Soarin' Expansion and new Soarin' Around the World film

Ryan H. Serowinski

Well-Known Member
Got to ride this finally tonight. I must say I was let down. I agree with the post a few above. Way way too much CGI. Does anyone have a definitive list of what was CGI? Most of the time I felt like I was watching a video game.. And not live footage.

Some moments that I thought fell in thus category. The arctic... Polar bears obviously, but the calving of the ice as well, made me wonder how much of the scenes were 'real'.
The great wall seemed fake at a certain point as well, maybe they jacked up the color saturation? The precision movements at the top of Kilimanjaro and even the Eiffel tower gave off a faked vibe as well. Obviously the taj mahal, the whale, the kites. Were the rowers CGI also?

I miss the original!
In my opinion, it's better than the original and heck, my mom loved it more than the original! ;) I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it.


Well-Known Member
It's always going to fit better than California, which should have kept the California version but updated that one. Heaven forbid one park has something the other doesn't. I really don't think the CGI is that bad or even noticable, would you have known it was CGI had it not been said it was here? I doubt it.

They finally put in a film that fits Epcot and that's a problem? LOL. But I know many were just used to the other version and it's fine to prefer it.


Well-Known Member
I really don't think the CGI is that bad or even noticable, would you have known it was CGI had it not been said it was here? I doubt it.
Yes. I work in a cgi-related industry so I pick that stuff up pretty quickly.. Especially if its extremely obvious.

I'd have to say that it reminded me of when Six Flags Great Adventure changed their motion simulator ride from "The Right Stuff" (all live footage) to "escape from dino island" (1999 quality full CGI). The lack of non-live footage killed it for me.

Now CGI has come a long way, and the scenes in the new film look amazing. But to me, they're too amazing so that it looks fake, and if not all CGI, then enhanced. Its almost like they used live footage as reference for a CG version of those scenes. I know that can't be the case.. Certainly most of the scenes are fully live right? Still, I can't shake that "too perfect" look.
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Mike S

Well-Known Member
CGI heavy, the often discussed vertical distortion issues, the lack of actually Soarin’ like the original (some parts are almost Hoverin')...

Of course the projection quality is far far better.

It's good, but the original was better. IMHO.
The more I've ridden it the more I agree with this, especially Hoverin'. It fits better in Epcot but the old ride film was superior.

I never imagined I'd end up enjoying Frostrom more than this :eek:
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Well-Known Member
Of course the projection quality is far far better.

The projection quality is amazing. I wish I could have seen SOC with that tech!

One other thought I had after riding that I saw another site echo... Its almost as if they knew the Taj Mahal scene was CGI so they "stylized" up all the other scenes to make the Taj scene blend better. Man, I also can't get over how fake the pyramids looked too! Sigh.


Well-Known Member
DH and I recently rode Soarin' again at CA, and still agree that we like the original better for several reasons. The original was relaxing and gave more of a soaring sensation, with easy scene transitions. We found the new film's "in your face" transitions got old real fast, and I found myself closing my eyes for each one. Just annoying. We also like the seat movement in the first- seemed more real and fit the view. And, personal preference, I know, but we like scents in the first film better- missed the orange grove!

I'm not an expert at spotting CGI, but some of the scenes didn't look quite right to have been filmed live, and to be honest, I like Impressions de France better than the new Soarin' film.

We're hoping CA will eventually return to the original, since it fits the park so well. Meanwhile, Soarin' is no longer a must-do for us.

Coaster Lover

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
And, personal preference, I know, but we like scents in the first film better- missed the orange grove!

