BACKSTORY (Feb. 8, 2001 —Present): From the Disney website:
Rocket to a remote desert landing strip where daring men and women design, test and fly innovative aircraft with the goal of breaking the sound barrier — and beyond! Journey back to an age when the impossible suddenly felt possible and once insurmountable barriers were no match for a pioneering spirit and a little imagination.
Attractions See the Golden State from high above as you experience an unforgettable simulated hang-gliding flight on Soarin' Over California. Visit stunning locations including San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Palm Springs, San Diego harbor, Malibu and Los Angeles.
Entertainment Book a musical tour on Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airline for a turbulence-free travelogue of swinging songs from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The toe-tapping show will make you want to book a return trip as soon as possible.
Dining Break the taste barrier with gourmet burgers, chicken sandwiches, pork ribs and supersonic salads at Taste Pilots' Grill. Refuel for your next flight with a chocolate or vanilla milkshake.
Shopping At Fly 'n' Buy, aspiring pilots can get ready for takeoff with aviation-theme merchandise like wing pins, model airplanes, pilot caps and apparel.
From Disney Parks Blog:
According to legend, Condor Flats was once a destination for pilots and aeronautical innovators. Airmen traveled from across the country to Southern California for the wide-open spaces and good thermal winds found in this arid high desert. From the beginnings of the Age of Aviation and into the Space Age, Condor Flats was the stage for the Golden State’s aerospace industry. The fading exteriors of the hangars in the area stand as a testament to this exciting and innovative period in aviation.
The original hangar in Condor Flats was a key workshop for early California aviators and designers. Then from the mid-1940s to the late 1960s, Condor Flats became the hub of rocket research and jet testing. “Higher, Faster, Further” was the motto of this time period, and technology was skyrocketing, quite literally. The engineers and aviators needed to move to more sophisticated headquarters in order to further their rocket and radar research, but they kept the old hangar as a symbol of their high-flying dreams while a new hangar was built just a little further down the runway.
Today, one of the retired test pilots has returned to this iconic flying destination to set up Condor Flats Scenic Air Tours in the original hangar; you can find their logo standing out among the other faded images left from previous years. Walking through Condor Flats today, you’ll notice the original hangar is now the Fly ‘n’ Buy, a souvenir shop, while the rocket test center is Taste Pilots’ Grill.
Next time you are in Condor Flats, look for the Condor Flats Scenic Air Tours logo, or take a look inside Fly ‘n’ Buy or Taste Pilots’ Grill for these special nods to the Age of Aviation!
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