Parasailing In Orlando
As part of a fun filled vacation in Orlando, we golfed 9 courses, swam with the manatees, flew a WWII fighter trainer, rode and drove an Indy race car 140 miles per hour, went skydiving, saw some alligators and more on an airboat ride, and as usual, ate and drank more than we should have. As you can see, we wanted to do something besides the well known, popular, and expensive attractions like Disney World and Sea World and parasailing made it to the list.
But at the last minute, since we had parasailed before, the wife and I decided to spend our time chasing that elusive white ball around another golf course instead of parasailing. My brother Scott and his friend Lori took our place and headed over to Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre in Disney World to go parasailing.
Here is his account: A little history to set the stage, I have parasailed in the Gulf of Mexico, in Hawaii at Waikiki Beach, and in Jamaica. But for some reason, I was a little leery of flying tandem over a lake in the middle of Disney World. How could it compare to the ocean experiences! And I quickly found out - it turned out to be one of the best parasailing experiences that I have experienced.
We arrived at Sammy Duvall's about 11am. The sun was shining. There was not a cloud in the sky and we only had about 2 mile an hour wind. We were greeted by two fantastic guys, David and Mike, who gave us a quick introduction, walked us down the dock, loaded us on what looked like a custom built and very fast ski boat, and showed us our safety gear. My date was a rookie and very nervous - this was her first experience parasailing. I tried to reassure her that this was going to be very safe and fun, but I'm not sure it did much good since I was getting a little nervous. Dave and Mike were also reassuring and swore that they had never lost anyone! And off we went.
It didn't take long for the Master Craft with a huge V8 to reach 25 knots and after a few minutes we were locked into our harness and attached to the tow rope. Now Lori is really starting to shake! The "Happy Face Chute" quickly filled and we were lifted into the air and the rope continued to come off the spool as we ascended. Within minutes we were 100 feet off the water and then the smiles and giggles started as Lori started to relax and enjoy the scenery. You could see forever and it was amazing how huge Walt Disney World really is - we saw the three golf courses, the hotel (we quickly ascended well above it), Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Indy Racing Experience, and more.
We continued to ascend and Lori is having a blast - calm, smiling, exuding lots of "Wows", and throwing her arms in the air. The lake is not that big and as the boat turned right, the wind picked up, and the chute quickly ascended another 50 to 100 feet - now we're up to at least 300 feet and still ascending. Now I'm starting to get a little nervous as I see the lake, small boat, and 400 feet of line and start to ponder "that rope looks a little skinny, wonder what the weight constraints are on this harness, how do we get down, where is my life jacket" and I notice that the only hook holding the harness together looks pretty flimsy!
I told my self "forget about it - enjoy the experience." So I joined Lori with the giggling and arm waving and started enjoying the sights - which were unbelievable as we continued to ascend to 600 feet! All too soon the boat slowed and we started to descend back toward the boat. As we continued our descent, I was sure we were going to get a good dunking in the lake - were Dave and Mike paying attention. Of course they were, this was all part of the ride - dip up low and close to the lake, then accelerate, and take us back up as they continued to reel in the rope. Before we know it, our feet were back on the boats platform and we were taken out of the dual harness. What a fun and exhilarating experience.
Sammy Duvall is one of the most accomplished water skiers in the world - he won more than 80 professional championships, was #1 in the world for ski jumping or overall competition for 17 seasons. Sammy is in the International Water Ski Hall of Fame and is now operating his multi-faceted Watersports Centre at Disney World's Pleasure Island. In addition to 450' or 600' parasailing single or tandem flights, at the Watersports Centre, you'll find:
- personal watercraft rentals and guided excursions
- waterskiing, wakeboarding, or tubing
- bass fishing excursions
- ski, fishing, and pontoon boat rentals
- the ultimate surf, lifestyle, and eyeware store
Return to Orlando Vacation to read more about this fun filled, action packed vacation in Orlando.