PHOTOS, VIDEO: Full Queue Walkthrough and POV Ride on Soaring Fantastic Flight at Tokyo DisneySea

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Tokyo DisneySea’s very own version of Soarin’ opened today (well, technically last night), located in the Mediterranean Harbor section of the park.

The 4th version of Soarin’ to open worldwide, “Soaring Fantastic Flight” is based on the popular attraction “Soarin’ Around the World”, except after having ridden it, it’s safe to say that you can pretty much close every other Soarin’. There’s just no comparison.

Of course, all of these photos were taken before the attraction’s grand opening. (They’re from our recent Summer 2019 Tokyo DisneySea Photo Report.) Here’s what it really looked like this morning:

The rain was coming down hard, but that didn’t stop Tokyo DisneySea guests from lining up to be among the first to experience the attraction.

 

By 9:10 AM, just ten minutes into the park’s opening, no FastPasses for the attraction were left.

The posted wait time was at 220 minutes by the time we got in line (quickly climbing to the above number), but at least that gave us plentiful time to take in the new surroundings and attraction facade:

The backstory behind the new attraction is that it takes guests into the Museum of Fantastic Flight, which is dedicated to the dreams of flying. The current exhibit on display honors Camellia Falco, a name we’ve seen in Disneyland’s Tropical Hideaway restaurant. Falco was an innovator and a member of S.E.A. the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. As guests take in the tour inside of the museum, they can see all of the adventures that Camellia has been on before boarding on her latest invention, a Rennaissance-era flying vehicle known as a Dream Flyer.

There is a lot of exterior queue, but fans blasting cool air (and warm when the weather dfools down) can be found throughout. Where are they? Well, instead of being just attached to poles, Imagineering hid them jn the walls and various displays.

Of course there are themed garbage cans…

Murals of aviation visionaries adorn the lower outdoor queue area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests then enter the interior queue, the museum.

 

The first pre-show is something special. While hard to tell, there is a three-dimensional background behind Camelia Falco’s portrait once it comes to life. How they accomplished this is beyond me. It’s a real Disney “wow” moment.

While the attraction features mostly the same scenes from the “Around the World” attraction, There are some big changes to the on-ride portion. This version also boasts two new scenes, with Paris removed and replaced with scenes of Tokyo (featuring the Tokyo Tower), followed by a finale at Tokyo DisneySea. The Emmy-winning composer Bruce Broughton, who’s created the scores for other Disney attractions such as Soarin’, also created the score for Soaring Fantastic Flight.

You can experience a full walkthrough of the exterior, queue and, pre-show, as well as a POV ridethrough of the new film in the video below:

We thought the addition of the Tokyo Tower was a brilliant one, and the audience responded accordingly, with tremendous applause. Between the gorgeous queue and pre-show, to the added details of the ride vehicles, we believe Tokyo DisneySea has done it again, taking a staple attraction found at many Disney Parks around the world, and simply outdoing all those versions in terms of themeing and immersion.

It’s by far the best version of this ride that has ever been built, and one that addresses all of the other issues I have with Soarin’, which relies far too heavily on screens and unthemed, sometimes hideous queues in most of its iterations. Even the moderately-themed Soaring Over the Horizon in Shanghai Disneyland leaves a lot to be desired.

Soaring Fantastic Flight is Disney storytelling at its best, salvaging what is, immersion-wise, one of the weakest, yet most popular attractions they’ve ever built. The queue is brilliant, heavily detailed, and there’s tons to look at. The preshow gets audible gasps every time. There’s a whole scene behind the character, and it’s almost like it’s 3-D without the need for glasses. This is still the Soarin’ experience that everyone has come to love, except with a brilliantly themed loading area and themed ride vehicles. With the right amount of money and right amount of care, Tokyo DisneySea has successfully addressed most of the issues that plagued Soarin’. Yes, things still look crooked from the side seats…

Soaring is absolutely a worthy addition to what is already the greatest theme park that Disney has ever built, and a much-needed capacity addition to the park. The only real problem DisneySea truly has is its lack of attractions, and it desperately needs more rides to cut down wait times. Between this, and the upcoming Fantasy Springs expansion opening in 2022, the park should have the perfect lineup.

Simply put, they’ve made Soarin’ a DisneySea-quality attraction. The Oriental Land Company has once again put the theme parks around the world operated by The Walt Disney Company to shame.

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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David Rivera
Guest
David Rivera

I’m so excited to had read this. My wife and I are going to Tokyo next year and this is one ride I truly look forward to getting on.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Maybe I’m missing something, but other than the paintings in the queue and the nice pre-show video, seems pretty similar to every other Soarin’ I’ve been on. I get that those are nicer and contribute to an overall greater enjoyment of the ride, but at the end of the day, Soarin’ seems to be Soarin based on the video you posted. It’s like seeing a movie in a theater with a nicer lobby – the movie is still what you are there for, and isn’t better or worse depending on the lobby experience.

John M.
Guest
John M.

Overall, I agree, though I would say the pre-show is part of the ride experience and that does add a lot. The pre-show in TDS’s Tower of Terror definitely plusses the attraction significantly for me. I do think the additional scenes are great, but overall, the Soarin over the World film is just bad, IMO. The scenery looks like too CGI-ish and the transitions between scenes just don’t work for me.

TimPat McRaven
Member
TimPat McRaven

That’s like saying that seeing a film in the main auditorium at Grauman’s Chinese, the Egyptian, or The Theatre at the Ace Hotel (formerly the United Artists flagship in Los Angeles) is the same as seeing it at Regal Edwards Podunk West 128 & 1/2.

Jim
Guest
Jim

If the screen size and audio/video quality is the same, then the experience would be similar at a flagship or at the Podunk ONCE you enter the theater and movie starts.

I’m actually a fan of preshows and theming. But the core part of this experience (massive screen, sense of flying) seems basically the same in all parks – unless the video quality or audio system is also significantly upgraded.

My point is more of a reaction to the bashing of the other Soarin’ atttactions across the world.

TimPat McRaven
Member
TimPat McRaven

That pre-show is amazing! She looks nothing like Patrick Warburton though…

DD808
Guest
DD808

Was the wait time really up to 350 minutes? Wow!

Louis
Guest
Louis

I visited Tokyo DisneySea last March and my best description is that it’s Disney on steroids. None of the other Disney Parks even come close. What I don’t understand is if Tokyo is using our Imagineers to create these attractions, why aren’t they allowed to do a better job here? Is it the expense or is it something else?

TimPat McRaven
Member
TimPat McRaven

While the overall pre-show content is certainly amazing… I can’t help thinking that the team at WDI is adding “inside jokes” for statesiders. Camellia Falco is obviously an amalgam for Carmella Soprano/Edie Falco. The intended Japanese audience is generally none the wiser.