The famous theme parks are not the only attractions to Orlando. The region is filled with farms and lakes, the scenery for a bucolic ride up in the air
Way before Walt Disney built an empire there, Central Florida was synonymous with bucolic airs and swampy land. But this atmosphere is not just in the past: in addition to the most popular theme parks in the world, the region of Orlando is still filled with forests and hundred-year-old farms. And there’s no better way to enjoy all this natural wealth than from above – at a height of around 100 feet [30 m]. This ride is ideal to lower your adrenaline level after a marathon of parks.
To fly you need to get up early: at the balloon company Orlando Balloon Rides, takeoff takes place every day between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (depending on the location of your hotel, you’ll need to get up at 4 a.m.). From the company’s headquarters, 20 minutes from downtown Orlando, a van takes visitors to an ample green field, where takeoff occurs. During sunrise, dozens of balloons take flight, creating a multicolored spectacle in the sky. After, the show comes from the ground: the panoramic view reveals a rural immensity with very few structures on the horizon. At the same time, the luminous reflections at dawn transform the lakes – there are over 500 in the region – into reflecting pools.
After an hour in the air, a toast on the ground, with champagne and cranberry juice. Basket capacity varies, but there are balloons for up to 24 people. As days in this region are usually rainy (especially during the summer), pay attention to the weather. It’s imperative that you call the agency the day before your flight to check if the conditions are favorable.