Soarin’ has long been one of the most popular rides at Epcot. Guests have flocked to take an imaginary hang glider ride over California. There were two problems with the ride. First, the film was only about California. Soarin’ came to Walt Disney World in 2005 as part of The Happiest Celebration on Earth, and the film was exactly the same as the original version from Disney California Adventure. It didn’t take long for the film to feel dated, and after a few years the quality of the film itself had seen better days. The second problem was the popularity of the ride. The line would grow long quickly, even on the most crowded days. Soarin’ has been updated, it’s now Soarin’ Around the World, and it is better than ever. You’ll fly over new locations, including the Matterhorn, the Great Wall of China, Iguazu Falls, and Epcot. There are plenty of new sights and scents to experience. Here are five things that you need to know about the updated version of this Walt Disney World fan favorite.
5. Updated Music…But Don’t Worry
The beautiful score for Soarin’ Over California was written by the late Jerry Goldsmith. (He’s known for composing the musical scores for five Star Trek films, Air Force One, The Mummy, Mulan, and much more.) The score for Soarin’ Around the World has been updated by composer Bruce Broughton, but the original Goldsmith themes are still used. Instruments from the various places traveled have been seamlessly woven into the score. The new music was performed by the London Studio Orchestra. The original score is insanely popular, and is available for sale from Disney. You can even order it as a ring tone. If you love the original, you should be pleased with the new version. Many fans have not even noticed the difference.
4. The Third Screen
Disney had hoped that adding a third screen to Soarin’ would cut down on the long standby lines. So far the lines have been as long as ever, but that might change once some of the newness wears off. The main problem with adding a section is that guests on the ends now really experience the curve of the IMAX screen. If you’re on the end, the Eiffel Tower looks a little more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s not that big a deal, especially if you’ll be able to experience the ride more than once. If you want the full non-curved experience, ask a Cast Member if you can sit in the middle section. You might have to wait longer, but the shape of the screen won’t be obvious.
3. Soarin’ Challenge
If the standby line is long and just keeps growing, don’t let that stop you from riding. Instead, pull out your smartphone and take part in the Soarin’ Challenge. It’s a new take on an interactive queue. Soarin’ Challenge is a travel trivia game where you’ll compete with hundreds of others who are also waiting in line. You could see your name on the leaderboard or unlock digital stamps. If you don’t have a smartphone or don’t want to use up your battery, you can still participate. Just use one of the in-queue displays.
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2. Tier One FastPass+
FastPass+ offers guests a chance to skip the standby line for three attractions, but at Epcot there’s a catch. The FastPass+ selections are in two tiers, you can make one choice from Tier One and two from Tier Two. Cruelly, Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After are all on Tier One, which means that you’ll have a tough decision to make. Remember that there is a single rider line for Test Track, so that might make your decision a little bit easier. The lines have been insane for both Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After, so you might want to grab a FastPass+ for whichever one you can and try to ride the other as soon as Epcot opens.
One of the main questions that people had when they heard that Soarin’ was getting a makeover was whether or not Chief Flight Attendant Patrick (actor Patrick Warburton) would still keep you safe. The answer is yes, Patrick is still the one who gives the safety announcement before boarding. This is the one part of the ride that hasn’t been updated, it’s the same movie as always. Many fans were upset before the debut of the refurbished ride because of a Twitter post made by Patrick Warburton where he “signed off”. Apparently he had no idea that his beloved character would be part of the new experience. Many guests were so excited that Patrick is still around that there were cheers the first day when his face appeared on the screen. Keeping around everyone’s favorite Chief Flight Attendant was a smart move for Disney, it’s a nice way to meld together the old ride and its incredible new incarnation.