I'm not an expert on this film, but I was nervous when they said they were "updating" it. After all, it was one of the few 1982 originals.
From what I can tell, the film is entirely new. The spirit of the whole movie is the same. It is also a bit shorter.
I'm a guy who loves the old PeopleMover, the old CircleVision, Mr. Toad, the original Figment ride, Mission to Mars, and Omelet Superb avec Jambon. But I gotta tell ya, if they didn't tell me the China film was new, I may not have noticed.
Resurrecting this thread just to mention that I did see it during my trip last month, and even though I too generally don't like changes, this one was a big improvement over the old film. I had heard that the old film of Keye Luke as the poet had been retained with a new voice dubbed over, but it didn't seem that way to me except possibly for one scene.
The film has a tighter flow to it, and the newer scenes show how China has become more modernized since 1982 especially in cities like Shanghai. But what I liked best was how the offensive plug for the coming to power of the Communist government in 1949 that was in the old film is no longer there (it played in the Forbidden City segment and boasted of how the people got to see it for the first time when the Communists took power).
They did dub it and change the dialogue but it was VERY well done. The old footage is seamlessly integrated with the new, and the new footage of the mega-cities that are now part of modern China is amazing.
It's also cool to think of them filming new Circlevision footage. That makes me happy. I bet you could make a sweet digital CV rig that would be a LOT easier to use than the old ones.
Also, props for 'omelette superb avec jambon'. You don't hear that enough these days haha...