Huge Hot Air Balloon Provides Uplifting Experience in Orlando

Hot air jokes aside, Orlando Balloon Rides launched its 24-passenger hot air balloon last week. Billed as the largest in the U.S. it’s 11 stories high, 90 feet wide, and is filled with 425,000 cubic feet of air.

Jason Schulke, company CEO, describes the new attraction as the “Bentley of hot air balloons.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, the balloon was custom-ordered from Ultramagic Balloons of Spain. The size is common in Europe, but the first of its kind in the U.S. The extra-high basket walls are made of aircraft-grade stainless steel that is wrapped in wicker. Partitions divide the standing space, creating a skybox affect. Schulke said the cost of the new balloon and related expenses was about $275,000. It will increase Orlando Balloon Rides’ capacity by 50 percent.

According to the company’s website, balloon passengers will not suffer from motion sickness:

As the balloon moves with the wind, there is none of this sensation. A balloon flight is so calm, it is possible to set a glass of water on a table in a balloon and not spill a drop.

And for those who are afraid of heights, Richard Bilbao of the Orlando Business Journal says, “…it’s actually quite smooth and is one of the most unique ways to see the sights of Central Florida.”

The four-hour experience requires pretty deep pockets for what will appear to be a memorable experience. Passengers meet an hour before sunrise, then travel to the launch site, where the balloon is inflated. The flight is about an hour, rising from tree tops to a thousand feet. Landing is celebrated with a champagne toast, followed a breakfast buffet at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration. Passengers receive a Flight of Ascension certificate by the pilot. It all costs $175 although online coupons have been spotted.

For details visit Orlando Balloon Rides’ website and fill out the online application or call 407-894-5040.


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