Have to agree! Each version of the ride only includes scents in maybe 3-4 of the scenes. In the first version, the three scents were very unique, very distinct, very scene appropriate, and very appealing (all scents that any "normal" person might buy for a candle). In the new version, having not read much on the scents in advance, I was almost surprised/taken aback at, what came across to me, as the smell of dirt in the Africa portion. I mean, of all of the scenes, they choose to highlight the smell of dirt (which I'm told I should believe is the smell of grass... but I dunno). On top of that, they choose two sweet scents for the other two scents which (in my opinion) are too olfactorily similar.
I mean, they had lots of other options... the smell of fresh baked bread for Paris, the smell of salty sea water Greenland, for the smell of beer/pretzels for Neuschwanstein Castle? (okay, maybe not that last one)


Well-Known Member
I've not found the scents to be as distinct in the new version. I've done the new ride several times, mostly don't recall smelling much. I smelled the dirt once, and another time a floral scent during the Taj Mahal scene.

Having read about "all the CGI" could someone specify what elements (aside from hot air balloons and ending fireworks) are actually CGI?


Well-Known Member
I think the original is better. They just needed to clean up the projection. My main dislike is the emphasis on tall, linear structures projected on a curved surface. This should be used as a case study in film schools on what not to do. The melting eiffel tower was pretty bad.


Well-Known Member
The entire taj mahal is CGI.

Citation needed. But pretty sure.
Also, I'm fairly certain, the polar bears, the whale, and calving ice on the glacier. The kites at the great wall, Elephants in Africa, the rowers in Fiji.

I also question the sailboats in Sydney, the camels/humans in Egypt, and the riverboats in Paris.

That's not to mention whatever they probably did to every scene to make it "hypereal". Almost like advanced cel shading.

None of these have been officially confirmed though.
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Premium Member
Visually the randomization could be done easily, but there would probably be no "transitions"; you just hard cut or fade to black between each segment. Musically, it would be a bit more challenging. Each segment would have to be composed as a mini stand-alone musical idea; they would all have to be in the same key and cadence at the end. It would be like composing a theme and set of variations; a "fixed" opening would establish the theme, the middle portion would be the random assemblage of "variations", and it would end with a fixed coda to bring the piece to its finale. The overall effect, however, would be like beads on a string vice a sweeping panorama. An interesting "trick" would be to have each segment end on the dominant or subdominant of the key, and then start each section on the tonic of to complete the cadence. This would Aurally cause each segment to naturally lead into the next. But of course this would have to be completely mapped out before the project was ever started...

I know this is 6 months later, but I hadn't caught up on this thread in quite some time... anyway, as a 23 year veteran high school music teacher with 12 years of teaching Advanced Placement Music Theory, this response makes me quite happy. Although, the weak nature of the Plagal cadence would make ending a scene on the subdominant and then starting the next on the tonic seem less of a natural lead - unless preceded by a Dominant to Tonic during the first scene, thus creating a cadential extension which is definitely something the average ear likes and would provide connection. And give just one transition a nice V-vi Deceptive cadence and this guy is putting Soarin' back up to the top of the list of must-do's. Just don't let Michael Giacchino write the score - he's the current darling of all things Disney and I feel like everything he does is way over the top and Soarin' definitely demands at least a little subtlety.

BTW, there is a Brian Balmages band piece titled Flight of the Griffin which gives me Soarin' flashbacks a couple times during the piece every time I use it with my students.


Well-Known Member
It is. The real Taj Mahal is a no fly zone so obviously they couldn't get real footage.
The original film included footage from Yosemite, which was also a no fly zone. Disney worked with NPS for months to get it approved; it was the first time they allowed a commercial helicopter in the park since the mid-1900's. I imagine it would be even easier to find a workable solution with modern drone technology
I will never understand why they included it if they couldn't film the real thing. There are plenty of other landmarks that could have been included.
I agree. Either work with the jurisdiction to get approval, or find another location. While the Taj Mahal is beautiful and iconic, it's not so special that they couldn't have found a suitable replacement elsewhere


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Premium Member
The Eiffel Tower distortion is disturbing. They could have kept it further in the distance to prevent that.

The only other part I did not like is the one section where over some mountains the camera looks left. The view should always be locked on forward.

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