The Music of Soarin’

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Soarin’ at Disney’s California Adventure

The original Soarin’ Over California debuted on the opening day of Disney’s California Adventure Feb 8, 2001. Soarin’ is a flight simulator attraction that employs an 80 foot concave 180 degree screen and lifts its viewers 40 feet into the air to view the movie.

The ride concept first came up in 1996 under the title “ultra flight”. The original concept was to have three separate loading levels but was ultimately too costly to execute so the imagineers came up with a single level loading system as it is today that then lefts the three levels up against the screen.

During the development of the attraction, the imagineers were looking for a composer to create the soundtrack and they invited legendary film composter Jerry Goldsmith to Glendale to see the mock up ride and video for soarin. Jerry Goldsmith is famous for having composed the soundtracks to Planet of the Apes, Chinatown, Poltergeist, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Disney’s Mulan.

When Goldsmith came down they found him crying. When the imagineers asked him what was wrong he said nothing was wrong but that he had two loves in his life: music and flying. Goldsmith loved the film and thought it was beautiful. He was quoted as saying, “I’d do anything to be part of this project. I’d even score the film for free.”

In the end Goldsmith was indeed paid for his work on the attraction.

But the on-ride soundtrack is not the only music we associate with Soarin’. We all know Disney loves to keep us entertained while in line for their attractions. The Soarin’ queue loop in Disney California Adventure is comprised of sweeping audio from military and patriotic film scores including audio from The American President, Dave, The Distinguished Gentleman, and MacArthur & Patton (which coincidentally was written by Jerry Goldsmith).

In 2005 as part of the Happiest Celebration on Earth. Disney brought the highly successful Soarin’ attraction to Walt Disney World’s Epcot where it sits in The Land pavilion in the Future World section of the park.

Coincidentally, Disney used another famous Jerry Goldsmith track as the theme song to some of the commercials promoting the Happiest Celebration on earth and that is the theme from  Rudy.

Soarin’s name in Florida dropped the “Over California” piece and was just titled simply Soarin’ even though the video was identical to that used in the California version using only sites in California. It was an immediate hit at EPCOT frequently building up wait times in excess of 2 hours.

One notable difference with the version at EPCOT is the queue music loop. It features a different set of scores from a much larger list of movies.

Jerry Goldsmith’s Soarin’ theme is extremely popular and highly recognizable among Disney fans. The theme from Soarin’ was released on pianist Tom Ameen’s Disney cover album Magical Moments 2.

On August 16th, 2015 the Disney Parks blog announced that a new version of Soarin’ titled Soarin’ Around The World would be debuting at Epcot and Disney California Adventure parks with EPCOT’s attraction also adding the added capacity of a third theater.

This was right around the time the announcement was made that a new version of Soarin’ would be added to plans for Shanghai Disneyland known as Soaring Over The Horizon. It was not originally intended to be a part of the plans for Shanghai but in 2014 Disney expanded its Shanghai park plans and Soarin was included in that.

People were very excited about the prospect of an update to Soarin’ and there had been speculation for some time that the new version would include landmarks from around the world. Some even speculated that each version of Soarin’ would be different like Star Tours is now. But if there was anything holding back people’s excitement for the new attraction it was the question of what would become of the soundtrack? Would it get replaced? Would it get adapted? Would it stay completely the same?

From the Disney Parks Blog:

“One of the most unforgettable aspects of Soarin’ Over California—the original vision of this attraction—was its dramatic musical score. And that time-honored tradition continues with Soarin’ Around the World, courtesy of composer Bruce Broughton who faithfully adapted the attraction’s themes and infused each note with all-new sounds, regional instruments and international influences.”

Unfortunately, Jerry Goldsmith passed away in 2004 so in order to update the soundtrack, Bruce Broughton had to take on the task of adapting Goldsmith’s score to the new attraction. Bruce Broughton is no stranger to Disney having written the soundtracks to Epcot’s 2008 version of Spaceship Earth, Ellen’s Energy Adventure in Epcot’s Universe of Energy pavilion, Golden Dreams at California Adventure, and Cinemagique from Disneyland Paris among many others as well as a huge library of movie soundtracks including those listed before.

