We’re headed to EPCOT for a look at one of the most popular attractions in all of Disney World. Which version of the attraction do you think is better?
Welcome To Volume 5 of The New vs Old Series
Disney World is in a never-ending state of improvement of its attractions, restaurants, and other experiences. That is, after all, part of Walt’s original vision. But do you miss the old version of something at Walt Disney World? We’re headed to EPCOT’s Future World for this edition’s comparisons! Do you agree with the choice for winner?
At the start of this series I worried that nostalgia would be too much of a factor in my decision making. My history bias is strong, but so far in Volumes 1 through 4 combined I chose the new attraction version half of the time.
In the inaugural edition we took a look at opening day attractions in Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Volume 2 took us on a wild (and sometimes dark) ride through Fantasyland. For Volume 3 we explored some of EPCOT’s World Showcase. Then, in Volume 4 I sided with a classic attraction that embodied the original EPCOT Center.
For Volume 5, we are staying in EPCOT’s Future World (I guess I can call it that for a little longer) in the Land Pavilion.
Soarin’ Vs Soarin’ Around The World
Soarin’ Over California was an opening day attraction at Disney’s California Adventure in 2001. The ride’s popularity prompted Disney to create a copy of the ride in EPCOT in Florida. In 2005 Soarin’ opened in the Land Pavilion replacing Food Rocks (that comparison is for a future article).
Soarin’ in EPCOT was an immediate hit and on most guests’ must-do lists. Fastpasses for the ride were difficult to obtain due to the ride’s popularity. Soarin’ used IMAX onscreen projection to give guests the sensation that they are “hang-gliding” through the Golden State at locations such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National Park. The ride culminated with a flythrough of fireworks in Disneyland Park.
The ride contsruction is an ingenious design by Imagineering that allows guests to board at three different levels and basically have the same experience. Soarin’ is a flight motion simulator with a mechanical lift system. Artificial scents and wind are used to simulate flight.
Soarin’ at EPCOT featured a preshow starring chief flight attendant Patrick (played by Patrick Warburton) for guests to view as they prepared to board their flight to California. The ride’s orchestral score was written by Jerry Goldsmith and quickly became one of Disney’s most popular theme park soundtracks.
Soarin’ Around The World
After closing for an extended refurbishment in 2016, Soarin’ reopened with a third theater to increase efficiency. In June of 2016 a new ride film debuted and the ride was officially name Soarin’ Around The World.
The new ride film features locations, landscapes, and landmarks across six continents of the world. Locations include The Great Wall of China, Kilamanjaro National Park, The Taj Mahal, and Great Pyramids of Egypt. For a detailed look at all of the amazing locations featured in Soarin’ Around The World, check out Susan’s article HERE.
The EPCOT version of the ride culminates in EPCOT above Spaceship Earth. Other versions in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Disneyland have slightly different films and finish in their respective parks.
Soarin’ Around The World has a new orchestral score composed by Bruce Broughton and is based on Goldsmith’s original. To many fans’ delight, Patrick returned for the the new preflight video.
Which Is Better?
The original Soarin’ was an immediate hit and an amazing creation by Imagineering. Improving a ride of that popularity would be a difficult task. The experience of hang gliding through the state of California made the ride a fan-favorite. Despite the original version setting the bar very high, Soarin’ Around the World wins this new vs. old matchup.
Soarin’ Around The World actually improved the video aspect of the ride. CGI enhancements allowed for better transitions through scenes. The one minor drawback of Soarin’ was the lack of transitions between scenes.
The CGI enhancements like the airplane, elephant spraying, or kite improve on the ride’s transitions and complement other transitions such as clouds to clouds in other scenes. This is a definite improvement in my opinion. Critics say it takes away from the “realness” of the ride. I disagree. I feel like it is definitely a better alternative to the lack of transitions in Soarin’. And let’s not forget Patrick Warburton is back!
One could argue that Soarin’ Around The World would be better placed in World Showcase instead of the Land Pavilion in Future World. I agree the ride’s perfect spot may be in World Showcase, but that wasn’t a feasible option to make this change.
The original Soarin’ only loosely fit into Future World in my opinion, but the natural beauty of California was a good fit in the Land Pavilion. Soarin’ Around The World fits the overall theme of EPCOT and is a good complement to World Showcase. In addition, with the EPCOT transformation, the Land Pavilion will be in the “World Nature” portion of the park. The natural beauty highlighted in Soarin’ Around The World certainly fits the World Nature theme.
One final note: some fans worried about the change of theme song for the new ride. I feel like the Soarin’ Around The World soundtrack is even better than the original. In my opinion the new score does a great job of bringing in new elements while highlighting the success of the original soundtrack.
Volume 6- Comparing Old Disney World Attractions And Their Replacements
In Volume 6 the plan is to get two matchups in. We’ll stay in EPCOT for a look at the Imagination Pavilion and then head to the Magic Kingdom for a “deep dive” look at a New Fantasyland ride that stands in the place where a classic Disney ride once was.
What would you have picked in Volume 5’s matchup? Do you also prefer Soarin’ Around The World? Are you looking forward to the comparisons coming up in Volume 6? Are there any parts of Disney World (attractions and other areas) that you would like compared for a future article matchup? Let us know in the comments and on Facebook!