Monday, July 06, 2009

Soarin’ (yeah, I know, Over California)

Once we’ve posed for a few pictures, we move on under the Golden Gate bridge, into Sunshine Plaza.

I’ve seen pictures of the entire park, of course, and I’m enough of a Disney fanatic that I can locate this and any of the other ten Disney parks around the world using Google Earth or Google Maps, zooming into the satellite picture alone, without having roads marked or cities labeled. So naturally I’ve scoured every inch of this park from the aerial photographs.

But nothing can compare to being here, seeing all of the little touches Disney puts on everything. For instance, I’ve seen pictures of the giant sun sculpture dominating the plaza, but I never knew until now that the water in the fountain doesn’t continually flow in front of it, but rather crashes and spills over the edge in various places, irregularly, as if the water came from waves lapping a shoreline. It’s a creative touch.

Since we’re in this park for only one attraction, we won’t be going too much farther. Soarin’ Over California is right around the corner from the front entrance. We walk past some shops which look like railway cars and into the aviation-themed area of the park.

Soarin’ is showing a wait time of five minutes. Five minutes! Man, it’s great to get here at park opening, and on a Monday!

We make sure the ten of us are all together – it’s not always easy staying together with a group our size, especially when we walk at different paces and some tend to wander off and look at things that catch their eye – and in we go. We walk right in, without any queuing outdoors, and straight through the main indoor holding area, right to the CM who directs people to one side or the other. This is awesome!

We’re sent to the left, and only have a minute or so in this corridor before we’re sent to the preshow area. The ten of us are placed together in the center loading zone. I think this means we'll be on the middle row, as opposed to the top or the bottom.

The familiar preshow with Patrick Warburton plays, and then it’s time to enter. Okay, I was wrong, the boarding isn’t from the side like I thought, but from the back of the ride theater, so the middle boarding area loads into the center section of seats. The first row to load gets the top center, the second row gets the middle, and we get the lower center row. Cool.

We’re all loaded onto the ride in a very short time, and before we know it we’re swinging forward and being lifted into the air. And then, well, we’re soaring. Over California. (Hey, so that’s where the name comes from!)

What a spectacular sensation. I find that, even though I’m sitting, just the simple act of putting both arms straight out ahead of me gives me a very realistic “Superman” feeling. This whole ride is incredible. And over way too soon. We might have to find our way back here again sometime.

After we exit Soarin’, there’s a photo-op area across the way with Mater and Lightning from the movie Cars. Fun! A few of us pose for both the official photographer and our own cameras. And then it’s time to leave the park – one ride and we’re outta here!

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