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Characters in Flight closes at WDW's Downtown Disney

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Published: July 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

The Characters in Flight balloon ride in Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney has been removed following a crash of a similar balloon at Ocean Park in Hong Kong.

Characters in Flight at Walt Disney World
Characters in Flight at Walt Disney World, in 2010. Don't look for the balloon in Downtown Disney now. It's gone.

Company officials are inspecting the Character in Flight equipment, and there Is no word yet when the attraction might return.

Readers' Opinions

From Caroline Davis on July 1, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I wonder if they've closed the one at Disneyland Paris as well? They have one too called Panoramagique.
From Robert Niles on July 1, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Yes, the Disneyland Paris balloon is closed now, as well.
From Anthony Murphy on July 1, 2012 at 2:47 PM
Well, that was fast! I never got to ride it because of bad weather. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise since FL can sometimes be unpredictable.

Its quite popular in DLP however!

From Aaron Moore on July 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM
I know its a popular attraction but every time I've been to Downtown Disney, it's always been closed. And after reading the story, I don't blame Disney for closing the attraction.
From Brian Emery on July 2, 2012 at 7:13 AM
Oh no – In May we went Downtown Disney 3 times trying to get on that balloon ride.. Each time it was closed due to thunderstorms within 20 miles of the ride… Now I will never get to go up on that balloon…
From Skipper Adam on July 2, 2012 at 12:46 PM
As if something else closing at DTD is uncommon enough to have an article anymore.
From 186.52.192.15 on July 2, 2012 at 6:07 PM
I worked since the characters in flight balloon open april2009 as chief of maintenance , i was fired seven months ago for complainnig about risks of budget cut on envelope repairs, i and six others were replaced by unexperienced young kids that dont complain, also Tod Jolley was put in charge, this person is a risk taker , he is reckless and has no consern in the safety of flight, this meant he would fly in winds over 20 miles per hr. And storms closer than 30 miles to make money. Thats why if your were ever on the ground and saw the balloon sway crazy around the sky it was unsafe, but money needed to be made , this balloon needed to be reguated by Disney and it never was, if you ever past and saw an ugly white patch on the side of the balloon? That meant it was taken over by fungus and the envelope needed to be replaced and it wasent, the cable on the balloon was not replaced until it had six yes SIX frey's I was told to lie to Disney inspectors about the safety of the balloon or i would find myself out of a job, so i did. Ready Creek inspectors and WDW Staff were clueless about how dangerous this operation really was. Eric Garcia Characters in Flight first GM was also forced out of his job because of safety issues, he put the safety of the people before business and was fired, then came Mark Roberson an ex marine that would push the balloon to dangerous levels loosing almost all the staff pilots in the process, he also left after france dicided he was week managment material, and now Mr. Turd Jolley who also will run the Pigeon Forge balloon also made by Aerophile...so you can expect a future accident there as well
From Skipper Adam on July 3, 2012 at 7:24 AM
To clarify, this mismanagement is Aerophile and not Disney?
From Chad H on July 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Anon, I really hope you take your concerns to the relevant safety authority (The FAA?)
From 216.228.80.78 on July 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Wow, the former employee certainly sounds rather disgruntled! Perhaps he was terminated because he was one one the employees that always stood around in nice weather and wouldn't fly the balloon last year! I've enjoyed my visits to downtown Disney and have been on the balloon many times with my friends and family. We've always had a great time and never felt unsafe! I'm certain that Disney has high safety standards and would not permit an unsafe operation. Looking forward to the return of the balloon!!!

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