As we first reported earlier this week, the Characters in Flight attraction at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney was recently closed abruptly for an unscheduled inspection. Now, word comes from the tethered balloon’s operators that rides on the attraction will be suspended indefinitely.
The ride was first closed suddenly after a the balloon’s operator, Aerophile, experienced a mishap at their location in Hong Kong with a similar balloon. In the accident, the Hong Kong balloon sprang a leak and plunged more than 180 feet. Five people were injured in the accident but no deaths were reported.
However, Aerophile has now stated that it will not resume normal operations with the Disney balloon at this time, once the inspection has been finished. From Aerophile’s president, Jerome Giacomoni, via email earlier this week:
The balloon of Orlando was scheduled to be replaced in November. Instead of re-inflating it after the inspection — which is a significant cost — we have decided to take it down for now and expedite the replacement work. “We don’t know when it will reopen yet, but we hope soon.”
We will keep you posted as soon as we hear more news regarding this popular attraction.