Soaring' at EPCOT has always been in my top five attractions on Walt Disney World property. It is always the first ride I prioritize a fast pass and I will wait in line if needed. I've experienced it many times and I still felt the thrill and emotion. When I heard that they were reimagining the the ride to go from being California scenes to incorporate locations from around the world I was pretty excited. I will admit I set the bar pretty high and was stoked to check it out.
Unfortunately, I’m just going to throw it out there. I’m not a fan of the new ride. Not only am I not a fan, the more time that has passed since experiencing it, the more I tend to dislike it and long for the original. We made it a point to experience the attraction twice because I wasn’t in love after the first go around and I wanted to give it a second chance.
I normally like (Frozen boat ride) or tolerate (Test Track) when changes/updates are made to the parks but I just can’t seem to get on board with this particular change. In the original iteration, they jumped from one scene to the next. For Soarin around the World, they use CGI effects to transition between the various scenes which come across as over the top and quite fake. Also as you flew through vast landscapes it seemed realistic and you could get lost in the moment. Now the reimagined version is just an abrupt tour of various world landmarks.
The scents also seemed a little lacking in the newer version. They used this feature twice in the new Soarin’, and only one really made sense (didn’t know the Taj Mahal smelled like jasmine) but I know they used it at least three times if not more in the original iteration and they were more memorable (lemons, pine, etc.).
Finally, the newer version lacks the wow/emotional moment. The original Soarin’ had a few powerful moments where it just left the guests in awe but the reimagined version is just one cut to the next. The only thing that really comes close is the waterfall scene. It also seems that the curved screen worked well with the wide open landscapes in the past, but with all the new scenes being structures they look oddly crooked (the eiffel tower for instance looks like an arc).
I had hopes that California Adventure would keep the original version given the content, but nope, they have also made the switch. Having said that, Soarin’ was always on my must do list when attending Epcot or California Adventure. Now, I wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes to ride it and will be saving my Fastpasses for other attractions.