During my photowalk the other morning at Disney's Marketplace and Pleasure Island, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to indulge in a photoflight via the Characters in Flight Helium Balloon ride. The balloon, anchored lakeside in Pleasure Island, rises to a height of 400 feet and the $16 ride typically lasts 8-10 minutes, but since I was the only one on this flight and no one else was waiting below, the pilot said we'd stay up a little longer to "advertise."
This balloon is the largest helium-filled balloon in the world, with a volume of 210,000 cubic feet of the lighter-than-air-gas contained in the balloon that, the pilot told me, is made of a material of secret composition. Unlike those cute novelty balloons you buy in grocery stores or florist shops that deflate and sink to the ground after a few days, this balloon only has to be filled with helium once a year. Day, night and seasonal temperature changes necessitate the addition of oxygen to the balloon, but the helium itself lasts a year. The balloon, which is 105 feet high, 72 feet in diameter and has a circumference of 240 feet, and the attached gondola which is 19 feet in diameter and holds up to 29 guests, are tethered by a steel cable that is attached to a motorized pulley system that reels in the balloon at the end of the ride to a landing pier in the lake.
I enjoyed myself immensely and took SO many photos. But I put only the best of them on my Flickr page for you to see.