Some interesting Soarin news from Screamscape!
“General Park News - (5/7/12) I’ve heard a couple of interesting Soarin’ stories this weekend. For starters, I’m not sure of the reason, but I’m hearing it said that for some reason Soarin’ at Epcot is staying open for guests until about 10pm. This is a bit unusual, as I believe Soarin’ usually closed it’s line at 9pm nightly with the start of Illuminations. One rumored reason is that with Test Track now closed for the next several months, they may have quietly extended the hours to help get more guests on board. Again… this is not on an Extra Magic Hour night, nor just running the ride after 9pm which happens anyway, but this is leaving the queue open for up to an extra hour. Can anyone confirm this?
The other weird Soarin’ story involves the rides on both coasts, as both Soarin’ rides were apparently closed fairly early in the day on May 3rd and remained closed for the rest of the day. The inside word is that on one of the rides (not sure which just yet) a man and his daughter got on board, had their belts checked, and somehow just before take-off changed their minds about riding and both freed themselves from the ride. They at least had the good sense to get clear of the ride as it went into motion, and a CM spotted them immediately and E-Stopped the ride.
All the loading and safety systems and procedures were put under the microscope to determine not only what happened, but also how to prevent it from happening again. While the rides did reopen the following day, word is there are new belt checking procedures, security camera angles have been changed, more cameras are on the way, and unfortunately, the belt straps are going to be changed in the near future. From what is being said, the new version of the belts will feature a redesigned center strap (the one normally only used for small children) in which every single rider will now be required to use it. Look for the new straps to arrive in about a month or so on both coasts.”
————UPDATE—-Soarin at Epcot in Walt Disney World and Soarin Over California at Disney California Adventures have both reopened today!———-
According to multiple sites, on Thursday May 3rd at Soarin in Epcot 2 guests were found in the corner of one of the theaters after the seatbelt checks had taken place, watching the film as the ride was cycling through. The attraction was stopped and now Disney and OSHA are looking into how this happened. Meanwhile Soarin Over California at Disney California Adventure was also closed all day as a precaution until the cause of this is ironed out.
“On behalf of our entire flight crew, thanks for Soarin over California!”
Remember way back when I posted in the beginning of January a picture of the Soarin sign missing? Miceage finally figured out what happened!
And yes, the sign will be replaced on the Soarin’ building, but that’s not part of Project Sparkle. That sign was taken down after a hostess working at Soarin’ arrived one recent morning to open the ride and just happened to notice that the big sign looked slightly out of alignment. There had been strong Santa Ana winds that morning, and after 11 years the framing of the sign gave way and the plastic panel had popped out of its frame. The hostess told her Lead, who quickly alerted Facilities, and they had to bring in large man lifts just after the park opened to pry the sign off the building quickly. That sharp eye of the Soarin’ hostess probably prevented a larger accident from happening. A new signage panel with a sturdier frame is being created and will be installed soon.