For the longest time, I have dreamed of riding a hot air balloon. I was always a bit nervous of getting on one because I’m not particularly fond of heights. That suddenly changed, when about a week ago, I decided to ride one.
Riding a hot air balloon has always been one of the top experiences on my bucket list and thanks to Orlando Balloon Rides, I have now crossed that off my list.
The Hot Air Balloon Experience
It was about 5:30 A.M. when we met our pilot at the Orlando Balloon Rides location. Before we could ride the hot air balloon, we had to fill out some safety forms and received a color bracelet that would put us into a group. After everyone signed their forms and turned it in, we headed out to the van, which took us out to the launching field.
There the groups gathered into different sections, helping out with the balloons. Some of our group members were asked to assist with blowing up the balloon. My husband being one of the assistants, stood next to the balloon holding one side up while they filled it up with air using a massive fan. The setup process is incredible because it gives you an opportunity to learn more about the balloons and the work it takes to get it up in the air. Once the balloon was full of air, the crew stood it up and slowly we climbed into the basket.
When the pilot first fired up the burners, I got a little frightened by the noise. However, this changed when I realized what it was that made that noise and stared out in amazement as the balloon began to lift off from the ground.
Up, Up and Away
We slowly lifted off from the ground and instead of feeling nervous, I felt amazed. Riding a hot air balloon feels like your floating in the air. I looked down and saw the city beautiful in all of its glory. We passed a few lakes, a bunch of trees and saw a few recognizable Disney buildings. Our pilot, Mark did a wonderful job of pointing out certain points of interest. He also made the ride enjoyable by sharing some Orlando facts and jokes.
We got to see other balloons up ahead and saw some vehicles down below. I was very hesitant about getting on a hot air balloon, but being inside the basket felt safe and I never once questioned if I was going to fall (as I sometimes due with planes when there’s turbulence).
Being on a hot air balloon is completely different then being on a plane. You can feel the wind on your face, you can take amazing photos and there is not much turbulence.
After being in the air for several minutes, we were finally ready to land. Before landing we had to sit in the basket holding on to the grips inside. Once we were on the ground, the group assisted in the process of deflating the balloon. I had the chance to walk on the balloon to help flatten it out. While the men rolled up the balloon and held it on their shoulders, the ladies held up a bag where the rolled up balloon would be stored. Once it was stored, we made our way back to the center.
Mimosas and Photos
Upon our arrival at the center, there was a whole table full of snacks, drinks and champagne. There was also another table with everyone’s photos that were taken before flight. We took some snacks and as we sat down, we were served Mimosas. Once everyone had received some Mimosas, our pilot introduced us to the Balloonists Prayer.
My experience was wonderful. Not only did I get to go on a hot air balloon, but I also got some delicious Mimosas! After eating and drinking, most of the attendees got their photos from the other table before they left the Orlando Balloon Rides center.
Things to Know Before Your Flight
When making the commitment of riding a hot air balloon, there are a few things you need to know:
- The ride is very much dependent on the weather. If it rains, if there’s a hurricane, tornado or anything affecting the weather drastically, the ride will be cancelled (you will be able to re-schedule).
- If you are scheduled to ride the hot air balloon in the morning, you need to wake up early. I am not talking about 8:00 A.M., I am talking about waking up before sunrise.
- When you make your reservation with Orlando Balloon Rides, you will have a check-in number to call the night before your flight to confirm meeting time and to get an update on flight status.
- You must be able to climb in and out of the basket.
Cost and Specials
The costs varies depending on when you go.
For adults, Monday – Friday is $195 and on Saturday-Sunday it is $225. For children, Monday – Friday is $99, while on Saturday-Sunday it is $109.
Orlando Balloon Rides has some great specials on their website. One promotion they currently have available is for $35 off their regular priced flight voucher. This promotion does end on July 31st, 2017.
Be sure to stay social with Orlando Balloon Rides:
Disclaimer: The family and I did receive free rides to write this post. All opinions are truly my own and will always be.