Disneyland is bringing back Soarin' Over California

May 23, 2019, 4:12 PM · The Disneyland Resort is bringing back the original version of Soarin' Over California for a limited-run engagement next month.

The show will run in place of the current Soarin' Around the World in Disney California Adventure's Grizzly Peak Airfield land from June 1-30.

Soarin' Over California was DCA's runaway hit when the otherwise-maligned park opened in 2001, leading Disney to bring the flying theater show to Epcot's Land pavilion in 2005 and launching a flying theater craze in the industry. For the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in June 2016, Disney premiered a new version, Soarin' Around the World, which replaced the original in Disney California Adventure and Epcot on the next day. The new version will open at Tokyo DisneySea as Soaring: Fantastic Flight this July.

But even since the new version opened, many fans have been wishing for the original to return, at least for a limited time in California. Now, Disney is granting that wish.

Why? Maybe it has something to do with a certain new attraction debuting across the esplanade in Disneyland on May 31. With the original Soarin' returning for 30 days, perhaps Disney is hoping that a more than a few fans might head over to California Adventure to see the show again, clearing some space in what ought to be a jam-packed Disneyland next month.

Replies (14)

May 23, 2019 at 6:57 PM

I wish they would bring back Soarin' Over California permanently. It's simply better than Soarin' Around the World. Yes, the scene transitions are a bit jarring - but not as annoying as the over-done CGI in the new version. Perhaps they could offer both versions, one in each theater.

May 23, 2019 at 5:45 PM

Gotta hand it to the Mouse. Give 'em what they want and move them out of Disneyland and over to DCA.
I'm looking forward to seeing the original film again, but mostly because I love that score.

May 23, 2019 at 7:32 PM

If they have two theatres - it would be fantastic if they offered two journeys.

I may stand corrected - but do both videos have the same exact movements, etc?

May 24, 2019 at 1:58 AM

OMG, I love the original so much! When I saw the new one, I will give them credit where its due, but I immediately longed for Soarin' Over California.

I definitely would like to see them permanently install the original in one of the theatres. It'd give people reason to get in line twice, similar to any number of attractions from Mission Space to Star Tours to the upcoming Hagrid ride at UOR.

Who said adding new attractions was the only way to provide new experiences?

May 24, 2019 at 3:48 AM

Hard to understand why this isnt permanent now that Soarin over the world is in most of the other Disney Resorts.

May 24, 2019 at 8:08 AM

Andrew, even if they don't have the same movements, it's clear that a switch over from one film to another is relatively easy, and Disney should consider having both films if they want to spread out the Star Wars crowds that are coming in.

May 24, 2019 at 9:07 AM

That is a brilliant idea about having both films play one per theatre. You "add" an extra attraction and people are happy for the nostalgia.

Over at Universal I envisioned this as well with Back to the Future and the Simpsons. Both rides I enjoy tremendously so it would be cool if one dome played a ride and the other the second ride. Anyway that isn't happening at Universal but perhaps Disney can pull it off at DCA.

May 24, 2019 at 10:34 AM

I like the idea of having one film in each theater, but I'd be interested in hearing from some operations experts on the site of how much of a headache that would be for Disney to implement.

One option could be for people to split and go right or left once you get to the end of that first hallway inside the show building. However, if a lot more people want one over the other, then they'd probably need to have two separate queues and separate FastPass distribution. There isn't a LOT of space to add additional outdoor queue space in the area, so maybe that's a reason this hasn't been done? I'm sure if they get positive feedback for the return of the California version, decision-makers will have a conversation.

May 24, 2019 at 1:55 PM

Ryan - It would be nearly impossible. You'd need to more or less open up two completely different queues and distinguish between the two shows with FastPass as well.
The casual guest might be OK with waiting in a single line to then be assigned one show or the other based on luck, but how many "casual" Disneyland fans do you know? LOL.
One option could be to show BOTH version back to back, but that would obviously cut ridership in essentially half - again, not a good option.
If I had my druthers, I'd like the original version to be shown at DCA full time. The park themed around the Golden State has less and less to do with California with each and every renovation. I agree the park is getting better each time new things are added, but unless they officially change the name from "California Adventure" I think an opportunity add more content that supports the purpose of the park, the better.

May 27, 2019 at 1:54 PM

I would think that to really enhance the ride experience, each Park location should have a unique show; California in DCA, an American east coast experience at EPCOT, a China film for Shanghai, and something themed to Japan and/or DisneySeas.
I loved the Circle-vision Theater and I remember the Wonders of China film which was running at the beginning of the day or the end of the day - it got changed around a couple of times - along with the USA film.
If they could do that quality film in the early years of Disneyland, then they should be able to do some every unique versions for each park. I know that would encourage me to go on the attraction at different parks, since it would not be the same old - same old.

May 27, 2019 at 4:46 PM

Glad to hear this. I was never much of a fan of California... Not bad, just not great But I really dislike the new version it is a little too clean... The fact that the original is a little jerky at the ones makes you believe it is aerial footage, where the new one feels too polished, too implausible and too unlikely. It doesn't celebrate an ecosystem is the same way.

Seeing an area of such visual contrast that is all contained in one area versus contrasts from all over the world? I mean oooh a desert and then a rain forest from different continents is (to me) less inspiring than the he same images from a small geographic area

May 27, 2019 at 4:46 PM

Glad to hear this. I was never much of a fan of California... Not bad, just not great But I really dislike the new version it is a little too clean... The fact that the original is a little jerky at the ones makes you believe it is aerial footage, where the new one feels too polished, too implausible and too unlikely. It doesn't celebrate an ecosystem is the same way.

Seeing an area of such visual contrast that is all contained in one area versus contrasts from all over the world? I mean oooh a desert and then a rain forest from different continents is (to me) less inspiring than the he same images from a small geographic area

May 28, 2019 at 9:57 AM

I'm kind of meh towards Soarin' Around the World, so welcome the temporary switch to the old movie - I would hope that it's being projected through the new digital systems to eliminate the dust, fibers, and scratches on the old film-based system. I also agree that this should be the standard film for the DCA version of the attraction, with an occasional switch to the newer version as opposed to the other way around. I'm a bit bummed that we'll just miss this throwback when we visit later in the summer - maybe the popularity will force Disney to extend this old version's run.

May 29, 2019 at 2:30 AM

It would be cool if it was permanently one movie in the morning / early afternoon and then the other late afternoon / evening

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