By Jim Frye
Last week’s spectacular opening of Shanghai Disney Resort brought with it a brand-new Soaring Over the Horizon attraction, a state-of-the-art update to the popular Soarin’ Over California that first debuted at Disney California Adventure before making its way to Epcot in Orlando as simply Soarin’. Now, the all-new Soarin’ Around the World (as it is called in the States) has touched down in both California and Florida, complete with new enhanced, crystal-clear footage from locations from all over the world. And as a special nod to loyal Disney fans, the Imagineers layered some special “Easter eggs” into the new round-the-world flight as callbacks to previous Disney experiences. Guests to Epcot, Disney California Adventure, and Shanghai Disneyland are now able to experience this new update. See if you can pick these out:
The Matterhorn. At nearly 15,000 feet high, this spectacular mountain is one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe, straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy. It’s included in the new film not just because it’s an awe-inspiring sight, but also because of its connection to the Matterhorn attraction at Disneyland Park in California. (Be on the lookout for the Abominable Snowman!) The attraction draws inspiration from the 1959 Disney film Third Man on the Mountain, which featured the real-life landmark. After visiting the actual Matterhorn in Switzerland, Walt Disney (who vacationed in the country several times during his life) asked his Imagineers to build a replica at Disneyland.
The Great Wall of China. Measuring over 13,000 miles long, the Great Wall of China is a marvel of ancient engineering that has captured our imaginations for thousands of years. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the Wall is a must-see for any traveler to China. Visitors to the China pavilion at Epcot might feel a bit of déjà vu, though, because for the new Soarin’ attraction, Imagineers decided to shoot at the same location that was originally used for the 1982 Wonders of China Circle-Vision 360 film.
Germany. And finally, many an eagle-eyed guest will recognize Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle. The 19th-century Romanesque Revival Palace sits atop a hill in southwest Bavaria, Germany, welcoming more than 1.3 million visitors per year. Why is this place significant? Because it helped inspire the design of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.