This week’s Walt Disney World Wednesday post is about a new attraction at Downtown Disney Westside called Characters in Flight. Characters in Flight opened on April 21, 2009 and has been flying high since.
The Characters in Flight balloon is the world’s largest tethered gas balloon. The 72 feet in diameter balloon is filled with 210,000 cubic feet of a lighter-than-air gas. The gondola is 19 feet in diameter and can hold up to 29 guests plus the pilot.
I was very excited when I saw on my Florida Mom Blogger’s Mixer itinerary that we would be riding Characters in Flight, weather permitting. I have wanted to fly in a hot-air balloon for years and I figured this ride would be a good test to see if I was comfortable “floating” in the air.
Saturday morning was rather windy and when our group of 13 arrived we were told they could only take 4 of us at a time. So, we took 2 groups of 4 and our hosts (aka the chickens) chose not to ride. The view was magnificent! When you are 400 feet up in the air you can see for about 10 miles. You can easily see The Contemporary Resort, Spaceship Earth, Expedition Everest, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Typhoon Lagoon as well as the downtown Orlando skyline.
The entire ride took about 9 minutes. I would love to do it again, but this time at night. I can only imagine how beautiful it would look with all of the lights twinkling in the evening sky. Tickets for Characters in Flight cost $16 for adults ages 10+ and $10 for children ages 3-9. Everyone under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Characters in Flight is wheelchair accessible; guests in ECVs must be able to transfer to the gondola, which does not have seats. There is no smoking, eating or drinking allowed on the ride and they do not allow strollers or baggage.
Safety is key and the weather restictions for this attractions are very strict.
- Winds 3 mph or less they can take 20 passengers at a time
- Winds 3-12 mph they can take 10-20 passengers
- Winds 12-22 mph they can take up to 10 passengers at a time
- Winds above 22 mph or in stormy conditions they do not run
I don’t know what the wind speed was when we rode but we had 5 guests plus the pilot on my trip. On the video you can hear when I turned into the wind, it gets very loud. I felt very safe and secure despite the wind.
What do you think? Would you like to ride Characters in Flight on your next trip to Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney? Leave me a comment and let me know.