Just off the phone with Disney and no one there seems to know what’s happened or why – but the Characters in Flight Balloon at Downtown Disney closed until further notice for all future available calendar dates. It may not reopen.
There was an accident recently involving the same model and make of balloon from the same manufacturer and operator as the Characters in Flight balloon at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. The same Aero30NG balloon was installed at Ocean Park, Disneyland Paris, and Walt Disney World. Logic would dictate that this incident would lead to inspections of the similarly installed ride systems, but has instead – according to guests live on the scene at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World – prompted the compete removal of the balloon itself from the location. So as of right now, there is no balloon at the location.
Otherwise, no one at Disney seems to have any further information on the situation at the moment. There are rumors of financial problems with the ride operator, Aerophile, and subsequently the attraction remaining closed permanently.