Like everything else we’re fortunate enough to be involved in with our friends from the Walt Disney Company, the Journey to Oz Balloon Tour was incredible. It was our first work with the gang at Disney Studios (and) while a completely different approach to ballooning when compared to anything we had ever done before, it was a promotion I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Promotions with our Disney family are often compressed into very short periods of time including prep, planning, construction, test and execution. The Oz tour was no different.

This was, by our definition, an exposure tour of the first magnitude. Everything we did with the exception of perhaps our visit to Disneyland was done with two things in mind, 1) network (national) exposure and 2) social media releases. From our perspective, it was
incredible to watch develop, let alone get to be a part of the team executing the plan.

We got our first chance to work with an IMAX Film Team on this promotion. What a treat to watch these young men create from nothing, the vision of the writing staff into a magic story line that we were able to enjoy first hand.

In the end, it is quite frankly another of our experiences with Disney that we just can’t express our gratitude enough for being allowed to participate in.

Take a look at some of our favorite moments from this exciting promotion …

 

 

Of course, in part, the movie ‘Oz the Great & Powerful’ was the story of Oscar Diggs and how he came to be the Wizard of Oz … before he could be the Wizard, he had to arrive in Oz and that is, as we all know, one of ballooning’s most famous fictional stories.

Our job in the Journey to Oz Balloon Tour was much easier … all we had to do was fly our beautiful “Great & Powerful” hot air balloon across the black & white countryside and leave “color” in our wake … Take a look :

 

 


Now you know how we did it, here are some of our favorite images from the tour …

 

The hot air balloon “Great & Powerful” arrived out of the fog at
Eagle Island State Park, Idaho on the morning of January 25, 2013,
with pilot Laurie Spencer at the controls. It was 14 degrees that morning.


Our first stop was the Disney Studio lot in Burbank, California to
(not only show off the balloon, but) give the IMAX Team a chance
capture B-Roll for some specific effects on their project.






“Great & Powerful” took its first flight in Perris, California with most all of
the ‘key’ team members present. The Southern California Balloon Association
was kind enough to invite us to share their sky …





And then it was time to get to work as we began our rehearsal and preparation for
the World Premiere of “Oz the Great & Powerful” on the streets of
Hollywood, California.






These two images (above & below) have been embraced by the hot air ballooning
community as the images that defined the Journey to Oz Balloon Tour …







We still had work to do, Laurie taught actor James Franco (the Wizard) how to operate
the balloons heating system in order for him to make a landing (and a unique entrance)
at the Jimmy Kimmal Show, see it by ‘clicking’ the link below.








Here’s a unique ‘fisheye’ perspective on our visit to the Langham Hotel in Pasadena, where,
over the next few days, we took part in the press tour for the movie.




Everyone knows that we don’t go anywhere in Southern California without stopping by
the “Happiest Place on Earth” to share a morning of hot air.
(absolutely our favorite morning of the tour)



The next leg of the tour required an equipment reposition of epic proportion to make a scheduled (one shot only) photo shoot with FOX Sports. Crew Chief Rob Ryerson and team member Rich Fuhriman ran from Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California to the Daytona International Speedway (in Daytona, Florida) in a non-stop, 2,506 mile, forty-one hour marathon.



Here’s “Great & Powerful” inflated on the ‘pit lane’ at Daytona International Speedway
in the basket we see FOX Sports, Jeff Hammond on-board with Scott & Laurie.
Laurie was responsible for the start/finish line graffiti …




The stunning “Great & Powerful” hot air balloon in New York’s Central Park.
Conducting a flight operation for Good Morning America. Despite very windy conditions
one of the top five highest viewed flight operations we’ve ever conducted.
This was also the location of the final scenes for IMAX.




And here she goes, the last deflation of the
Journey to Oz Balloon Tour (also in Central Park).


The end of the ‘Oz” tour marked the end of one of the most enjoyable balloon projects we’ve ever had the honor to be involved with. While the studio had their own ideas about how things should be done, you can’t argue the resultant exposure for the project. It’s also the only time we had more than three national live TV exposures in a given tour.

The question we get asked almost daily by balloonists from around the world is :

"What became of the iconic “Great & Powerful” hot air balloon ?”

It sits in the Lighter Than Air America, Inc., Boise, Idaho warehouse silently awaiting its next calling in life. From an operational perspective, Scott calls it the most remarkable and responsive flying machine he has had the honor to fly in his forty plus years of lighter than air flight.

 

This website, its service marks and all original contents are Copyright © 2014/2015
Scott L. Spencer
and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Spirit of Boise and Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic (and)
the Women’s World Balloon Championship (are)
trademarks of Scott Spencer’s Lighter Than Air America, Incorporated


PEAK Explorer and Spencer Air are trademarks of Scott Spencer’s
Lighter Than Air America, Incorporated


Tony the Tiger is a registered trademark of the Kellogg Company.

Coca-Cola script and The Coca-Cola contour bottle are registered trademarks of the
Coca-Cola Company.


Disney, Disneyland, Oz, Mickey Mouse and the Mickey Mouse balloon likeness are registered
trademarks of the Walt Disney Company.

No content or image on this web site or any of its included pages may be reproduced without
the express, written permission of Scott Spencer.

 

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Scott Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
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Scott Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot
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Scott Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
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Scott Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot
Laurie Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot
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Scott Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
Laurie Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
Scott Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot
Laurie Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot
Boise Idaho hot air balloon rides
Spencer Air
Lighter Than Air America
Disney hot air balloon
Coca-Cola hot air balloon
Coke hot air balloon
Scott Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
Laurie Spencer Boise Idaho Balloon Pilot Spirit of Boise Balloon Rally Hot Air Balloon
Scott Spencer Boise Idaho hot air balloon pilot