Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Up up and away with Sundance Balloons!
Who said that you had to travel abroad to fulfill your bucketlist? Yes, if you look, you can find your dream adventure right at home and it can be just as rewarding as if you travelled abroad.
This is not a sponsored post and as always, all opinions expressed are my own.
High up on my list of adventures to do was hot air ballooning. While it is true that I did envision fulfilling this dream while ballooning over a vineyard in Italy, or high above the Grand Canyon, I am just as happy to have had this fantastic experience right here in Ontario with Sundance Balloons. Ontario offers so many activities and adventures and a hot air balloon ride must be added to the list.
About Sundance Balloons
Sundance Balloons has its head office in London, Ontario, and has flown over 30,000 passengers across Canada. Since beginning its operation in 1985, Sundance Balloons has grown to be one of the world’s largest hot air balloon operators, offering flights in cities across Canada:
- Calgary, Alberta
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Grand Prairie, Alberta
- Toronto Area
- Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
- London, Ontario
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Winnepeg, Manitoba
Due to the weather found in Canada, flights are only offered during the spring, summer and fall between the months of May and October.
Booking Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure
Booking your hot air balloon adventure with Sundance Balloons is as easy as 1, 2, 3. You can either book online or call and book over the phone.
Just One Tip: I recommend booking your hot air balloon adventure at least one month in advance
You are able to book a flight for one and join other adventurers, you can book the entire balloon for a group of your friends, or if it is romance that you are seeking, book a private flight for two. Being a solo traveller, I booked a flight for one and I joined nine other passengers on this adventure.
Before booking your hot air balloon adventure, you must take into consideration the time of day you prefer to fly. Do you want to take a sunrise flight or sunset flight. I am definitely not a morning person, but I decided to take a morning flight in order to watch the sun rise across my city.
Immediately after booking your flight, email confirmation will be sent outlining the flight date and time, as well as an instruction sheet, waiver form (bring this with you on the day of the flight), and newly added is the COVID questionnaire, which is also to be brought with you on the day of your flight.
Preparing for a Hot Air Balloon Adventure
Confirming Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure
The instructions received upon booking, contain the telephone number for the flight line. If taking a morning flight, you will be instructed to call the flight line number after 11:00 p.m. the evening before. If taking an evening flight, you will be instructed to call after 2:15 p.m. on the day of the flight. At this time you will be advised as to whether your flight will be taking off, based on the weather (more on this below), as well as the meeting place for take-off.
My adventure departed in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario. There were 3 places that the captain could choose to depart from. The departure time and spot is given when contacting the flight line.
Cancellation of Hot Air Balloon Adventure
Safety is always of the upmost concern when taking a hot air balloon adventure. If the weather isn’t just perfect, the hot air balloon adventure will be cancelled and you will then have to re-schedule. Unfortunately, the weather in Canada is extremely unpredictable and flights are often cancelled. The status of the scheduled flight will be determined prior to the designated time for contacting the flight center.
What Weather Conditions are needed for a Hot Air Balloon Ride?
In order for a hot air balloon flight to proceed as scheduled, the winds must be less than 10 knots, with no rain or approaching storms in the forecast. Flights also require a visibility of at least 4 kilometres (2.48 miles).
What to Wear and What to Bring on Your Hot Air Balloon Adventure
I know that it is safe for me to assume that not all of us have taken a hot air balloon flight in an open-air basket over 7,000 feet in air before and you may be wondering what to wear when going on this adventure. I have only two recommendations on how to dress for a hot air balloon adventure:
- Dress in layers;
- Do not wear flip flops or heeled shoes. Running shoes are best (you will have to climb in and out of the basket);
- If you are sensitive to sun, bring a hat;
- Bring completed waiver form that is provided in your confirmation email;
- Bring completed COVID form which is provided in your confirmation email; and
- Bring a camera to capture the breath-taking views from above.
What to bring and what to wear for your hot air balloon adventure will also be addressed in the information sheet you will receive from Sundance Balloons upon booking or all of your questions will be answered by visiting their website.
COVID-19 Precautions Taken by Sundance Balloons
Like all businesses in Canada, the government has placed COVID-19 conditions and restrictions on hot air balloon adventures in order to keep employees and guests safe. Sundance Balloons has introduced the following precautions for your enjoyment and safety:
- Each passenger must complete a COVID-19 questionnaire which is provided with your confirmation email;
- The number of guests have been reduced to 8, plus the pilot (usually it is 10 guests, plus the pilot);
- Plastic barriers have been installed to separate passengers;
- Post flight Champaign has been temporarily postponed;
- Guests must wear face masks.
My Hot Air Balloon Adventure
Arrival for Hot Air Balloon Adventure
I was scheduled for a sunrise flight from Kitchener-Waterloo which typically has 3 departure locations:
- Victoria Park
- Concordia Club
- Waterloo Rod & Gun Club
When I contacted the flight line the night before, I was advised that my flight would be departing at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, and I was to be at the Waterloo Rod & Gun Club by 7:00 a.m.
Upon arrival, I checked in with a member of the flight crew and gave him my waiver form and COVID questionnaire. I then waited until all passengers arrived while watching one of the hot air balloons being fired up for a private flight.
The flight crew are the employees who remain on the ground throughout the flight and follow the hot air balloon to meet it at the landing site
Hot Air Balloon Departure
Once all passengers had arrived and checked in, we were given a safety briefing and the hot air balloon that I would be riding in was fired up and prepared for departure.
Once the air in the balloon reaches a certain limit, we climbed in the basket while the pilot continued to use the fire to blow up the balloon even more.
The pilot releases fire into the balloon approximately every 2 minutes throughout the flight. It is very loud!
I was giddy with joy to finally be taking this hot air adventure which had been on my bucketlist for so long and I couldn’t wait to see the views from high above. Since this hot air ballo0n adventure departed from the city, I expected to see city streets, houses and high-rise building. I was pleasantly surprised to see farmland as far as the eye could see, as well as forests and numerous streams. The scenery was spectacular and out of this world! It was like being transported into another world.
Hot Air Balloon Flight
The pilot said that the weather conditions for my flight were absolutely perfect and we were able to do tree-tops and water-dips throughout the flight. The hot air balloon was lowered enough for us to grab leaves from tree branches and it was lowered even further so that we were able to skim the water of the river. The water was so clear and we were able to see the bottom. The highest we flew during our 1 hour flight was approximately 2,500 feet.
At the end of our hour long flight, we landed in a farmer’s field. The landing was so smooth that I didn’t even fell the slightest bump.
The flight crew were on the ground to meet us, as was the Mennonite family whose field we landed in. The flight crew packed up the hot air balloon while we chatted with the Mennonite family and had some pictures taken.
Once everything was packed up, we all loaded into the van and we were transported back to our departure location. It is at this point that we normally would have been served our Champaign, but instead we all went on our merry way.
Check That One Off My Bucketlist
This adventure had been on my bucketlist forever, and while I had always envisioned having this adventure somewhere abroad, I am more than happy that I was able to do it right here at home. For those of you afraid of heights, you need not worry, as I am also terrified of heights. The pilot will keep entertained throughout the hot air adventure and believe me when I tell you that you will be so immersed in the beauty below, that you will not even notice that you are so high in the air.
JOIN ME FOR MORE ADVENTURES
Taking a ride on a hot air balloon is one adventure that I would highly recommend to anyone who loves beauty and adventures and I for one can’t wait to do it again!
SAFE ADVENTURES 🙂
PIN FOR AN ONTARIO ADVENTURE!