Grizzly Peak expanded in 2015 and took over the former Condor Flats area. That area is now the Grizzly Peak Airfield. As part of this expansion the area was converted from a desert airfield to a more park like setting.
On June 15, 2016 the original Soarin' Over California film had its last flight and on June 17, 2016 the new Soarin' Around the World film premiered.
Notes from June 17, 2016 - My first flight on Soarin' Around the World on its opening day -
Soarin Around the World premiered at Disneyland & Epcot on Friday (and a day earlier in Shanghai).
- The new film takes you to 13 sights around the globe this time vs inside California. You visit the Matterhorn (in Switzerland), Greenland, Sydney, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Kilimanjaro in Africa, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids in Egypt, Taj Mahal in India, Monument Valley in Utah, Fiji, Iguazu Falls in South America, Eiffel Tower in Paris then end up at Disneyland (for Epcot & Shanghai you end up at that respective park/city).
- I noticed no changes to the queue and exterior except for a swapping out of the hanging sing that said Over California to Around the World. Everything else looks the same and the background music is unchanged. In the final boarding area the video that plays before the safety spiel has been modified to be a map of the world and shows where you will be flying. The safety video was the same as WDW has, meaning no Over California mentioned, but everything else the same as it always has been.
- The length of the attraction is about the same.
- The music is similar to the original but the styles change for the new destinations. I did not find it as strong as the original or having the "grand" moments.
- There are new smells in this version, in Africa you can smell the grass, in India the flowers and in Fiji the ocean.
- My first impressions - The clarity of the new film is impressive and the scenic locations are amazing. I felt they went to the computer graphics well too many times and they were not needed. You do not need to add graphics to every scene and in many cases they seemed to dominate and distract from the amazing sights. The locations themselves are visually stunning and in almost all cases did not need the "enhancements". I found the transitions to be annoying.. the CG elements flying in your facce, abrupt motion and sound verses a peaceful transition bothered me. I would have liked to have seen them show a little more restraint and pick/choose where to use the effects more.
- I thought it was an entertaining version of the attraction but I would really like to see them switch back to California at some point at Disney California Adventure. Ideally having two different destinations would be great but I think California fits better into the park here. Around the World works for Epcot. I am not sure on the Shanghai version since I have not been there... some day... it will be interesting to see what happens with Tokyo in the coming years.
The Geek's First Takes (2/3/01)
Over California: Definitely a not to be missed attraction.
This is was one of our favorite attractions from the day. It is extremely well
themed, cool technology is used to run it, and the experience
is unique. It combines almost everything Disney is great at. The
only thing missing is a tight story to propel you through the
experience. It is basically a relaxing and entergetic flight through
California. There was some dust on the projector
one time we went in and it looked like giant birds in the scene,
kind of distracting to me, but not devastating yet... time will
tell how this attraction ages... If you want to ride Soarin' get
a fastpass if you can to minimize your wait but be prepared to wait even with FastPass.
River Run:Another not to be missed attraction at DCA. I was
skeptical of this ride after riding Kali River Rapids at Animal
Kingdom. I just did not see how Disney was going to be able to
have a great rapid experience in such a small space. Boy was I
wrong. The attraction itself is incredibly themed as you walk
around the mountain. There are several props and other items in
the load/unload area that really add to the show. While on the
ride there is very little "extra theming" except the
mountain itself, but I do not see it needing any. If the concept
is to take you on a raft ride through the wilderness I think it
works (except for the couple points where you can look out into
the park and the areas beyond). When Disney says you will get
wet, they do not lie. You will get wet, to what extent though
depends on your luck. Two other really cool things we liked on
this attraction were the lockers and the spinning. There are lockers
available near the entrance to GRR that are free for 3 hours to
store your gear in. This way your cameras and other items stay
dry. Remember to get your items out, or else the fees are extremely
high after you free time, I forget how much. The second feature
that we found great was the spinning on the ride. You are almost
always spinning, and the final drop has an incredible spin effect
(you feel like a top...). One complaint with this region of the
park is the walkway by the entrance to the ride is way too small.
It was always congested and hard to walk through (during the day,
at night when the line was nonexistant for the attraction the
problem was gone).
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: This area turned out to
be one of the pleasant surprises of the day. We were envisioning
a fairly small children's play area. Instead it turned out to
be a fun place to visit for children of all sizes... We really
liked how there were no real maximum height requirements on the
attractions, so we were able to experience most of them. There
are min. for some of the areas though. The little details in this
area really made it for us. It was more than just a giant jungle
gym. There were some trails to walk around on(with "track
spotting guides", some exhibits to look at in the lookout
towers (maps of national parks, etc...) , and just a general sense
of fun to the whole area. The only complaint we have is from the
lookout towers you can easily see out of the park, which really
ruined the illusion, but the views were great.