The new version of Soarin’ with its new soundtrack debuted at the opening of Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2016 and in both of the American parks on the following day.

To hear the episode containing this SpectroTime segment visit EarzUP.

Soarin’ Queue Music Loop – Disney California Adventure Version:

  • The Distinguished Gentleman (Randy Edelman) – Girls of Many Nations in DC/Soft Rebellion/Reprise
  • The American President (Marc Shaiman) – Main Titles
  • Battle of the Atlantic Suite (Dave Roylance/Bob Galvin) – Evening Tide
  • Dave (James Newton Howard) – You’re On
  • Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (Edelman) – Victory at Ed Parker’s/Premier of the Big Boss
  • The American President (Shaiman) – End Titles
  • The Blue Max (Jerry Goldsmith) – Suite (from Goldsmith Conducts Goldsmith, remastered/rereleased by Silva Screen)
  • The Generals Suite (Goldsmith) (from Goldsmith Conducts Goldsmith, remastered/rereleased by Silva Screen)

Soarin’ Queue Music Loop – Epcot Version:

  • Explorers (Goldsmith) – Have a Nice Trip
  • The Right Stuff (Conti) – Yeager’s Triumph (from Varese Sarabande’s The Right Stuff / North And South rerecording)
  • Battlestar Galactica (Stu Phillips) – Theme
  • Air Force One (Goldsmith) – Free Flight/The Parachutes
  • Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (Cliff Eidelman) – The Broken Cloud
  • Contact (Alan Silvestri) – Awful Waste of Space
  • Medicine Man (Goldsmith) – The Trees
  • Rich and Famous (Delerue) – Suite (Varese Sarabande rerecording)
  • Steel Magnolias (Delerue) – Suite (Varese Sarabande rerecording)
  • The Rescuers Down Under (Bruce Broughton) – Cody’s Flight
  • The Boy Who Could Fly (Broughton) – End Title (from Telarc’s Fantastic Journey)
  • Consenting Adults (Michael Small) – Good Friends
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Lee Holdridge) – Dear Father (from Telarc’s Sailing)
  • Father of the Bride (Silvestri) – End Titles
  • Indecent Proposal (John Barry) – Suite
  • Apollo 13 (James Horner) – All Systems Go-The Launch
  • An American Tail (Horner) – Flying Away & End Credits
  • Always (Williams) – Among the Clouds
  • Apollo 13 (Horner) – Re-entry & Splashdown
  • Mr. Destiny (David Newman) – Mr. Destiny
  • Dave (James Newton Howard) – Main Titles
  • Always (Williams) – Dorinda Solo Flight
  • The Musketeer (David Arnold) – Main Title
  • Hook (Williams) – Prologue
  • Grand Canyon (James Newton Howard) – Theme (from Telarc’s Hollywood’s Greatest Hits Vol. II)
  • The Last Starfighter (Safan) – Main Title (from Telarc’s Fantastic Journey)
  • Field of Dreams (Horner) – End Credits
  • Contact (Silvestri) – End Credits
  • Arachnophobia (Trevor Jones) – End Title
  • Dave (James Newton Howard) – End Titles
  • Far and Away (Williams) – The Land Race
  • Explorers (Goldsmith) – End Title (from Telarc’s Fantastic Journey)
  • Emma (Rachel Portman) – End Title
  • The Rocketeer (Horner) – Rocketeer to the Rescue/End Title
  • The Great Whales (Holdridge) – Theme
  • Return to Neverland (Joel McNeely) – Flight Through Neverland
  • Medicine Man (Goldsmith) – The Trees
  • Bicentennial Man (Horner) – The Magic Spirit
  • Far and Away (Williams) – The Land Race
  • Band of Brothers (Michael Kamen) – Suite No. 1
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