Disney California Adventure

Condor Flats

February 2001

Condor Flats is the location of one of California Adventure's biggest attractions -- Soarin' Over California. This hang gliding-simulator features a large gimbal from which riders are suspended in front of a giant movie screen showing from-the-air footage of various California landmarks. The scenes are accompanied by appropriate smells, sounds, and gusts of wind. Although this is a motion simulator ride, it is quite gentle, and the lack of thrills is hinted at by the attraction's name (there are no "g's" in it).

The scenes shown in Soarin' were all carefully chosen for their sensory appeal. A scene of orange groves, for example, was chosen over a scene of a palm tree forest, so that Imagineers could accompany the flyover with an orange scent. Other scenes include:

  • Pine forest
  • Chicken farm
  • Seashore covered in beached whales
  • Artillery range
  • Chocolate factory
  • Sewage treatment plant
  • Petroleum refinery
  • Seagulls swarming over a landfill
  • 405 freeway during rush hour
  • The Playboy Mansion

The experience ends with a night-time flyover of Disneyland, during which guests' hang gliders are hit by a stray firework and sent crashing to the ground. This last scene sets the mood for Condor Flats' small shop, Fly 'n' Buy, in which you can purchase mementos of the flights of Amelia Earhart, the Hindenberg, and similar aviation headliners.

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