Hot-air balloons are favored the world over as stealthy and fast get-away vehicles for toothbrush thieves and cowardly blind-daters. Today's Groupon makes use of the balloon's capacity for leisure: $105 gets you a sunrise hot-air-balloon ride, plus breakfast and champagne, from Orlando Balloon Rides (a $175 value). Children 10 and under can also tag along for the ride for only $60 a piece with your Groupon. This deal is good for a one-person adult admission; purchase two for a romantic first date or three for airborne reality-dating-show finales.
The ballooneers at Orlando Balloon Rides have been offering professionally powered balloon flights to Florida natives and visitors since 1983. The sunrise ride begins around 6 a.m. (depending on the time of year); you'll meet at the Ramada Orlando Celebration Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee before traveling to a lush launching field to properly wake up and observe the folded balloon fill up with air. Once the bulbous vessel is appropriately aired, you'll ascend in the comfortable, padded-basket balloon over the treetops of Orlando and take in panoramic views of the area's geological wonders, from orange groves and swamps to theme parks, local wormholes, and area forests. After the ride touches down, a champagne toast will commence, and you'll journey back to the hotel for the ceremonial presentation of commemorative flight certificates and a competitive all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet throwdown. The entire experience lasts three to four hours, with an ample hour to an hour-and-fourty-five minutes of flight time.
All of Orlando Balloon Rides’ passengers are lifted into the air aboard 2007 model balloons, fully equipped with cutting-edge safety technology, and piloted by experienced and FAA-certified air-people who double as engaging tour guides throughout the flight. The commercially insured balloonists boast a 100% safety record. Reservations are required, so call ahead to reserve your spot.
Here's a video of from an Orlando Balloon Rides flight this past May:
Orlando Balloon Rides
During 29 years of drifting through the Florida skies, Orlando Balloon Rides had already amassed an impressive fleet of gargantuan flying inflatables when a new balloon arrived. The product of an ambitious factory in Spain, the newcomer holds more than 400,000 cubic feet of hot air and stands as tall as an 11-story building. Four times the size of the average hot air inflatable, it's among the most massive hot air balloons currently flown in the United States.
Now reigning as a popular vessel for the company's sunrise tours, the mammoth balloon can fly away with a basket of 24 passengers as it commands the skies, dwarfing most clouds and giving the Goodyear Blimp an identity crisis. From any of Orlando Balloon Rides' baskets, passengers take in high-altitude views of Walt Disney World and the city's skyline, sights visitors rarely get to see from above. Each of the company's hot air balloons is piloted by an FAA-certified pilot who also serves as a knowledgeable narrator of the scenery below.