Looking for something completely different from your previous Disney experiences? This activity is probably not for those deathly terrified of heights or on a pretty tight budget. It’s called Characters in Flight, and this ride is located at Downtown Disney. Here’s all the details and lots of first-hand reviews from Mouze Kateerz readers and the Disney Moms fans.
Characters in Flight is a balloon ride operated by a company called Aérophile. You go up in a giant tethered balloon 400 feet above the Downtown Disney Area. You will be airborne high in the sky for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, and while there, you’ll experience a breathtaking, 360–degree view of the Walt Disney World Resort.
Kerri Hill, who wrote a really touching article about taking her ailing mom on a flight before her passing that you can read that here (Magical Moment: Perfect Way to Celebrate My Moms Life) said, “I think it’s definitely worth the money. I liked everything, but getting to see Disney World from a new perspective was awesome. Not many people I know can say they did it. Conquering a fear while at Disney is nice too… I’m terrified of heights!”
You will recognize the silhouettes on the balloon instantly, including Mary Poppins, Aladdin, Dumbo and other characters from some of Disney’s most famous films. Disneyworld.com says this is a special design just for the Walt Disney World Resort.
Need a snack while you’re at Downtown Disney? This one rocks!
Deborah Authement, a Mouze Kateerz fan, said ”Beautiful view of so much of the Disney property and surrounding area. Really cool seeing Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, etc. Totally peaceful and magical. For those of us afraid of heights, there is a security ‘netting’ around the platform. I was totally comfortable.”
The details of the balloon
The gas balloon created for Characters in Flight has a volume of 210,000 cubic feet, a diameter of 72 feet, a circumference of 240 feet, and a height of 105 feet.
This whimsical balloon — the Aéro30 — was built by Aérophile S.A., a company with headquarters in Paris, France. It’s the world’s largest tethered gas balloon. The balloon itself is attached to a gondola that is 19 feet in diameter and holds up to 29 Guests and the pilot at a time. Guests board from a specially designed platform and then, and once in the air, you’ll have spectacular view of vistas up to 10 miles away.
This Downtown Disney location will not take you to any new heights, but you will probably get out the door much cheaper. Well, maybe…
To show how visible the balloon is from distances away, Our Mouze Denny took this shot of the balloon in the distance of Epcot.
Weather permitting, the hours of operation are every day from 8:30 a.m. to midnight daily. Lots of comments we received stated that many times the balloon was grounded during bad weather.
Linda Gibson, a Mouze Kateerz fan, said, “I took the ride last December and just loved it. I had to wait days. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to ride or not, when finally the winds died down. I had been wanting to ride Characters since it came out. The price is a little steep, but I would pay it again.”
If it’s grounded, here is my favorite store to spend some time in.
- $18 Adult (tax included) – Guests ages 10 and up
- $12 Children (tax included) – Guests ages 3 – 9
- Free for Guests 2 and under
Krista May Navarez, a Disney Moms fan, said of the price, “We just did it, my two-year-old and I. It was really neat to see everything from so high. I don’t know that I would have gone if I had to pay for him. It was worth it for us to both go for $18!”
Stacy Sheldon, a Disney Moms fan, said, “I have done it at night it, and it was amazing. I really must do it in the daytime, and then probably not again. It’s a lot of $$ but a neat experience.”
Small details you need to know
*Tickets may be purchased at the attraction’s ticket window or online.
*Guests under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
*The gondola is wheelchair accessible with assistance. Guests must transfer from an Electric Convenience Vehicle (ECV).
*Weather conditions will determine the number of guests who may board the gondola in any given flight.
*All flights and times are subject to change due to inclement weather.
Like to book your tickets online? Click here for the Disney reservation site.
Shandale Tucker, a Disney Moms fan, said, “My kids and I did this in March of 2012 and we loved it! I loved the view from in the air, but the wait was really long, because they can only take so many people up at a time when it gets windy. I think it was worth the money!”
Susan Neitzel, a Mouze Kateerz fan, said, “I was lucky enough to ride it with the second attempt. The weather conditions were just right (calm and clear) and I was able to buy a ticket and walk right on. It is an indescribable experience. I felt very safe and got some amazingly great photos, but they don’t even begin to capture the amazing view. It was worth every cent!”
Now for those with a little fear, Mouze Kateerz fan Kelly Lawrence tells this tale. “We paid the money, stood by the platform waiting for our turn, and then chickened out. We ran back to the ticket box and got our money back… yes, I am a big chicken!” Well, at least you know you can change your mind at the last-minute.
Too rich for your blood? Maybe these activities are more your speed.
So there you have it. A one-of-a kind balloon ride that will cost you $18 for adults and $12 for kids for a 10 minute ride 400 feet up in the air. If you are looking for a special experience at Walt Disney World, this could be the one you are looking for, if you didn’t spend all your money on theme park tickets and snacks. Or maybe that was just me!
Thanks for stopping by for a photographical Disney ride, and we’ll see you admiring the balloon, or maybe waving from high up in the air!
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