Looking Back: Construction Progress at Disney Springs from 400 Feet Up in the Air!

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Saratoga Springs Disney World

Even in 2018, Disney Springs is still undergoing a massive shopping and dining transformation, and it’s really cool to see all the progress from up in the air. These photos were taken in early July of 2016. Check out our tip at the end on how not to pay retail prices.

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.

Read: Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

Starbuck Disney Springs

Starbucks at Disney Springs

Characters in Flight Disney Springs

You go up and up and up, which doesn’t take very long.

Disney Springs boathouse

Disney Springs Boathouse restaurant from the air

Until you are right above everything…

Disney springs construction

Disney Springs ariel view

Disney Springs photos

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.

Disney Springs pictures

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.

shopping at Disney Springs

Disney Springs buildings

Disney Springs Characters in Flight

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.

Disney Springs construction 2016

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.

Disney Springs balloon ride

Disney Cast Member building

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.

Characters in Flight

where is Characters in Flight

Disney Springs balloon

AMC Theater Orlando Disney Springs

You can see the Dolphin and Swan buildings way behind what was Disney Quest (it’s changing to something else in 2018.)

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.

DisneyQuest at Disney Springs

This parking area is by La Nouba by Cirque De Soleil (which is also changing in 2018.) 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.

parking at Disney Springs

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.

Disney Springs

Disney Springs view from balloon

Saratoga Springs Disney World

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.

ride Characters in Flight for $10

The balloon itself is colorful, while the gondola is more roomy than one would expect.

Characters in Flight

Characters in Flight balloon

save on Characters in Flight

PhotoPass Tip

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…

Characters in Flight picture before flying

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.

selfies at Disney World

Characters in Flight selfies

Characters in Flight photo tips

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 heights?

400 feet is pretty high, even when you know you are surrounded by netting.

scared to fly at Characters in Flight

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.

Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs: Go for the View but Skip the Cupcake

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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