At some point prior to 4 pm on May 3, 2012, Soarin’ closed indefinitely at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for what is being described as “urgent maintenance.” Guests have reported that two adults exited the attraction restraints before take off and Cast Members found them on the ‘ground’ of the attraction as the rest of the gliders ascended.
UPDATE: Soarin’ has reopened at Epcot as of 11 am on 5/4/2012. That was fast. Disney California Adventure has not yet opened for the day, but we expect it to open with the park.
Cal-OSHA is very stringent about safety standards in California, but obviously they don’t govern what happens in Florida (where the incident occurred), so we can only speculate that this is a voluntary closure on Disney’s part to evaluate the safety of the attraction. “Urgent maintenance” is unlikely here, unless Disney is using that to describe the installation of a new restraint system. It’s more likely the evaluation of policy.
“Indefinitely” could mean one hour or it could mean 2 months to install more reliable safety restraints. With Test Track already down at Epcot, we wouldn’t want to be working in Guest Relations at Epcot right now! If you’re visiting Epcot today, take the opportunity to visit Impressions de France in place of Soarin’. You don’t get the same sense of flight, but it’s a beautiful attraction. That’s all we’ve got. Hopefully Disney is able to get these attractions up on both coasts as soon as is pragmatic.
What do you think about the closure of Soarin’? Any speculation? Let us know in the comments!