I got engaged to my now-husband on the original Soarin’. Yes, during the ride. Up in the air. Hang-gliding over the CA seaside. Therefore, Soarin’ Around the World will never quite measure up.
First things first, I love that they added a third queue. This drastically reduces the wait times, so that you can spend your FastPass on Frozen instead, and just wait on the stand-by at Soarin’. When my husband and I rode, we waited 45 minutes in the stand-by line- which is almost unheard of on a busy day at Epcot.
The queue had a few interactive portions when we rode- they have long done away with the bird game, where the whole line had to help the bird “fly” through various landscape using arm movements. During our time, they had a quiz of sorts going with fun worldly facts (of which I had no answers), but there is no way to tell if that will remain or not.
We got ushered to the newest queue, which definitely looks newer and has nice carpeting. The paint on the walls even smells new. Once you reach the boarding area, you get to view a monitor which shows you a map with the destinations you’re about to see. Luckily, the intro video with Patrick is still there, which everyone knows and loves.
The difference begins when the film starts. The transitions to your new destinations are easier on the eyes, and the film looks a lot cleaner and smoother. I do miss the scent of the orange grooves, but they do pump in scents of jasmine and grass which, while not quite the same, do make the experience more immersive. The music, for the most part, has stayed the same as well, except for a few different melodies thrown in depending on what scene you’re flying over (for instance, over the Great Wall of China, you can hear the sound of Chinese flutes).
Our first experience on this iteration of Soarin’ was a little muddled- during our otherwise peaceful ride, a voice over the loudspeaker came on, interrupting the film audio, and a cast member scolded someone for taking flash photography or video (can’t remember which). So please, folks, follow the rules- you don’t want to ruin the experience for others.
Also, the film does seem to lean to one side- a lot. This is obvious especially during the part where you fly over the Eiffel Tower at night, and especially if you’re sitting on the right-hand side of the theater (as we were). Disney has actually acknowledged this due to guest complaints and has vowed to fix it- however, they vowed to fix the Yeti on Expedition Everest too, but here we are years later, and the Yeti still sits stationary under a strobe light.
Long story short, I don’t dislike this new Soarin’- the video quality is a lot better and it’s fun to see new scenes. Plus, depending on what park you’re at, you get a different ending- at Epcot, fireworks burst behind Spaceship Earth. I’ll always long for the old video, but that’s only because it was a part of one of the happiest moments of my life. Maybe they’ll bring that video back during special events, or limited-time engagements, but I doubt it.
- If you have to choose between getting a FastPass between this and Frozen Ever After, get one for Frozen and wait in this line.
- B1 is, in my opinion, the best row, and you can choose to wait for this section if you’d like- it’s the top row right in the middle, so no dangling feet above you.
- Please no photography or external video lighting! I feel like I have to ride this again, just so I can experience the attraction uninterrupted.
- SPOILER ALERT! The scene where you fly over the Taj Mahal is CGI- in reality, planes are not allowed to fly or video over this area.