Orlando Balloon Rides for the acrophobic

During my recent trip to Kissimmee, Florida, I encountered a lot of activities that put my acrophobia into overdrive. Like the world’s tallest sky coaster at Fun Spot. And the whole zip lining over alligators thing.

But I couldn’t really turn down a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. I mean, come on. The Instagram photos were worth it alone.

I don’t really know when I became so afraid of heights, or flying. It’s not like anything bad has ever happened. (KNOCK ON SO MUCH WOOD RIGHT NOW.) But I felt pretty bummed out that I was holding myself back from a lot of the experiences in Kissimmee, so I agreed to the balloon ride.

Turns out the hardest part of the day was getting out of bed at 4 AM, and the balloon ride actually became the highlight of my trip.

At the launch site, our guide Pat from Orlando Balloon Rides assured me I wouldn’t die as I slipped into the basket and slid to the bottom. I took an Ativan. It was necessary.

I guess I was expecting the takeoff and landing to be similar to that of an airplane. I don’t know why — obviously it’s nothing alike. I didn’t even realize we were 800-feet in the sky until Pat made the announcement and I gathered myself for some selfies.

By the time the Ativan kicked in, I was smiling and watching the horizon change from black to pink to yellow to blue. The whole sky was filled with a rainbow of hot air balloons drifting into the quiet. Pat’s radio crackled as another balloon announced its passengers’ engagement. “CONGRATULATIONS!” we all shouted.

I’m actually amazed by how normal I come off in this video.

I was downright high, leaning over the basket and trying to catch reflections of our balloon in the lakes underneath us. After our smooth landing, Pat and his crew set up a table of snacks, and we had a champagne Irish Balloonist’s Blessing to our day in the air.

The winds have welcomed you with softness
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands
You have flown so high and so well
That God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother earth.

  • November 01 2013
    Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Sounds like an incredible experience! So happy that you faced your fear and didn’t end up scared to death. And you’re right, the instagram photos were totally worth it!

  • November 01 2013
    Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Sounds like an incredible experience! So happy that you faced your fear and didn’t end up scared to death. And you’re right, the instagram photos were totally worth it!

    • November 06 2013

      Thanks Lauren! Yeah, I’m so glad I did it. Would definitely have regretted it, otherwise.

  • November 02 2013
    Andy Parthenopoulos

    The image you posted is surreal. Did this include the champagne service?!

  • November 02 2013
    Andy Parthenopoulos

    The image you posted is surreal. Did this include the champagne service?!

    • November 06 2013

      Yup! It was pretty surreal. Floating that high above the fray in a quiet, giant balloon.

  • November 04 2013
    Alyssa

    I’m SO afraid of heights. I read this and turned to my boyfriend and said, “Please don’t ever propose to me in a hot air balloon.”

    He just looked at me like I was crazy.

  • November 04 2013

    Looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride but I’m slightly scared of it!

    • November 06 2013

      Oh me too, seriously! But it was great. I’m a ‘fraidy cat and I managed it well

  • December 05 2013
    Valerie Shaindlin

    Haha I hate flying too but loved hot air ballooning! Once time I took a xanax to go on “the worlds longest zip-line” in Alaska (it drops 1,300 feet, ahh!) and it was so worth it. But i probably would’ve died without the xanax!

  • December 05 2013
    Valerie Shaindlin

    Haha I hate flying too but loved hot air ballooning! Once time I took a xanax to go on “the worlds longest zip-line” in Alaska (it drops 1,300 feet, ahh!) and it was so worth it. But i probably would’ve died without the xanax!

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