Disney World Ride Will Not “Return to Normal,” Closed Indefinitely

in Walt Disney World

EPCOT's Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Unsplash - Robert Horvick

A popular Walt Disney World Resort attraction is not expected to return to “normal” anytime soon.

When planning your Disney park vacation, it’s important to take note of the closures and refurbishment calendars for attractions at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Though unexpected downtimes occasionally happen through the Disney World theme parks, most of the closures that you’ll see on a trip to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” have been announced beforehand.

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT framed from the arch in the Japan Pavilion in World Showcase. At EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Ed Aguila

The most notable closure at EPCOT has been that of Soarin’ Around the World. The popular attraction, which took over for Soarin’ Over California in 2016, was recently replaced by Soarin’ Over California for a limited time back in September of 2023 as part of the company’s 100-year anniversary. Though most offerings for Disney100 were discontinued at the end of 2023, Soarin’ Over California remains strong.

While many fans have hoped that Soarin’ Over California will become the “new normal” and Soarin’ Around The World will be retired, this is not the case. Though it remains closed indefinitely, Disney has shared that the attraction will return eventually.

“For a limited time, Soarin’ Around the World is unavailable. We welcome you to glide through the air on Soarin’ Over California,” Disney shares on its website.

Guests riding Soarin' Over California at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

Soarin’ Over California quickly became a favorite among visitors for its immersive experience, which simulated the sensation of hang-gliding over various iconic locations in California. Each rider is suspended in front of a massive, curved screen, providing a breathtaking panoramic view as they soar over stunning landscapes, from the majestic Redwood forests to the sun-kissed beaches of the Pacific coast. The sensation of flight was enhanced by synchronized movements and scents, such as the scent of pine forests or the salty sea breeze, further immersing riders in the experience.

For now, guests can continue to enjoy Soarin’ Over California at EPCOT. As far as the Disney World calendar is concerned, it continues to list Soarin’ Over California as available through its most up-to-date developments, which is mid-April.

Major closures at Walt Disney World Resort

Outside of this attraction, there are several other developments that Disney World guests should be aware of if they plan to visit in the near future. First, EPCOT has officially opened Dreamers Point and the World Celebration Neighborhood and Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana attraction
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith remains closed for refurbishments. The popular coaster attraction, which is located on Sunset Boulevard near Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, closed down last month for scheduled maintenance. It is planned to reopen in the summer, but no official date has been given.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kali River Rapids remains closed until March 16 for scheduled maintenance. In addition, an area of the Discovery Islands Trails near the Tree of Life has been closed off for the time being. It should also be noted that It’s Tough to be a Bug! is slated to close permanently to make way for a Zootopia-themed attraction, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle
Credit: Chris Dikos. Flickr

Finally, Magic Kingdom is currently looking at two significant closures. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure- slated to replace Splash Mountain- will open later this year but is still under construction. In addition, Country Bear Jamboree recently shut down to make way for an updated set. The new Country Bear show is set to open later this year. With both of these closures, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the only major attraction remaining in Frontierland.

What do you think of the change in EPCOT? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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