You Won’t Believe What Classic EPCOT Ride is Returning

Disney EPCOT Monorail
Credit: Disney

When EPCOT opened in October of 1982, it was unlike anything else the world had seen.

EPCOT's Universe of Energy

Credit: Disney

The Early Days

Designed to capture the concept of a World’s Fair, the park had two sections. In the front was Future World, an area dedicated to showcasing and displaying technologies and sciences of the past, present, and future.

Related: TRIVIA: How Well Do You Know Spaceship Earth?

EPCOT's Spaceship Earth

Credit: D23

In the back of the park was the World Showcase, which initially contained nine pavilions, each featuring a different country.

Related: Russia in EPCOT’s World Showcase?

Ride Changes

The park has undergone many changes through the ’80s, ’90s, early 2000s, and today. We have seen many rides and attractions completely removed, such as the World of Motion, Horizons, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and The Wonders of Life Pavilion (which included Body Wars and Cranium Command).

Horizons ride

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

In addition, many other attractions have undergone major retheming and redesigns, including the transition of Maelstrom to Frozen Ever After, The Living Seas rethemed into The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Journey into Imagination turned into Journey into Your Imagination…and then Journey into Imagination with Figment.

Related: Everything You Need to Know Before Taking a Baby to EPCOT


Credit: Disney Tips

And, of course, there are classics like Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and The American Adventure audio-animatronic show.

But there’s another indoor venue that has an extraordinary history. A 60,000 square foot space inside The Land pavilion.


Credit: Disney

This area once housed Kitchen Kabaret and then the show Food Rocks! But today, it houses Soarin’.

Kitchen Kabaret was an audio-animatronic musical show that focused on food groups and nutrition. The 13-minute performance ran from the park opening until January 1994.

Kitchen Kabaret at EPCOT

Credit: D23

Food Rocks! was presented by Nestle and ran for ten years (1994-2004). It also featured audio-animatronic figures of various food items, educating viewers on health and nutrition. It was eventually replaced by the original Soarin’ ride.

Food Rocks show at EPCOT before replaced by original soarin' ride

Credit: D23

But even Soarin’ wasn’t free from updates. The original Soarin’ ride took guests on a flying experience. Based on the Disney California Adventure theme park attraction with the same name, it took guests through orange groves, mountain peaks, and golf courses and ended at Disneyland Park.

Related: Rides You Can Skip at Disney’s EPCOT

In 2016, both versions of the ride became Soarin’ Around the World. The new iteration of the attraction took guests to the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, Sydney Harbor, Taj Mahal, and many other famous landmarks and cities.

Original Soarin’ Ride Coming Back

Walt Disney World Resort has recently announced that the original version of Soarin’ (Soarin’ Over California) will be back at EPCOT starting today (September 22). This is part of the Disney100 celebration at EPCOT. It’s currently slated to stay running at EPCOT until the end of 2023. However, many guests hope the return of the ride’s original version will remain beyond that.

Soarin' ride sign at EPCOT

Credit: Disney Tips

It was a groundbreaking attraction with its unique ride vehicle when it first opened nearly 20 years ago. But nowadays, the ride holds more nostalgia for park guests than thrills or cutting-edge technology.

Disney California Adventure

Credit: Disney

However, any fans of the original ride at Disney California Adventure or EPCOT will have a unique opportunity for the next few months.

Related: How to “Fix” Disney’s Hollywood Studios

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)