June 2016 – present
Grizzly Peak – Soarin’ occupies the largest building in Grizzly Peak, so it’s hard to miss. If you turn into the forested land from Buena Vista Street, you’ll see the entrance on the right, just beyond the Smokejumper’s Grill.
Soarin’ Over California, the predecessor to Around The World, had been a fan favorite in California Adventure for over a decade. But the show never changed or updated throughout its run. That meant Disney had a decade to develop fresh scenes and more advanced visual tricks. By late 2015, Disney announced the Soarin’ in California Adventure and its sister in Epcot would be replaced by a new show. The new version would expand to worldwide travel rather than just California scenery. The California version closed in 2016, with the new version opening just days later.
- Single Rider Line – no
- Fast Pass – yes
- Height Requirement – 40″ (102 cm)
- Duration – 5:00
Riders begin their journey inside the flight hall, a makeshift museum celebrating achievements in aviation. Once inside, chief flight attendant Patrick Wharburton welcomes his new co-pilots aboard specialty flight vehicles. Riders then lift off the ground and taken on a fast-paced journey through some of the most beautiful locations in the world. The trip covers every continent but Antarctica:
- Matterhorn (Switzerland)
- Ice fjords (Greenland)
- Sydney Harbor (Australia)
- Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)
- Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
- Great Wall (China)
- Great Pyramids (Egypt)
- Taj Mahal (India)
- Monument Valley (USA)
- Lau Islands (Fiji)
- Iquazu Falls (Brazil)
- Eiffel Tower (France)
The flight ends with a magnificent fireworks display, above the castle in Disneyland. The show is fast-paced, dramatic, and a whirlwind. You might need to ride twice to catch everything!
MY RATING: ★★★☆☆
Soarin’ Around The World is both better and worse than its predecessor. The flight is much more of a smooth show in the world version; there are clear transitions from place to place rather than awkward cuts. You also get to see so many different beautiful places in the world, which is just amazing.
But overall, I think Soarin’ Around The World falls flat, for two main reasons. One: the show is just too fast. The scenes are less immersive, because you move through them so quickly you don’t have time to really absorb them. You can’t sit back, take in the smells, or feel the breeze, because you’re already in a new scene. Without that immersion, it felt more like a movie reel of famous places rather than a first-hand experience.
And second, if you aren’t sitting in the center vehicle, the show is completely warped. It’s entirely possible that was true in Soarin’ Over California, but without as many buildings, I never really noticed. But scenes like Monument Valley and the Eiffel Tower are completely ruined, because they’re bent at absurd angles. It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you’ve waited in a long line.
So overall, I do enjoy Soarin’ Around The World. But it has a lot of problems, and to be honest, Soarin’ Over California was just a better show.
This is one of the attractions that has a long line all day long. My suggestion is to get a fast pass, and then it doesn’t really matter what time of day you visit. But if you can’t get a fast pass (or don’t want one), visit Soarin’ in the evening, as late as possible. Crowds tend to fade out as the night wears on in California Adventure, and in the evening you avoid the brutal sun that comes with waiting outside during the day.
Composer Bruce Broughton updated the iconic Soarin’ score by Jerry Goldsmith for Soarin’ Around The World. The London Studio Orchestra recorded the new version in London’s Abbey Road Studios.
Shanghai’s version of the attraction is called “Soarin’ Over The Horizon”.
Soarin’ Around The World uses the IMAX Laser 4K projection system.
The new version of Soarin’ uses the exact same vehicles as Soarin’ Over California. Imagineers created a model for the Soarin’ Over California track using an “Erector Set”, a toy construction kit with metal frames.