I haven’t been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida since I was just out of college. Needless to say, it’s been a few years, because Epcot hadn’t been open long. So it was a big surprise to see how much Disney had expanded when I recently attended a conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

One evening, we went to Downtown Disney for dinner and a little site-seeing. I didn’t even know there was a Downtown Disney! In the middle of this complex, I was surprised to see a giant balloon that was giving rides in a large gondola. “Characters in Flight” rises to 400 feet in a helium balloon, carrying 30 guests at a time. The tethered ride takes about 10 minutes, with 5 at the very top. From the view at the top, you can see all four of Disney’s parks. This view was taken with my iPhone as we walked around after dinner.

Characters in Flight is a balloon ride at Downtown Disney. The tethered ride rises to 400 feet in a helium balloon, carrying 30 guests at a time. This night view was taken with my iPhone after dinner.