Disney Springs is undergoing a massive shopping and dining transformation, and it’s so cool to see all the progress from the air. You have to pay for this view in person, but today you get to view everything for free. Check out our tip at the end on how not to pay retail prices. These photos were taken in early July of 2016.
Let’s get this balloon trip started!
My first suggestion, adding a little more money to your flight bill, is to stop by Starbucks about 9:15 a.m. Parking will be easy this time of day, since stores don’t open until 10 a.m. Hang out for a while. Enjoy your drink and the view. About 9:40, head over to buy your tickets and proceed to the Characters in Flight balloon.
Another great place to eat? Plus with our suggestions, you can do it for less that you thought it would cost.
You go up and up and up, which doesn’t take very long.
Until you are right above everything.
You can really see the new shopping area from this vantage point, the section of new shops grouped together with the brown roof color. Sprinkles Cupcakes has the red umbrellas. The new “springs” is the water you see in the beautiful green. Many restaurants will be located here along the water.
Notice the first of two completed above ground parking garages. While it was a pain in the butt as they were being built, the garages make parking 100 times more simple than before.
You can see the resort bus pick up and drop off area, which is a closer walk than it was when located over by Saratoga Springs.
Behind the second parking garage, you can see the Casting Center, which looks a little like a cruise ship on land perhaps?! This building is the employment and recruiting center for Walt Disney World. The unusual building was designed by famed architect Robert A. M. Stern.
The balloon shadow is exciting to spot. Be sure to get your camera lens/iPhone lens close enough to the netting so you don’t see it in the picture. Otherwise you’ll get a shadow.
You can see the Dolphin and Swan buildings way behind Disney Quest.
Notice the multi-colored road? This road is part of what they have been constructing for what seems like forever. The gray-colored area is for Disney bus transportation to use, which sure makes it easier for car riders now. You won’t be waiting behind a Disney bus anymore because they have their own roadway here.
This parking area is by La Nouba by Cirque De Soleil. We park here sometimes, and it’s also an easy pick up/drop off spot if you need to deposit or collect part of your group.
You can really see for miles from this high off the ground.
This is the view looking at the Saratoga Springs Resort back toward the Disney Springs area. The pools and the Springs water sure stand out from high above.
And that’s your complete circle view of Disney Springs and Saratoga Springs Resort.
Our Money-saving Tip!
If you arrive before 10 am, flights are $10, which is a significant savings from the regular $18 per adult and a little savings from the usual $12 per child under age 10. It’s called the Early Bird Special.
The balloon itself is colorful, while the gondola is more roomy than one would expect.
In one of the rare places that PhotoPass photographers do not operate, the Characters in Flight employees will not take photos with your own camera. I asked, and the photographer said she could not. So unless you want to purchase the photo they take with their camera, that will not show up with your PhotoPass photos, take your own.
Not to sound cheap, but I took my own picture…
Speaking of pictures…Take lots of photos while you are in the balloon, and do it fast. You stay in the air for 8 to 10 minutes, but this goes by fast. Before you know it, you are headed back down. And that ride to earth doesn’t seem to take long either.
I am too accident prone = scared to be hanging my expensive camera out through the net, so I just used my iPhone, and placed the camera lens right up to the netting.
Speaking of scared…are you…of height?
400 feet is pretty hight, even when you know you are surrounded by netting.
Hang onto the edge of the gondola for support. There is even enough room to sit down if you really start to have issues, but according to our pilot, most people are just fine. If you ave problems with motion sickness, stare at a fixed point off in the distance. The balloon will not fly in winds that cause extreme rocking.
Thanks for stopping by to see the new Disney Springs pictures, and we’ll see you, walking around and shopping, after 10 a.m. when the Early Bird Special has ended.
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Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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