A couple of weekends ago, I made a super quick trip over to Japan, with two main goals in mind. Number 1, to experience the last ever Red Bull Air Race (you can read about it here). And Number 2, to try check out Tokyo DisneySea’s brand new attraction, Soaring: Fantastic Flight.
Our morning began early, the original plan was to beat as much of the crowd as possible on this sunny Friday morning.
Our plan of attack
We jumped on the Disney Resort Liner from our hotel, making the early morning ride around to the entry plaza of Tokyo DisneySea. Knowing that the Japanese have no fear of waiting in queues, I figured that arriving at least 45 minutes early would be best for us.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a decent, yet not overwhelming crowd, who were, just like us, organising their game plan. Ours was pretty simple, get through the gates and jog up to the entrance of Soaring. We soon found out this was easier said than done.
After 45mins of wishing we had sunscreen, water and a little shade, the gates opened and it was game time. We briskly walked towards the ‘Museum of Fantastic Flight’, overtaking quite a few guests. What we were met with, was a line that was already around 60 minutes long.
With the original mission being a ride on Soaring, we jumped in line and started doing the math, trying to guess just how long we will be waiting. With a ride time of around 5 minutes, with a capacity of 174 split across two theatres, we figured we would be moving at decent pace. What unfolded was around 85mins of waiting in the hot Japanese sun. Fortunately, as we were in one of the most visually spectacular theme parks in the world, there was always something to catch your attention, leaving you in awe.
The picture above was a sight for sore eyes. We had finally made it to the start of the general queue. After surviving the extended/overflow queue, we walked our way through the internal courtyard of the Museum. What followed was some more waiting & shuffling, plus some incredible detail, and of course the humid Japanese weather.
Adventuring Inside Soaring Flight
After a while, and many switch backs, we could start to feel the air conditioning, flowing out of the internal queue. This grew stronger as we made an unexpected journey down a couple of flights of stairs. Once at the bottom, we made our way into the first of two internal rooms, the first is themed as the museum lobby. The walls are lined with artwork, artefacts and other impressive details.
From here we weaved our way into what has to be one of the most impressive sections of an attraction queue line I have ever had the privilege of standing around in. The scale of the final room was intense, overwhelming and one of the reasons why I love Walt Disney Imagineering so much.
The walls were draped with everything you would expect to find in a museum dedicated to the early days of the aviation industry. The roof was covered in stunning, hand painted murals depicting various flying machines. This museum feels very much like one that you would find in Italy, the realism is honestly out of this world.
The wait once we entered the building was only around 8-10 minutes. This had me torn, on one hand I was happy that we were moments away from jumping onto the attraction. But partly disappointed I wouldn’t have a chance to properly take in every inch of theming.
From here, we were sorted and guided into one of two pre-show rooms, this is where the real Disney magic was to begin.
What’s the pre-show & ride actually like?
Camellia Falco, an innovator of aviation, tells the story of her trials and tribulations whilst working with her many flying machines. Whilst the pre-show is presented in Japanese, making it almost impossible to follow along. I was still able to appreciate the magic of projection mapping and illusion that was used to show the story of ‘Fantastic Flight’.
After the lights come back on, a cast member begins to sort guests into the 3 concourses, and within these rooms, 3 separate rows. These indicate as to which gondola you will be riding on during your flight. A brief animated safety video is shown, before the moment we had been waiting for arrived. The doors of the loading room opened, giving us our first look at the “take off zone”.
From here, we were amazed by a “words cannot describe experience”. Soaring: Fantastic Flight aims to give the feeling of flight, and my god dose it succeed. I have previously ridden Soarin’, in Epcot. But this experience was a step above it’s Florida counterpart.
Throughout the experience, you fly over herds of elephants in Africa, to having a near miss with the apex of an Egyptian pyramid. You fly soar over the Taj Mahal, whilst smelling the rose water, before arriving in the spectacular Sydney Harbour. The experience is capped off with a night time fly over of the Mediterranean Harbour and Mount Prometheus.
Sadly after around 5 minutes of crisp projections, wind effects and various scents, your flight comes to an end. The impressive ride system glides back down to ground level, before you exit back out into the theme park (and the extreme heat).
Whilst the film itself is the same was what is currently shown in the other versions of this attraction in various Disney Parks. The rest of the experience from start to finish is unique and in a league of it’s own. Soaring: Fantastic Flight is an awesome new addition to an already incredible theme park destination.
Overall, I feel my time waiting inline for this ride, was time well spent.
Soaring: Fantastic Flight – Worth The Wait.
Tiny Bit Extra
Click Here if you would like to check out the rest of the album from this trip to Tokyo DisneySea. Including more shots of Soaring!
I also went full nerd, and created a playlist of all the background music featured in the queue.
I had a lot of time on my hands alright!