In 2010, I had dinner at Wolfgang Puck Cafe, and I was seated by the window overlooking the super blue waters of Lake Buena Vista. It also afforded me a view of the Characters in Flight as it went up. And down. And up. And down.
It just looked so damn beautiful, hovering out there over the lake. And I wanted to go up and up and up. But the price tag had me like … eh?! So I didn’t go up that evening. And every time I visited Downtown Disney after that, I sort of just … put my head down and kept walking … I just really couldn’t justify the cost. So I didn’t even try.
But, gosh, how I love to watch that helium-filled balloon take to the sky.
So I was so excited in May when Dan from At Disney Again found a deal on Groupon: Two go up for only $20! We bought it immediately with no hemming and hawing. (And those of you who follow us on twitter likely saw us tweeting about it at the time.) But I was sort of bummed that we weren’t going to be able to use it any time soon.
And then! Dan, as usual, surprised me. The morning of our cruise, he picked me up from the airport and instead of driving us directly to Port Canaveral … he charted a course for Downtown Disney.
He’s basically the best ever. Just as we’re about to set sail on a romantic, just-the-two-of-us vacation of a lifetime, he surprises me with a romantic, just-the-two-of-us balloon ride up above the most magical place on earth. (He also took me to the recently-opened Boathouse for lunch and to the recently-opened Vivoli il Gelato for dessert, as well.) He wins at boyfriending, that’s for sure.
We parked in the new parking garage and made a bee line for the Characters in Flight kiosk. I’m not going to lie or mince words: Downtown Disney is in sorry, extremely messed up condition right now. And walking around down there sort of makes me sad. And also really annoyed. I feel like parts of the area have been under construction literally for years.
But once we were up in the air … oh! I mean, it still looked like crap down below. But it looked like crap from 400 feet up in the sky with the wind blowing through my hair and the thrill of the very-unlikely-possibility that I’d fall to my death. Exciting! And really very beautiful. Not the construction. But what lies beyond. I could see Expedition Everest. And the Tower of Terror. And Spaceship Earth from up there. It was breath taking.
And then it was over. And I was bummed. I wanted to go back up immediately. Ten minutes is just too short when the Vacation Kingdom is unfolding before you. So I’m keeping an eye on the Groupon. If you see it come up, make sure to tweet at me!