This morning, we will focus on a very interesting rumor that we briefly mentioned in one of our last Epcot photo-updates, which involves one of the park's most popular attractions: Soarin'. This family-friendly flight simulator originally opened at Disney's California Adventure back in 2001 and quickly became one of the park's most visited attractions. This prompted Walt Disney World to request an almost exact copy of this attraction for Epcot, which opened back in 2005.


While the ride continues to pull long lines throughout the year and is still one of the highet-rated attractions in the park, most fans were overjoyed when they heard that the ride was (finally) going to include aerial views of countries around the world, instead of just California. Indeed, just a few months ago, the Parks & Resort division of The Walt Disney Company announced that Soarin' would soon become Soarin' Around the World at Epcot and Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim.

Persistent rumors about this new version of the ride (coming from multiple, reliable sources) recently made their way to our office. Before talking about the details, we would like to remind all our Readers that the following information should still be classified as rumors because they have not been officially confirmed nor acknowledged by the Walt Disney World Resort. That said, we are always very selective when it comes to rumors; therefore, we are confident that the following will be confirmed soon.

According to the rumors, the Epcot version of Soarin' will close for an extensive refurbishment starting from January 2016. While we have not been able to confirm the actual length of the refurbishment, some sources told us that the attraction could remain closed for about six months to perform the following:
  • Change the configuration of the restrooms;
  • Modify the attraction's entrance;
  • Enhance the theme of the queue;
  • Connect the third theater to the other building;
  • Install new projectors used in the ride;
As you can see, there is plenty of work that will be done during the downtime, making the six-month closure rumor more likely to be true. Let's briefly discuss about every single one of these changes.

RESTROOM CONFIGURATION/EXPANSION
Many Guests visiting The Land pavilion might have noticed how the restrooms located next to Soarin' are constantly busy, sometimes even resulting in lines to access the women's restrooms. This prompted the park to install signs directing Guests to the restrooms located on the second floor of the building. That said, few people actually make the short walk upstairs to use the additional facilities.

For that reason, we have been told that a new restroom area is currently being built in the space formerly occupied by the stage of the old Kitchen Kabaret/Food Rocks attraction (in the past, we had incorrectly identified that particular space as being a possible future extension of Soarin's new queue).

When work will be completed (possibly in conjunction with the reopening of Soarin'), the male and female restrooms will be separated. One (probably the man's restrooms) will be moved to the new location, closest to Soarin', while the other one will remain in the same place while also being expanded.

ATTRACTION ENTRANCE CHANGES
The construction of the new restrooms might force the entrance of Soarin' to be moved a few feet. As a result, the Soarin' desk (which is now very similar to a regional Guest Relations) could be completely removed. This means that Guests wanting to check in for the Behind the Seeds Tour may soon need to visit a new location within the building. At this time, it is unclear what will be done in that regard.

THEMED QUEUE AREA
As we mentioned many months ago, a new, themed queue will soon come to Epcot (recent rumors we have read on other sites stated that work will also be done one the queue of Soarin' Over California at Disney California Adventure). While we have absolutely no information on how different the new queue will be, we have been told to expect a different theme. If rumors are true, gone will be the cold, bare walls with modern lights that currently welcome Guests to the concourse.

CONNECTING THE NEW THEATER
Part of the work that will be done during the refurbishment project includes connecting the new theater that is currently still under construction behind the existing building housing the other two theaters.

Plenty of work has been done on the new theater since our last update. According to one of our sources, the side of the building are now being enclosed, meaning that we are getting closer to the testing phase. Once all will be completed, the new theater will be connected via a new indoor walkway.

NEW PROJECTORS
While the Disney California Adventure version of the ride recently received new projectors, the Florida version still has the old projectors. These will be changed during the refurbishment, resulting in a crystal-clear view of the wonderful natural treasures found around our beautiful planet.

When the ride reopens, it is expected to still feature the California-themed short movie. Wouldn't it be nice to have Disney surprise us and change it to the new Soarin' Over the World version instead? Who knows.

That is all, for now. Once again, be sure to note that the information presented above is still being filed under the "rumors" category. The Walt Disney World Resort has not confirmed any of these changes, other than the fact that Soarin' Over the World will make its way to Epcot in 2016.

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