I have been fortunate enough to spend many weekends at the area theme parks, wrestled a gator or two (I use wrestle loosely, but I’d like to think I’m braver than most), and I’ve been on several airboat tours through the Florida Everglades, but my favorite adventure is always soaring high above Central Florida in a hot air balloon.
The 5am wake up call is never easy, but the experience is like no other. It’s really hard to describe in words how amazing it is.
Right before sunrise you arrive on location and the balloon is laid out on the wide field. Now, these balloons are massive!!! I mean mean massive, when they begin to blow cold air into them they “balloon” up and you are able to walk inside. One of my friends jokingly said, “you could have your wedding inside of a balloon.” Yep, you could easily fit 200 people inside. Not that I want to invite 200 people to my wedding, but…we’ll talk about that in another post. Anyways, they fill the balloons with cold air until they take shape. Then hot air is added by the propane burners and slowly the balloon begins to lift vertically. This is the moment the balloon pilot looks to everyone and motions that it is time to jump in the basket.
I thought I was going to be all graceful and lightly hop into the basket, but there is more to it than that. You’ll see when you take your balloon ride. There were 10 of us comfortably in the basket, yep, I told you they were large, and we began to rise into the sky. I barely realized we had even left the ground. Soon we were 1800 feet in the air and the sky was beautifully painted in vibrant hues of pink, orange and blue. It’s just peace and quiet, except for the burner which occasionally releases a burst of fire and you gently rise a little bit higher into the sky.
The balloon was gliding through the air as the pilot pointed out points of interest below, like the town of Celebration, Highway 192 and of course Walt Disney World Resort. It all looked so small from above.
After about an hour in the air, and almost 300 pictures later, the balloon gradually descended back to the ground. The landing was almost as smooth as the liftoff, just a few soft bounces on the green grass and the basket was safely on the ground. My only thought at that moment was, “Can we go again?”
Following the balloon ride was the traditional champagne toast and Balloonist prayer. It was a great way to begin the morning.
I took this balloon ride with Orlando Balloon Adventures. Again, it was amazing and anyone looking to check an item off their bucket list, I recommend a balloon ride. This was my second hot air balloon ride and I can’t wait to go again!!!!