A huge bucket list item for the Diapers on a Plane Family is taking a hot air balloon ride. We love watching the balloons get filled with helium in the early brisk mornings during the Freedom Days festival in our local town, and then look on in awe as hundreds of balloons take to the skies in succession. Someday we plan to make this dream a reality, but until then, we thought we’d ease into this dream with an $11.50 Groupon to take the Aerophile Balloon Ride at Disney Springs.
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Aerophile Balloon Ride Groupon Experience
1512 Buena Vista Dr
Orlando, FL 32836
Disney Springs | West Side Dock
Phone: (407) 938-9433
Hours: 8 am – 12:30 am
Price with Groupon: $11.50 per person with Groupon
Price without Groupon: $20 Adults 10 and Older | $15 Kids 3-9
The Aerophile Balloon Ride is essentially is a watered down version of a real hot air balloon ride as this one is done with a suspension rope. The Aerophile Balloon is piloted 300 feet over Bay Lake while being tethered to the landing dock with suspension ropes. It limits the movement of the balloon, gives the pilot more control, and enables Disney to quickly get the balloon up and down so they can get people on and off. However, the ride still offers an incredible experience with 360° views and the highly desired open air feeling of a hot air balloon ride. On a clear day you can see iconic Disney landmarks up to 10 miles away!
Or, rather, that’s the idea anyway. That’s what we’ve heard. The Aerophile Balloon Groupon is good for 90 days from the date of purchase, but it cannot be used the same day you purchase it. Therein lies the rub, because the only way to ride the Aerophile Balloon Ride is when the weather is cooperating. When we arrived to Orlando we checked the weather forecast for the duration of our stay. The forecast read no wind and no rain, so we snatched up five tickets and planned a time 24 hours in the future.
For the next 5 days straight we headed to Disney Springs and waited around for the right set of circumstances to present itself so we could take that balloon to the skies! We accomplished visiting Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, oogled over an Elsa jewelry case made by Aribbas brothers, ate more Dole Whips than I have fingers on my hands; raced lego race car after lego race car after lego race car, enjoyed an Earl of Sandwich, snuck into Goofy’s Candy Kitchen, but not once did that balloon go up in the air – with or without us.
The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 22mph, or in other words, never. Now, I work for an airline, so I understand that when we talk weather in relation to aircraft it’s a different ballgame. There is a major difference between weather at 30,000 feet versus weather on the ground. But not only is weather different at 30,000 feet, the atmosphere is different too. The Aerophile Balloon doesn’t fly 30,000 feet into the air. It doesn’t fly 3,000 feet into the air. It barely flies 300 feet into the air. When I look up and can’t see the tree tops waving at a parallel longitude as that darn balloon I get a little suspicious.
The groupon is good between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm. Prior to 10 am, the cost to go up is less than the groupon, and the weather seemed just fine during those hours. It’s just our groupon wasn’t good during those hours, and even if it had been, everyone was getting married on the balloon prior to 10 am. After 6 pm miraculously, the weather and the wind cleared up on each and every night on each and every one of those 5 days.
So long story short, we didn’t ride the Aerophile Balloon Ride. If you think we are exaggerating, read the reviews on the groupon site and see that most people had to wait upwards of 9 months to redeem their groupon and could only end up applying the value to a later time slot. The takeaway lesson is that if you want to ride the Aerophile Balloon, skip the groupon and head to Disney Springs after dark to wait in line.
► For Kids: Wait until you know 100% whether or not you are going to actually have the chance to ride the Aerophile Balloon Ride until you tell them, or they will be sitting under the tiny shade of a tree in the hot Orlando sun playing with a strangers dog dressed up like a baby watching the seconds tick off the Hulk watch they got for Valentine’s Day and just plain missing out.
Have you gotten the chance to take the Aerophile Balloon up in the air? Should we brave the high winds and take our chances again?