The first version of popular Disney ride Soarin’ returns to Disney’s California Adventure for one month only. This falls right on time for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, offering something new (well, old) at the other Anaheim Disney theme park.
Soarin’ takes guests on a virtual hang gliding journey over familiar landscapes. The first version opened in California Adventure in 2001 and was dubbed Soarin’ Over California. With an opening narrated by Patrick Warburton, it featured iconic California locations.
The ride then opened in Disney World’s Epcot in 2005 with the same California theme (though the Florida version emphasized that the ride was a journey to California, rather than a journey around California). In 2016, both the California and Florida Soarin’ rides were retooled to become Soarin’ Around the World, which showcases global landmarks like the Taj Mahal and the Sydney harbor.
Disney’s Shanghai has a Soarin’ ride, but with different virtual experiences tying fictional plotlines to real-world locations. Another fiction-inspired Soarin’ is scheduled to open in Tokyo DisneySea this year.
Though it’s been phased out, the original Soarin’ Over California has a special place in the hearts of Disney park fans. The California version returns from June 1-30.