23-Year-Old Disney Ride Breaks Mid-Flight, Guests Dangle for an Hour

in Disneyland Resort

Guests on Soarin' Over California in black and white.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney Park guests were terrified late Thursday night when Soarin’ Over California broke down mid-flight. The guests dangled on the 23-year-old attraction for nearly an hour before Disney cast members rescued them.

*Editor’s Note: Soarin Over California’ isn’t currently playing at Disney California Adventure Park. The ride is presently showing Soarin’ Around the World.

Soarin’ Over California opened alongside Disney California Adventure Park on February 8, 2001. As outdated as it may seem now, the flight through the wonders of The Golden State utilized best-in-class technology for its time. Its success inspired Walt Disney Imagineers to create Soarin’ Around The World in The Land Pavilion at EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort. They later used the same technology for Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

flight of passage seats
Credit: Inside the Magic

Despite its age, there’s irreplicable magic in walking down the “jetway” and hearing Patrick Warburton’s safety spiel. Seat belts buckle from left to right, and make sure to secure your Mickey Mouse ears and other “little beauties.”

Unfortunately, Warburton doesn’t tell passengers what to do if Soarin’ Over California suddenly stops mid-flight. Disney parks fan and Redditor u/Shoddy-Spell4999 posted online shortly after the attraction malfunctioned, leaving dozens of guests suspended in the air.

“I’m didn’t think it could happen but here we are,” they wrote. “It’s been 15 [minutes]…In air!!”

Soarin' Over California entrance sign at Disney California Adventure Park
Credit: Disney

It took precisely 53 minutes for Grizzly Peak cast members to rescue the dangling guests. The Disney parks fan was part of the first group of evacuees because of their position in the ride vehicle.

“Thankfully we were on the back row,” they explained.

Disney cast members offered compensation, albeit useless, for the inconvenience.

Guests riding Soarin' Over California at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

“They gave us a Lighting Lane good for three rides but they’re limited and don’t include premium rides,” the Disney Park guest explained. “And it was only good [until] 10:00 p.m. It was 9:07 p.m. when we got down. Lol.”

No injuries were reported during the Soarin’ Over California evacuation. Despite Thursday evening’s nightmare, the attraction operated normally on Friday, May 3.

Stay seated, and don’t adjust your safety restraints if a Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park ride stops suddenly. In most cases, Disney Parks attractions restart within minutes. If an evacuation is necessary, follow all Disney cast members’ instructions and don’t exit the ride vehicle until explicitly instructed to do so.

In the comments, share your most tumultuous experience on a Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort ride with Inside the Magic. Were you compensated for your time? 

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