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How Scary is Soarin’ Around The World At Disney World?

With versions of the ride at both Disney World and Disney’s California Adventure, Soarin’ Around the World is quickly becoming a Disney classic.

Built in 2005, Soarin’ was the perfect addition to Disney World’s EPCOT – this attraction brings the best of the World Showcase and World Nature together as riders fly over the Wonders of the World. 

Against the backdrop of an IMAX screen, guests gently soar over the majestic Swiss Alps, past polar bears in Greenland, and down the Great Wall of China (just to name a few) while they experience the scents that accompany the different landscapes. 

Soarin’ Around the World is a breathtaking, wholesome ride. Despite the large-scale special effects within the attraction, riders don’t have to worry about getting scared. While there may be some startling scenes, the overall experience and movement of Soarin’ are graceful and inspiring.

This article describes Soarin’ Around the World and what to expect while riding, including the special effects and any intense moments that may be frightening for younger guests.

What is Soarin’ Around the World?

The entrance sign of the Land Pavillion featuring Soarin' at EPCOT in Disney World.

Disney World’s Soarin’ Around the World is a slow ride with small drops in the World Nature section of EPCOT

This attraction takes riders around the world to visit our natural and human-made wonders. 

Visitors are guided through the Serengeti, past the Eiffel Tower, over mountains, and through cities. 

Soarin’ focuses on the majesty of nature and humankind, giving guests a glimpse into the beauty of our planet. 

What to Expect on Soarin’ Around the World?

Guests begin their global expedition in the ride’s queue, which is designed to look like an airport terminal. 

When it’s time to board their flight, passengers enter a vehicle made up of several long benches meant to simulate a hang-glider. 

Seats are equipped with safety belts and mesh pockets for loose items, and once passengers are safely on board, the vehicle will lift into the air, leaving legs dangling as it soars toward the IMAX screen in front.

Sweeping aerial shots are projected onto a curved 180-degree screen as the ride’s vehicle tilts, shifts, and rises to simulate hang-gliding over mountains and landscapes. 

Guests experience close calls with animals and nearly collide with landmarks as they glide through the air. 

Accompanying the scenes are gusts of wind and pleasant scents meant to engage the senses, and with the help of a beautifully uplifting score, the ride is an inspirational journey around the world.

Soarin’ lasts around 5 minutes, ending with a view of fireworks above EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth.

Is Soarin’ Around the World a Scary Ride?

A scared girl is covering her face with both hands.

Soarin’ is not a scary ride; however, its effects can be overwhelming. 

Riders are suspended in mid-air in a vehicle that simulates flying – this, combined with 4-D effects and a 180-degree IMAX screen, may increase the intensity of the experience for some guests.

The airborne nature of the attraction can be particularly triggering for those with a fear of heights, and there are moments of darkness at the beginning of the ride, which may be frightening for children.

Are There Any Scary Scenes in Soarin’ Around the World?

There are certain scenes within Soarin’ Around the World that can give guests a jump.

While the projected film is mostly computer animated, it’s very convincing, and visitors are meant to feel like they’re flying across the world. 

Some of the animal encounters have been described as intense. 

In one scene, a whale jumps out of the water unexpectedly. 

In another, the ride vehicle comes close to an eagle in flight. 

Neither scene is meant to scare, but the sudden action may frighten some riders. 

Other noteworthy scenes include a near-collision with a plane and the firework display in the finale.

Guests should remember that the ride is just a simulation and has mechanisms in place to keep them safe.

Are There Drops, Turns, or Roller Coaster-like Features on Soarin’ Around the World?

Close-up photo of green roller coaster tracks

Soarin’ Around the World is not a thrill ride and doesn’t feature a typical roller coaster track, so guests won’t experience drops or sudden turns as they might on other attractions.

The ride vehicle will sway side to side, tilt forward, and lift toward the screen in choreographed movements that match the projections and enhance the simulation. 

During more intense scenes, where riders have close calls with animals and airplanes, the vehicle will move out of the way. 

The combination of flight simulation and aerial scenes from higher elevations can be disorienting; however, this is the closest guests will come to feeling like they’re on a roller coaster.

Will Kids Enjoy Soarin’ Around the World?

Soarin’ Around the World is a joyful, adventurous ride, giving Disney parkgoers a chance to see parts of the world they may never be able to visit in person.

Disney Imagineers did not design this attraction to be scary by any means, and children often enjoy the sensation of flying around and exploring Earth. 

Parts of this 4-D flight simulation can be overwhelming for kids and trigger fears of heights and the dark – but the close encounters with elephants, cool breezes from the Swiss Alps, and the mist off of the Iguazu Falls allow children, tweens, and teens to appreciate our planet in new and exciting ways.  

For safety reasons, there is a height requirement of 40 in (102 cm) to ride, and it’s always best to speak with younger visitors before boarding any attractions to ensure they’re comfortable.


Soarin’ Around the World at EPCOT is an exciting journey through the many wonders of our world. 

This 4-D attraction simulates flying, lifting guests into the air to experience an IMAX film depicting famous landmarks, rare animals, and spectacular vistas. 

While the effects of the ride can be a bit intense for some, Soarin’ is not intentionally scary. 

Unlike thrill rides, Soarin’ does not feature sharp turns or drops, making it a perfect ride for those who don’t like roller coasters, and kids of all ages can enjoy the journey as long as they meet the minimum height requirement. 

That said, guests with fears of heights or darkness may find the ride uncomfortable, and it’s important to inform young riders of what to expect to ensure everyone gets the most out of the experience.