On an afternoon break from the National Youth Event, I was able to utilize the annual pass that I love and adore...to sneak away to Epcot, because where else would I go?
All in all, I made the decision to head to Epcot largely because it would give me an extra chance to check out Soarin' Around the World, as I realized I could snag a Fastpass for it smack dab in the middle of my time off from the conference. So while everyone else was out for a day at the pool, I put on my mouse ears and headed home.
I suppose this would be the most ideal time to discuss what I thought of the new Soarin', because it'll come up eventually anyway. I can tell you that I liked it much more the first time I saw it than I did the second time, mostly because I paid much more attention to the animated portions of the film. If you didn't know that portions of animated, you probably wouldn't pick up on it, although I noticed immediately despite not knowing beforehand. Some of the scenes, while animated, are beautifully done. The arctic scene, for instance, is extremely realistic, but the Taj Mahal left me confused as to where I really was. I could tell that I was at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, but the pure animation of the elephants left me wishing for Orange Groves and Hang-Gliders.
And I think that's just it. If you never had a chance to experience Soarin' Over California, I'm sure you'd believe Soarin' Around the World is the most spectacular thing you've ever seen. I talked to more than a few people at the Youth Event that thought so. But for those of us that knew and loved the original Soarin', there seems to be a certain charm missing, and I believe it has everything to do with the realism.
It's completely acceptable that some locations, especially important historical and religious ones, may prohibit from flyovers that would capture the essence of the location. However, I know for a fact that there are some simply amazing views out there in the world, and while it's ideally amazing to fly over the Taj Mahal, I'd much father fly over a live-filmed location than be forced over an animated version that looks sort of like the initial rendering.
Otherwise, my only other beef was with the transitions, which almost reminded me of a fifth grade Powerpoint Presentation with too many animations. The constant transitioning between scenes felt obtrusive, and I definitely miss the clean scene cuts of the old version. A transition every once and a while (such as turning the Taj Mahal...no matter how much I disliked it...into a hot air balloon) is fine, great actually. But every scene gets a bit repetitive and, dare I say it, boring.
All in all, Soarin' Around the World could be a simple spectacular attraction. It is a spectacular attraction. But somewhere along the line, execution fell through a bit, which to me, seems to be a trend lately with new attractions. The soundtrack reminds me so much of the original and fits completely, bringing in the new theme while keeping the spirit of the original Soarin', and the ending scene just about made me cry, but honestly, it could have been so much better.
What are your thoughts on the new Soarin'? Let me know in the comments!
Have a magical day!