Visitors of Disney Springs in Florida are well aware of the HUGE blue balloon that can be seen in the sky hovering overhead from time to time. That, my friends, is the Aerophile balloon and taking an adventure in it has been on my personal Disney bucket list for several magical years.
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Disclaimer: This post is not in any way associated with Walt Disney World, Aerophile or Disney Springs. No compensation was exchanged for my review. No request was made for my review. This is simply a family experience that I wanted to share with my readers in case any are thinking of exploring this activity.
History of the Aerophile Balloon
Originally called “Characters in Flight,” the Aerophile balloon today is a redesigned version of the 2009 attraction. The new balloon was custom-built by a company in Paris and reimagined to fit with the brand new look the transforming Disney Springs was aiming to achieve. Taking “flight” in 2017, the Aéro30 can hold up to 29 people per “flight” (30, if you include the one Aérophile-certified pilot) and boasts the title of being the largest tethered balloon in the world. It is filled with 210,000 cubic feet of helium and has a basket / gondola that is 19 feet in diameter. Talk about huge! Each “flight” takes guests to a soaring height of 400 feet into the air and provides spectacular views for up to 10 miles away!
Of course, “flights” are very much dependent upon the Florida weather. The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 28 mph in the air or 18 mph on the ground. If there is a storm or lightning in the vicinity, the “flight ” will be grounded, as well. No one wants to take the chance of that ginormous balloon swaying up there at 400 feet.
Unfortunately, that was the story for our first attempt at trying to “take flight.” My sweet husband had expressed wanting to grant me this as a Mother’s Day gift. Good guy, right? Well, we arrived at Disney Springs after our Mother’s Day Brunch and the weather had just begun to look a little ominous. When we approached the site between Starbucks and the bridge leading to The Landing, we knew it was a no-go when we saw that the ticket window closed. Cast members standing there told us there were storms in the area.
Okay ~ so we would try another weekend.
It wasn’t until June 2nd that the weather finally cooperated!
After Several Attempts
Our entire family of five rose early that June Saturday. Though the weather looked fantastic, we weren’t going to take any chances. At the previous advice of the Aerophile Cast Members, Hubby started calling at 8 AM to verify whether or not “flights” were going up that day. As good fortune would have it, we finally found a day they were taking “flight” that worked for us! Within minutes, we headed out the door in a hurry for our next adventure.
Since our oldest was not interested in taking part in this endeavor, he casually enjoyed his caffeinated beverage at ground level while the rest of us climbed new heights. That left Hubby, our two younger sons and I to enjoy this long awaited bucket list item. We purchased our tickets at the window and made our way to the gate.
FYI, tickets for the “flight” are normally $20 for adults / $15 for children ages 3-9 (at the time of this post). They do have an early bird special, of which we took advantage, where “flights” taken between 8:30 and 10 AM are only $10. Bonus: Disney Vacation Club members can enjoy the $10 price tag until 10:30 AM. Just something I thought you’d like to know.
As the flight before us was returning to earth, we took advantage of a quick photo opportunity. A staff photographer was available to take a photo of our party halfway down the walkway with the balloon in the background. We, of course, took a few of our own, as well. Once done, we made our way down the rest of the walkway and climbed into the basket. (I’ll share more about the photos in a few minutes)
FYI: For my wonderful friends who may be utilizing a motorized scooter or ECV, the website states that you must be able to transfer into an available wheelchair in order to experience this attraction. For your own peace of mind, please be sure to check this on your own before you venture out to cross this off your bucket list.
The basket is in the shape of a donut, for lack of a better description. It is essentially a circular path that wraps around the perimeter. The center of the basket is actually open to the ground below. There is no fire, no heat. It is restrained by tethers, which keep it from floating freely. There are bars for Guests to grasp and ropes to keep them inside the basket. I do want to warn you, though. Be careful of your belongings! While most people don’t need this precaution told to them, but there are opportunities to drop things….and that would be bad. Very, very bad.
Oh, and yes ~ cameras are very much welcomed on board the balloon. However, bags, food / drink, smoking and strollers are NOT.
The ascent was fairly smooth. We had a fantastic pilot who warned us before any potential for bumps. This gave us ample time to grab onto the available bars. Please hold them! Even the slightest bump could cause your camera to fall out of your hands and crash onto the floor of the basket ~ and I only say this because these are the things that run through my own head. As I said, our ride was fairly smooth and the weather was perfect! We had no issues and were able to enjoy spectacular views of Disney property and beyond. Check out some of these fantastic photos.
We were able to see the different resorts, tall iconic Disney features such as Spaceship Earth and Disney’s Hollywood Tower of Terror, and even the entire Typhoon Lagoon park! I loved the aerial view of Disney Springs, seeing the layout and identifying each of the buildings.
The descent was just as smooth. Again, our pilot warned us when to hold onto the bar and when the bumps were coming. No issues!
Capturing the Memory
Once we were back on the ground, we had opportunity to view the photos taken prior to our “flight.” Our shots actually came out really well, so it didn’t take much to convince Hubby to let us purchase the package.
At the time of this post, the cost of photos are:
- 5×7 photo print is $15
- 5×7 photo print with frame is 20.
- 5×7 photo print with frame and two keychains is $25 (package)
Since we took “flight” during early bird hours, we received a discount and our package cost $20. The photo print has a layover design that marks the date of the flight. That way, no one will ever forget the day they rode the Aerophile balloon at Disney Springs.
Worth Waiting For?
Would I do this again? In a heartbeat! For someone who actually does have a slight fear of heights, this was honestly more exhilarating than it was frightening. There is so much to see up there. The scenery and landscape take your breath away more than the height itself.
If taking an adventure on the Aerophile balloon has been on your Disney bucket list at all, I highly recommend finding a way to check this block. I’m so glad we did and am grateful that Hubby tried so hard to make it happen.
Just don’t forget!! Because the weather can be so unpredictable down here in Florida, call before you head out the door!
Contact Aerophile Balloon at Disney Springs before you go: 407-938-9433
Check out the website for more tips you should know before you go!