If you have ever been to Downtown Disney you’ve undoubtably noticed the beautiful hot air balloon ascending and descending slowly over the stores and restaurants.
Covered in gigantic yellow and red stripes and various Disney characters, the balloon is actually not full of hot air but helium, and currently holds the record for the largest tethered helium balloon in the world!
We’ve been to Downtown Disney lots of times – the girls love the carousel and it’s where Jay gets his soap and I get my favorite milkshake, so we always make a point of stopping there on our way home. But although we’d seen the balloon for years, we’d never given it a try. We have a tradition of trying something new every time we go to any part of Disney World, whether it be a restaurant, tour, or other experience. And even though we were only stopping by after spending a few days in Legoland, we decided to give it a go (after we’d gotten our soap and milkshake) and add it to our list of Disney experiences.
The attraction isn’t exactly cheap, and at $18 per adult and $12 per child it cost us a whopping $60 to go up in the balloon. Knowing that this would be a one-time event, we bought our tickets and got on.
The balloon rises up 400 feet into the air, and provides a 360-degree view of the Walt Disney World Resort – you can really see just about everything. Emily was super excited to point out the Epcot ball, and you could easily see the tip of Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest and even the Tower of Terror. With the help of the pilot we were able to pinpoint other landmarks across the resort as well.
Looking straight down from the balloon you could see a beautiful compass on the loading dock below… although I don’t recommend looking down if you’re afraid of heights!
When we got off of the balloon about 10 minutes later we discovered a hidden Mickey made out of the ropes used to anchor the balloon. The pilot was thrilled we found it, telling us that he makes it every day and no one notices it.
Although the ride was a bit pricier than we’d hoped, Jay and I are glad that we can now add it to our long list of Disney adventures. Both girls loved the balloon, and Julia still talks about how we went “up, up, UP!” But our favorite part is that now whenever we see the balloon flying overhead, we can say, “We DID that!”