Today in Disney history in 2016, Soarin’ Around the World debuts at EPCOT and Disney California Adventure. 

While Soarin’ Around the World may be thought of as a longstanding fan-favorite at Disney World and Disneyland, it didn’t actually debut until 2016. On June 17th, 2016, fans flew to new heights for the first time as EPCOT and Disney California Adventure debuted Soarin’ Around the World for the first time. This debut updated a fan-favorite Soarin’ attraction with new sights that took guests all the way around the globe.

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Soarin’ Around the World Debuts

On June 16th, 2016, Soarin’ Over the Horizon opened at Shanghai Disneyland. The following day, the updated version of Soarin’ opened at both EPCOT in Disney World and Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort, called Soarin’ Over the World in both locations.

Soarin’ Over California

The original Soarin’ took guests over the sights of California, based on the popular Soarin’ Over California that had originally debuted at Disney California Adventure. This original version took guests on the same high-flying adventure. Still, in this version, they were able to go over popular sites of California like the Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, and Yosemite National Park. Soarin’ Around the World expanded the sightseeing expeditions to the entire world, including spots like The Great Wall of China, Sydney, and Arizona’s Monument Valley.

Soarin’ Over California was an opening day attraction at Disney California Adventure, with a version opening at the Land Pavilion in EPCOT in 2015, simply titled Soarin’. To this day, Disney California Adventure still brings back Soarin’ Over California for limited-time engagements, typically during festivals.

A Fan-Favorite Attraction

While the ride system stayed the same in the switch from Soarin’ Over California to the current iteration, the film changed significantly. When Soarin’ Over the World opened at EPCOT, it also brought the construction of a third theater location. Soarin’ Over the World takes guests to locations such as Matterhorn in Switzerland and Italy, Kilimanjaro Nation Park in Tanzania, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, as well as Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. In all iterations, guests are then transported back to whichever park they’re in.

In 2019, Tokyo DisneySea opened its own version of Soarin’, called Soaring: Fantastic Flight. The attraction has become a fan-favorite at all locations, bringing guests on an incredible journey around the world at record speed.

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Posts by Morgan Flaherty

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Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
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