Soarin’ Over California

People ask me a lot if I’m going to do Disney’s California Adventure for My Year With The Mouse, and I say no because there’s tons of stuff to do in Disneyland alone to keep me occupied for a year. But I do occasionally go over to California Adventure to hit a few rides, and on my Mom’s Night Out we went on Soarin’ Over California, so I’m going to blog about it.

Also, I just learned via the Standard Research Methodology that the actual name of the park has changed to Disney California Adventure Park. Which, quite frankly, is kind of lame. D-CAP? That sounds like some kind of nutritional supplement. What was wrong with Disney’s California Adventure? Well, a lot was wrong with Disney’s California Adventure, but that’s a whole other blog or something. Anyway, for the purposes of THIS blog, I’m going to call it the Mouse-Next-Door (MND).

The MND has a small handful of cool rides, and Soarin’ Over California is one of them. Now let me just get a personal pet peeve out of the way. The Mouse-in-law also has Soarin’ Over California in Epcot, but they just call it “Soarin’.” For some reason, this makes me irrationally irritated. It’s Soarin’ Over California because the film is you flying in the air over California. The ride at Epcot is exactly the same. That is, in Epcot, you are still Soarin’ over California.

Every time someone says Soarin’ without the California part, small blood vessels explode in my brain that, over the long term, might cause some real problems for me. Yes, I know that’s actually the name of the ride in Florida, but I can’t help it.

Let’s just get on with the post, shall we?

Okay, Soarin’ Over California was the first ride the mom friends decided to do after our dinner.

Notice the part where it says "Over California" underneath "Soarin'." I know it's tiny, but it's there. Trust me.

Soarin’ Over California is basically a ride where you sit on a seat and are dangled in the air, and then they show a movie on a hugely ginormous screen of various place in California from the air and your seat moves around like you’re actually flying over the Golden Gate Bridge or Yosemite or whatever.

First, you queue up outside and zig-zag for a while. This is also where we met Janine and Brianne.

It started to drizzle a little

Once you get inside, it’s pretty cool. The building is supposed to be like a big airplane hanger, and they give you lots of interesting things to look at.

The first time I saw this sign I thought it said "Wings of Flame" and I was like oh, famous plane crashes? Tacky.

There are banners with seminal moments in aviation as well as pictures lining the walls.

That wacky Kristin models the interior design

As an aside, I took the following picture because there was an adult in the line with a full face-paint job. Face painting is popular and expensive, and very very rare on an adult. I tried to hide the fact that I was trying to get a picture of the face paint guy by pretending to take a picture of my friends. Sadly, my aim wasn’t all that great and I just ended up with a picture of my friends.

Lesson learned--when you're trying to take a picture of someone, make sure they're actually in the picture

Kristin nearly got us kicked out by flashing a gang sign.

I'm kidding

At the end of the Wings of Flame part, you get funneled into either Concourse 1 or Concourse 2. The flashing sign cycles through the various airports in California.

I've actually flown out of the Palm Springs airport before. It's quite nice.

We were on Concourse 1. Shhhhhhhh–it’s the same ride either way.

You zig zag for a while more and then you are cleared for takeoff

Once again, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out the "Over California" part under "Soarin'"

You go inside the big giant room with the pretty blue screen

The cast member is here in case you get lost

You then sit down in your designated row


There’s a simple seatbelt to keep you in your seat. There’s also a loop between your legs and if you’re under a certain height, you thread the seatbelt through the loop. This confused some of us.

There we go--group picture!

I laughed as I realized that, being a big group of moms, we were all leaning over and checking to make sure everyone else’s seatbelts were on properly. You can leave the kids at home, but you’re still going to feel horribly guilty if someone falls off the ride because you didn’t double-check their seatbelt.

Just sayin’.

Once everyone is belted in, the ride lifts up so that every row is equally facing the screen and you feel like there’s nobody else around you (except for the people whose seatbelt you just checked).

The screen looks like this, but it's much, much bigger

The movie itself is super cool. There are fun effects like when you’re flying over an orange grove, there’s an orange scent, and your seat gently tilts when you’re turning. Your flight ends over Disneyland at night during the holiday season with the fireworks.

And make no mistake–no matter how hard they tried to take the California out of Soarin’ in Florida, you’re still Soarin’ Over California.

6 responses to “Soarin’ Over California

  1. Lyn Miller-Lachmann March 29, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I thought that maybe one day at Disney World they’ll have a Soarin’ Over Florida. Woo. Hoo.

  2. BruinKristin March 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I might add that Soarin’ OVER CALIFORNIA after two glasses of Chianti (or your drink of choice) is a whole other exprience that I would recommend! SUI??? And jeeze, seriously what is up with your friend Kristin?!
    Thanks again for all the great info : )

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