April 1, 2009

Ready for Take Off... Soarin over California

When the Disneyland park in Anaheim, CA, wanted to make itself a resort, the Imagineers were planning a park themed to California, called Disney's California Adventure. With a themed area towards the flight era of California, Condor Flats was made, with only one attraction but that attraction is a grand one. Soarin over California was made, a hit E-Ticket attraction that rivals the classics from Disneyland. An attraction that always has a long line and high wait times.
But before we talk about the attraction itself, lets start with the development like all Disney attractions begin. Soarin' Over California was first conceptualized in 1996 as "Ultra Flight," a name which can still be seen on the tower consoles of the California Adventure attraction. It was to feature an OMNIMAX screen with an inverted track allowing guests to fly over California's landmarks. The attraction would have three load levels and the system would operate on a horizontal cable, much like a dry cleaner's rack. This plan was abandoned, however, when it was determined that the construction and labor costs for that design would be prohibitive. It seemed that Soarin' wouldn't become a reality until Imagineer Mark Sumner developed a different idea for the ride vehicles, using an Erector set and string to create a working model. This design would allow Disney to efficiently load guests on one level instead of three, thus cutting construction and labor costs greatly.
The vehicle is lifted forward so that guests look into a large, concave movie screen onto which aerial views of California are projected. The scenes were shot with an IMAX HD frame rate - 48 frames per second, twice the conventional output for regular films. Since the vehicle is moved forward toward the center of the dome, guests can only see the images projected on the screen and experience the sensation of flight. The ride structure contains about one million pounds of steel, and 37 tons are lifted during each ride cycle

To enhance the illusion of flight, subtle vertical movements of the seats are synchronized to the film. Scents complementing the various scenes are injected into the air streams blowing on riders. In the Ventura orange field scene, for example, guests are treated to the scent of orange blossoms. The mountain scenes are accompanied by the aroma of evergreens. The Monterey and Malibu scenes have the scent of a sea breeze while the La Quinta and Anza-Borrego scene features the fragrance of sagebrush. Since Soarin over California has long lines that range form 30 minutes to 150 minutes on certain days the queue line is themed to the Condor Flats area with historic pilots. guests pass the Wings of Fame, an homage to significant aircraft in the history of aviation in California. Some of these include the P-51 Mustang, SR-71 Blackbird, and the Bell X-1. There is also a section dedicated to individuals such as Amelia Earhart, Jack Northrip, The Wright Brothers, and Chuck Yeager. Then you enter into the preshow area where you go through one of the three gates and are given your safety instructions by your instuctor, Patrick.

This one was long post (sorry) explaining the history of the attraction... Tomorrow we will bring you more pic and pins of Soarin over California.

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