May 18, Part 4: Condor Flats
After ToT, we browsed the Hollywood Pictures area, including taking some pictures. There were other attractions we’d like to do on a future trip, but we were just scoping things out this trip. Besides, the heat was dictating how much we wanted to do on this trip. We know from going to WDW once a week for a year that we just don’t do as much on the really hot days.
Speaking of heat, it was getting really hot and we were thirsty so we were looking for some bottled water. The Award Wieners CM didn’t have her cash drawer open yet so we headed back toward Sunshine Plaza, stopping into gift shops for more browsing and finally got a bottle of water at a sidewalk cart.
As a side note: I was so excited to see the replica of the California Zephyr. When my in-laws took the train from Philadelphia to our house in Tampa, I couldn’t believe the weird little train they pulled up in (it pulled in backwards so that it could head back out to Orlando again and then go on to Miami.) The cars were flat and boring and had no observation windows. I had heard so much about the great trains and service in the DC to New York corridor, I didn’t realize the train to Tampa could be so, well, disappointing. And the station? Well, if you’ve read Rich’s humorous novel, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
It wasn’t quite time for our Soarin’ FP so we toured the whole Condor Flats aviation area. Watching Samantha Brown’s “Best of Disney” show again (saving it on TiVo for frequent viewing), I was struck again by how cool this whole “land” is and how nice that Soarin’ at DCA has its own structure and identity in the park, unlike WDW where they retrofitted a piece of “The Land” in Epcot for it. This works so much better—access to the ride and the FP machines.
My dad loves planes (he was in the Naval Air Force) so we enjoyed browsing Fly’n’Buy–the aviation-themed gift shop. By this time it was almost time for our FP return. We decided to show up to see if they’d go ahead and let us in. As we were standing in line, the DCA CM “Dad” appeared and said, “There’s Kathy again.” I think we ran into him a couple more times—just sorry we didn’t catch his name—he was so cool!
The CM allowed us to join the group being seated in the attraction. We ended up on the bottom row and we noticed that fastening the seatbelts was a more difficult operation here than at Epcot—you had to really shove the lap belt end into the fastener in the seat (love my technical lingo) and it was so awkward, I broke an acrylic nail. Rich and I both commented on this difficulty.
Rich puts it this way, “My impression was that instead of buckling into a flexible receptor, you had to buckle it directly into a slot in the metal of the seat.”