As a child, I was always intrigued with hot air balloons. Seeing them drift across the sky on random occasions made me curious about where they were going, what it felt like to take off and how they landed. As I got older, the fascination with hot air balloons never went away. Instead of wanting to watch them from afar, I added a hot air balloon ride to my life bucket list. I decided that 2017 was the year to check that bucket list item off. Despite Josh’s childhood of dream of becoming Superman, he was a little hesitant about the experience of flying above the land in a basket (I love the thought of thrills like this). Of course, as a mother, I too am concerned with safety and do not blindly go into things without researching as much as possible. I surprisingly found a reputable balloon ride company that flies large balloons only a few hours drive from our home, so when our next trip to Orlando came around so did my dream flight, a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride with Orlando Balloon Rides.
The flight of a lifetime
I fly a lot, in a plane. Airplane rides are always just a means of fast transportation. But flying in a hot air balloon is a flying experience. And an experience that few people do. Hot air balloon rides often make the bucket list of life to do’s for many people. Mine included. I am happy to say that I got to check that bucket list item off in Orlando, Florida. And yes, it truly is an experience that I would recommend everyone to do at least once in their life.
Orlando Balloon Rides
When researching a safe and reputable hot air balloon company, I found Orlando Balloon Rides. This is who we took our flight with! If you are planning a trip to Florida and have always wanted to experience a ride on a hot air balloon ride then this is the company to book it with. Orlando Balloon Rides is the premier balloon company in Central Florida and is the largest passenger ride operator in the USA. They were established in 1985 and fly thousands of people a year with a 100% unblemished safety record. Their balloons have the latest safety features like the partitioned baskets which are deemed the safest way to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Our Ballooning Adventure
The balloon adventure we took was extra awesome because we were included in the entire 4-5 hour process from testing wind directions to helping with the balloon inflation process. We took the sunrise hot air balloon flight on a Saturday morning.
From our hotel on International Drive it took about 20 minutes to get to the meeting spot, the Orlando Balloon Rides Welcome Center. You can use this time to ask questions, watch a video about the flight and use the restroom. It is from there that we take a van to the launch site with the pilot and chase crew.
Preparing to fly
Once at the launch site, we had the opportunity to safely participate in in the setup process. Josh was chosen to help hold the balloon while they filled it up with air using a massive fan. It is such a cool process that you cannot imagine until you see it first-hand. Once the balloon is vertical, it was time to fly!
Floating with the clouds
During the flight, our pilot chatted with everyone pointing out all the views from Florida’s natural preserves to the wildlife and landmarks. He also shared interesting facts about ballooning and all the places he has flown. It is a smooth and breathtaking experience. There is no doubt that our pilot knew what he was doing because the entire flight I felt like we were just gliding across the sky. On our flight morning, the weather was beautiful and cooperative. Keep in mind, ballooning is dependent on the weather conditions so your flight could get rescheduled due to unfavorable weather. Though it was a colder Florida morning, I was surprisingly not cold once we took flight. Probably because of the heat the was released throughout the flight. While Josh was preoccupied with videoing the entire experience, I was in awe of the view and realization that I am literally floating through the sky in an open basket. Ah-mazing!
So how do we land?
Before taking flight, the pilot does instruct you on a landing position that ensures safety. But our pilot came in at such a smooth pace that we were able to remain standing the entire landing, which enabled us to see the entire landing process.
That’s a wrap!
After each ride, the flight team celebrates the safe and wonderful adventure with a champagne toast! Non-alcoholic beverages are also available, which we mixed with the champagne to make the best morning toast, a mimosa! I cannot say enough great things about this company and the experience we had. It fulfilled the hype I had in my mind and proved that the Hot Air Balloon Ride was a worthy experience to make a bucket list. Now it’s your turn!
Things to know before your flight
- Pricing: $195 weekday / $225 weekend for adults and $99 weekday / $109 weekend for kids (age4-10)
- You will need to reserve your flight in advance. They recommend booking 1-2 weeks prior but sometimes they are able to accommodate late minute reservations. Reservations can be made online or by calling their office.
- You will have a check-in number to call the night before flight to confirm flight and meeting time.
- Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to climb, walk and ride freely.
- The total experience lasts between 3-4 hours.
- Flying time is approximately 1 hour.
- All pilots are FAA certified, fully licensed and insured.
- You must be at least 4 years of age to fly and able to climb in and out of the basket. Pregnant women are not allowed to fly.
- Hotel pickup service is available for an additional fee.
Have you been on a hot air balloon ride? Was it fun or scary?
I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below or on Instagram.
Orlando Balloon Rides
44294 US Hwy 27
Davenport, FL 33897
Phone Number: 407-894-5040
Check out their Facebook page: Orlando Balloon Rides
Thank you, Orlando Balloon Rides for helping me fulfill this bucket list dream of mine!
DISCLAIMER: This post was written in collaboration with Visit Orlando and Orlando Balloon Rides. As always, all opinions and fun are my own and unbiased. All photos & video are mine and cannot be used without permission.
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