Finally a few weeks ago we got on the balloon! And it was so cool. And also a little lame.
We had to show up at this hotel at 5:30am about 15 minutes from where we live to meet all of the other people and fill out paperwork. People were late so we left late. Then we had to get in these vans that took us to the launch site. Twenty-five minutes later we're still in the van and the sun's coming up. I thought this was a sunrise balloon ride? We pull up to this giant field and all the pilots get out and tell us to wait. The pilot gets back in the van and says we have to go somewhere else to launch since apparently this place has swampland or something. You'd think they'd work that out before they had 100 people waiting to get in balloons.
Another 20 minute van ride happens. The sun is now completely up and I'm getting cranky. We get to another field which meets the pilot's approval. Then they start to take all the balloon stuff out. We have to help them set the balloons up. At first I thought this was really cool that we were able to experience everything that goes in to making a balloon fly. But then I remembered it was 630am, I hadn't eaten breakfast and it was a random chilly day in Florida (seriously, it's the only time all season I wore a sweater, pea coat, gloves and a scarf). I just wanted to be in that balloon and then get back to the hotel for complimentary breakfast.
|look how cold Grant is!|
|We helped roll it out of the bag|
The balloon we were in was brand new. It was the first time it had ever been flown. I thought that was special until I realized that all my pictures would be of the dingy balloons since I was in the pretty shiny new one.
Finally they got the balloons up (it took at least another half hour) and we jumped in the basket. Our balloon (and 2 other ones) held 16 passengers plus the pilot but there was another balloon that held 25 passengers.
|The fire was nice and warm|
|look at all the steam coming off the golf course pond|
I also thought it was really cool that we flew right over our apartment! Our building is the last one on the left.
Once the balloon was in its giant bag we got back in the van (there's people who follow the balloons in the sky to find where you're going to land and meet you there) to meet people from another balloon to have a champagne toast. I was the last one to get champagne so there wasn't much left. Sad face. They had orange juice too, so I guess we had Mimosas.
They said an Irish toast and then we piled back in to the vans to go back to the hotel where breakfast was served. By the time we got home it was 10am. Basically we were gone for 5 hours for a 40 minute balloon ride that met 15 minutes from our apartment.
Overall it was a great experience that I probably won't do again. The actual balloon ride was amazing, but we paid almost $200 for it and for all the labor we did I felt like we should've got a discount or something. Here's some more pretty pictures.