Did you know that you can soar high above Lake Buena Vista on the Characters in Flight balloon, located at Disney Springs West Side, for some spectacular views of the Walt Disney World Resort? You can choose to ride during the day or the night, weather permitting, depending on what your expectations are of the experience. Be sure to check for discounted prices and for flight conditions on the day you want to soar. The views, from 400 feet above Lake Buena Vista, are what this ride is all about.
I chose to soar on Characters in Flight, for the first time ever, on a day that was sunny, with some very light winds, a mostly blue sky, and some lovely cirrus clouds. If you have any issues with heights, this is exactly the type of day you will want to take part in this experience. I am not a fan of heights but I challenged myself to soar; and I was very glad that I did.
Prior to lift-off, your Aerophile-certified pilot will instruct you to hold onto the rail that runs along the perimeter. As you begin to ascend, even with the lightest of winds, you will feel the movement and the sensation of moving upwards. You will immediately notice the landscape of Disney Springs and the area around Lake Buena Vista. As you rise a bit higher you will begin to see many familiar Walt Disney World landmarks such as the Tower of Terror, at Hollywood Studios, and Spaceship Earth, at Epcot. When you reach the maximum soaring height of 400 feet, you can literally see all of Walt Disney World and beyond. There were quite a few people on my flight so walking all the way around was, unfortunately, not an option. However, if you soar during a low attendance time, you would be able to move around the entire space. Either way, you are granted some amazing 360 degree views of the Walt Disney World Resort.
The standard prices are $18 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-9, and children ages 2 and under ride free. There are many options for obtaining discounted prices as well. If you fly before 10:00am the price is significantly reduced so be sure to ask when purchasing your tickets. You may also wish to search online for discounted coupons. I found my discount on Groupon and was able to soar on Characters in Flight for $10.
Safety is always a first priority at Walt Disney World. Flights on Characters in Flight will be grounded if winds exceed more than 22 miles per hour, or if there are storms, particularly with lightning, within 10 miles of Disney Springs. Be sure to check the conditions for flight upon your arrival. The stronger the winds, the fewer people are allowed to ride on each flight. The conditions on the day of my flight were near perfect with the lightest wind and no storms nearby.
With all of the new venues at Disney Springs, the landscape has certainly changed this past year. The Characters in Flight balloon offers an amazing opportunity to see these changes from a fun and interesting vantage point. I recommend you try soaring at least once. As for me, I am already planning to soar after dark, sometime in the near future, so I can see the Walt Disney World Resort lit up at night.
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