It was 4:00AM, dawn was barely breaking, the sound of my alarm drowning; it was time to go! You’ll have to wake up really early if you want to catch the sunrise in a balloon’s basket, that’s part and parcel of the most beautiful things to do when traveling. You’ll have to wake up early. Very early. It took me 20 minutes to find the place, I missed un-missable balloon signage.
Jax, Orlando Ballooning’s delightful Marketing Manager greets me with a cup of coffee and a whole lot of enthusiasm, “I was worried you wouldn’t make it”, She said. Truth is, any opportunity to be in a hot air balloon shouldn’t be missed, even if it requires you to be on the road at 4 in the morning.
They have the most amazing team in the world, and I’m saying this with my hand on heart. The Captains, headed by Capt. Mike Camerford are the friendliest, most hilarious team; good energy all around. I couldn’t stop laughing at their jokes and banter. Everyone was just really happy to be there doing what they love. I was welcomed like an old friend.
This is not my first hot air balloon ride, I’ve done this across 6 countries around the world, some even crossed airspace borders. I’m becoming a pro in this department, perhaps, but every single time I see the sunrise from a hot air balloon, I am put in a place where the 8 year old Lucas Raven is drawing with crayons. A happy place where memories of the colors we knew, and thought were lost, are brought back to life.
Did you know that you can actually count at least 7 shades of orange, 9 shades of pink, 4 shades of blue and green from watching the sunrise at least 1,000 feet above the ground. The calmness of the horizon, the overwhelming colors, the strangers you meet, all of a sudden become your friends. You will be sharing childhood moments with people in that basket. You’re not actually in the balloon, just so you know, you’re in a vast wicker basket being pulled by the balloon that’s powered by hot air. Physics guys.
When in Orlando, you must add Orlando Ballooning to your “must do’s” and if it’s not in there yet, add it on your bucket list! You can thank me later.
The landing of the balloon is as thrilling as the take-off, everything in between is serene and float-like. The post-landing ritual was enjoyable. We popped a bottle of champagne at an empty field that seemed like the country side, while crows and birds were flying above us, as we said the Balloonists Prayer:
“The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with it’s warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well,
that God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back again,
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”
It’s absolutely one of the most amazing experiences I’ve done in America. 5 stars, hands down. For your own kaleidoscope of colours, find them on Facebook: @OrlandoBalloonRides
Orlando Balloon Rides
44294 US Hwy 27
Davenport, FL 33897