When the attraction first opened, the attraction's queue leading to the staging area seemed to offer less entertainment than any other attraction within the WDW Resort. The PFTP staff can personally attest there were times we would have gone completely nuts while waiting in this queue if it hadn't have been for My Pal Mickey's litany of bad jokes, multiple re-readings of our Passporter, or some other method to distract us.
In 2007, the Imagineers and PlayMotion revealed a new way to entertain guests in line for Soarin': the Living Landscapes PlayZone. This queue entertainment features five 11ft. by 25ft. projection screens and utilizes IR technology to translate body motion into action on screen. Now, instead of fumbling to make conversation with other guests in line, visitors can experience a cooperative, interactive series of motion games while waiting. Check out PlayMotion's promotional video site for a glimpse of the screens in action.
In addition to the 5 minute games, the screens show a series of 'Living Landscapes'. The CM at the second checkpoint controls the game portion of the queue (the first checkpoint being at the stand-by entrance), and depending upon how long your wait is you'll see a combination of landscapes and games.
The landscapes evoke the the style of Eyvind Earle and are accompanied by a very nice score. Here's a selection of those landscapes.
If you checked out the video link above, you might think there's an application for this all over the Walt Disney World Resort and you're on the right track: the same concept is now in use in the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain attraction.
Long story short, if you must go stand-by, there's at least something to keep your attention from waning and your brain from fading at Soarin'.
These photographs were taken by the author in May, 2010.
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