Will LEGOLAND Florida’s Flying Theater Be Like Soarin’ At Epcot?

Theme Park University reader Steve writes in with a question about Legoland Florida’s upcoming expansion! Steve asks, “Long time fan of TPU and was wondering what is going on with The Lego Movie section being added to Legoland Florida. It looks to be similar to Soarin’ at Epcot and I remember you wrote about a similar ride in Canada a while back. Is there any connection to that ride system?”
Thanks for the great question, Steve! You are correct that LEGOLAND Florida is indeed opening its own flying theater (commonly known as a Soarin’ ride) in 2019. According to the press release from LEGOLAND:
The Lego Movie Masters of Flight: Catch a ride on Emmet’s Triple Decker Flying Couch in this flying theater attraction. The suspended ride with a full-dome virtual screen gives the sensation of flying alongside familiar faces from the movie. You’ll also meet Sweet Mayhem, a new character set to debut in the upcoming The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Legoland said it’ll be the first major park in the country that embeds a 180-degree turn in a ride.

Photo Courtesy FlyOver Canada

Indeed, we covered another flying theater concept several years ago here at Theme Park University called FlyOver Canada. Outside of the Disney parks, it was the first successful flying theater attraction in North America.  A standalone ride (not in a theme park) in Vancouver, FlyOver Canada was built by a different manufacturer than Disney for their version of a flying theater.

Brogent Technologies built what they call an I-Ride system that differs from Soarin’ in how it suspends riders above the ground and out into the theater. The major difference is riders load on three different levels and their ride vehicle is ultimately pushed out and “into” the screen ahead of them. This provides a different sensation for riders as the range of motion is different from behind versus from above like in the Disney Soarin’ rides.
However, what LEGOLAND Florida is getting for it’s flying theater attraction is not an I-Ride system from Brogent, but rather an M-Ride system. While the vehicle for this ride is similar to the I-Ride, the way it is loaded is slightly different because (as mentioned in the press release above), the M-ride system makes a 180 degree turn into the theater after it’s loaded. Check out the demo video below!

As a matter of fact, Steve this will be the first M-Ride system installed in a North American park. I’m personally looking forward to riding The Lego Movie Masters of Flight when it opens at LEGOLAND Florida in Spring 2019!
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