all the world.

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