French firm announces US installations
Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is one of the latest tourist spots to get a giant, tethered balloon from the French company Aérophile. The attraction will take guests 300ft into the air to view the vistas of Walt Disney World Resort starting spring 2009.
With the opening of this latest installation, Aérophile will boast balloons at the most popular parks and resorts in the USA, Europe (Disneyland Resort Paris – pictured) and China (Ocean Park, Hong Kong). Four others will also open next year in the United States.
Up to 30 passengers at a time will be able to ride the new attraction at Walt Disney World, taking a six-minute trip that offers unparalleled 360-degree views for up to 10 miles. The balloon will be the newest and largest available in the Aérophile range, an Aero30 model with a volume of 210,000 cubic feet, a 72ft diameter and a height of 105ft. It has a quick mooring system and a landing platform designed especially for Downtown Disney.
Aérophile, the world leader in captive balloons, pioneered the concept in 1993 at a castle in Chantilly, France, and now boasts around 50 systems in 25 countries. A number of these it operates itself, including the Air de Paris balloon, which changes colour according to the air quality in the French capital.
The balloons are also great revenue generators, directly and indirectly. At the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, for instance, the balloon contributed to an overall increase in mall takings of 5%. As well as the money made from riding the attraction, the balloons can also generate significant sponsorship and advertising revenue.