I’m delighted to report that you can finally purchase official sheet music for “Soarin’ Over California”!
Legendary film composer Jerry Goldsmith was behind the stirring soundtrack to this wondrous ride at Disney’s California Adventure. When the attraction first opened in 2001, it swooped riders through a breathtaking and immersive tour of the state of California: the Golden Gate Bridge above the glorious blue of the San Francisco Bay, hot air balloons rising over Napa Valley, dramatic hang glides past Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, Malibu surfers basking on the waves of the Pacific Ocean at dusk. There were even occasional olfactory touches: the orange groves smelled like oranges! Your paddle down Redwood Creek was tinged with the scent of pine.
To use the parlance of 1970s Disneyland: this ride was an E-ticket experience, which in more modern times would translate to long lines and FastPasses. Back in 2016, the scope of “Soarin’” widened to showcase views of famous places around the world, and apparently the theme music was altered a bit as well. But it speaks to the magic of the original experience that in 2019, Disneyland Resort brought back the California version of the ride in order to draw people away from Galaxy’s Edge, their wildly popular, often overcrowded new Star Wars themed land.
I’ve longed for — and long searched for — a piano solo version of this score. I remember feeling a sunburst of hope when I found The Disney Theme Park Songbook, but (grumble, grumble) though that collection does contain a few pieces from the California Adventure park, the “Soarin’” music was not included. Now that oversight has, in a way, been remedied.
This is a robust arrangement that includes notation for each section of the ride (and the music), so expect plenty of key changes and a few chords that might stretch your hands a bit. No seat belts required at the piano bench, but this music does offer a chance to, you know, soar.