Why Soaring: Fantastic Flight Proves DisneySea Is Losing Its Personality & Uniqueness

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Soaring Fantastic Flight Opening & DisneySea Identity

There is always a great debate in the Disney fan community. Is DisneySea the best theme park in the world or not? Many hardcore Disney fans argue that the original Disneyland is better, however I can see an argument both ways. Whether DisneySea sits on top or not, it contains Disney’s best theming and with Soaring Fantastic Flight opening its time for the park to shine once again.

DisneySea announced Soaring Fantastic Flight a couple of years ago and for some reason I was under the impression they were creating a completely unique version of the attraction. It recently opened and unfortunately what you will find is the same ride film with the exception of the last bits. The Eiffel Tower has been replaced by the Tokyo Tower and of course the film ends at DisneySea. (See POV video at the end.)

Soaring Fantastic Flight Opening
Mysterious Island is unique and one of Disney’s best lands.

Not Your California Soarin’

Okay, before you yell at me let me tell you what is different. Everything else. The Tokyo DisneySea version of Soaring Fantastic Flight makes the California and Florida versions of Soarin’ look like cheap knock-offs. Soaring has a highly highly detailed queue and a preshow that looks nothing short of amazing.  Even the ride vehicles are heavily themed compared to their naked counterparts. So what is this post about then?

To start let me say the Soarin’ group of rides is great and all and I am truly happy to see the ride finally get a proper theme and story. That certainly makes it better than the other versions, but the ride itself is the same. I really feel like Disney and the Oriental Land Company missed an opportunity to create something world class here. To take a chance like they did when they built DisneySea.

Soaring Fantastic Flight Opening
Is this New York or DisneySea?

A World Class Original

When DisneySea opened it was like nothing else in the world. I would still argue that is the case when it comes to theming, however their additions over the past several years have just been simple clones of attractions at other parks. For example they did the same “new story/same ride” thing with their Tower of Terror and a few years ago built a beautiful new area to house a clone of Midway Mania.

I get it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but that isn’t what makes DisneySea special. When you walk into that park and see the volcano off in the distance then notice the Mediterranean Harbor laid out before you it takes your breath away. It’s simply unlike anything else that exists. DisneySea’s star attraction invokes the same emotions as well. Journey to the Center of the Earth is easily a top Disney ride.

Soaring Fantastic Flight Opening
Tokyo DisneySea

Better Themed Copies Are Still Copies

Will people still show up in droves to ride Soaring Fantastic Flight? Will I still go there to ride it? The answer to both is yes, but as a Disney fan I can’t help but feel disappointed. I will say that DisneySea stayed true to its nature with the story, pre-show and queue, however the video itself is a letdown and suffers from the same lack of “magic” the other versions of the attraction have.

I have no issues with using the same ride system, but a unique film along with the story and queue could have really turned into something world class. I guess I should reserve full judgment until after I experience it for myself, but I do hope their upcoming expansion Magical Springs brings some unique storytelling in addition to what will no doubt be amazing theming. Soaring Fantastic Flight

There is nothing like the view you get when walking into Tokyo DisneySea. Truly spectacular.

Soaring Fantastic Flight Bottom Line

While I aim to share useful tips and information for all of the resorts (like yesterday’s Disneyland hotel guide), I also tend to geek out about Disney from time to time. It’s fun. Anyway, those are my thoughts on the Soaring Fantastic Flight opening after watching the POV and reading about the queue and story. It is yet another example of how Tokyo does theming right, but it’s basically the same ride beyond that without the Eiffel Tower distortion. 🙂

What do you think? Are better themed clones enough to make DisneySea special or do they need to apply that amazing theming to rides unique to Tokyo & DisneySea? Let me know below!

Shawn Coomerhttp://www.disneyhacks.com
I grew up an hour from Disneyland and spent most of my childhood at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. As I grew up my love of theme parks and Disney grew as did my love of travel. For the past 13 years I have circled the globe with my family for pennies on the dollar. I am an expert at travel hacking, saving money, family travel and of course Disney.

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