Balloon Fiesta Presidents Compound Pros and Cons

Discover the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Presidents Compound: Pros and Cons Unveiled! Get an insider’s look at this exclusive destination’s perks and considerations in our insightful blog post.

Pros and Cons of Balloon Festival Presidents Compound

RV Reservations go on sale on January 10th, 2024. Which RV lot do you want to be in?

We have gone to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta three times now. And as the old saying goes…, the third time is a charm.

I have been trying to get into the President’s Compound since the first time we went and never had any luck.

Hot air balloons at dusk in santa fe, new mexico.

The first time we went was in 2019 for my 60th birthday trip.

Since it was a last-minute thought, we couldn’t get any of the Balloon Fiesta spots so we had to go with the Winnebago group.

It was fun but it wasn’t cheap.

The second time we were planning on going for the 50th Anniversary.

That was the year Covid hit and it was postponed.

It finally did happen in 2021 and so we went.

Once again, the website crashed and I didn’t get a spot.

We ended up going with Adventure Caravans. And once again it was not cheap.

Third Time’s a Charm

So January 11th, 2023 rolls around and the RV reservation bookings go on sale. It’s first come first serve.

I had 3 computers going on 3 different internets, my cousin was also trying to get a spot.

Neither one of us got anything!

Pros and cons of the famous Balloon Fiesta, including exclusive access to the Presidents Compound.

So, I signed up for the waitlist for the Premium South lot and for the President’s Compound.

She tried to sign up for the waitlist but wasn’t even able to do that. The website wasn’t cooperating.

Luckily, since I had a few computers going, I was able to sign her up for the waitlist for both as well.

A group of kites flying in the sky.

The Email Arrives

Eight days later, I received an email stating I had a spot in the south RV lot.

I snatched it up.

A few days later, my cousin got hers as well.

Four pictures of hot air balloons flying over a rv.

July 24th, The Magical Day

With just a little over 2 months until the Balloon Fiesta starts, I received the email letting me know that a spot had opened in the President’s Compound.

I had thought about it and actually wasn’t going to take it. But my husband said I had been trying for it for three years and this might be my last time at the fiesta, so why not take it.

Several rvs parked in a parking lot.

Actually, it costed less than the previous two years when we went with the Winnebago crowd and Adventure Caravans.

So, I took it.

A couple of weeks later, my cousin got her email.

More Balloon Fiesta Posts

Presidents Compound Day of Arrival

For all three times that we went to the Balloon Festival, we always arrive the Monday before and leave the Monday after. We like to avoid the traffic.

The days before are half price so that wasn’t bad. We stay at the Route 66 Casino RV park that is about 15 miles away.

We are able to make sure we are caught up on laundry, we are showered, and all our tanks are empty.

There is electricity and water on site so there is no need to fill the fresh water tank.

We both got up at 5:00 am and left by 5:30 to beat the traffic and were told it was rally-style parking, first come first serve and we wanted to be next to each other.

A car driving down a highway at night with a street light and the PRESIDENTS COMPOUND in the background.

We knew from the email that the first two rows were taken by VIPs and board members, so weren’t going to get those spots.

The third row was fine with us.

The directions to get there were pretty self-explanatory. The problem was that it was dark and we couldn’t see the street signs.

But we found it okay. Just look for the water tank.

A white water tower.

Upon arrival, there were 7 RV’s already there. We were like..what time did y’all get here?

Three rvs parked in a parking lot under a cloudy sky.

They said they had arrived the night before and were told they could boondock in the parking lot.

If we had known that, we would have done it too. Even the dog was tired that morning. lol

A husky dog is sitting in the window of a white suv parked outside the Presidents compound.

The Gates Opened

The gates were supposed to open at 8:00 am but opened shortly thereafter.

You enter one at a time and they escort you to your spot.

A car is parked in a parking lot with a sign.

We were in the third row right next to each other so we were happy.

The Good

The good things about being up in the President’s Compound is that you could see everything from where we were.

A lot of hot air balloons flying in the sky.

We were able to get some great pictures and if we didn’t feel like trekking down to the field because we were too tired or too cold, we could still watch it all right from the top of the hill.

The fireworks were amazing.

Fireworks exploding in the sky.

It was only steps away from our camper.

The Not So Good Things We Didn’t Know

  • The way it was worded made it sound like there was no limit to the pump outs. Unfortunately, they only supplied three for two weeks (the south lot gets two for $100 a night). For $250 a night, we felt we shouldn’t have to pay an extra $30 to be pumped out if we needed it.
  • However, you did get 4 passes that you got you in for every session all week.
A group of tickets and a laptop on a table.
  • For the majority of the first week, there was only 1 port a potty. Towards the end of the first week, they brought another one in. However, for all those RVs, there should have been more. The south lot has a ton of them.
A blue truck parked in a parking lot near the Presidents compound.
The Stool Bus!
  • It was a long walk to get to the shuttle to take you down the hill. The information stated that there was handicapped transportation to take you down to the field and back if needed. We had a handicap transport once for the entire time we were there. The south lot shuttle pickups are a lot closer and more of them.
A truck pulling a trailer in a dirt field near the Presidents compound.
  • When you arrive, most will set up there chairs along the fence line so you can watch the morning ascension or night glow and fireworks right from the hill. As the week progressed, there were people that arrived and moved chairs away from the fence. They thought they were entitled and there were a lot of screaming matches going on. The people in the south lot are a lot more friendlier.
A group of chairs are lined up on a grassy field.
  • The North VIP lot is right next door to the Presidents Compound. It was a stone’s throw away from our RVs to walk down the ramp that literally about 50 ft from us. There were also port a potty’s too. However, there was a gate that they locked because supposedly the lot had Homeland Security and sharpshooters in it. Sure, it made us feel safer. But also made us feel like we paid a lot of money for nothing.
  • There was not a lot of room in between campers. In the south lot, we were able to park our car in between campers. In the Presidents compound, we couldn’t even put our awning out.

Presidents Compound Final Thoughts

If I were to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta again, I would most likely stay in the south lot for most of the reasons mentioned above.

Do I feel it was worth the price? No, not at all.

It was a nice experience for the most part, but for $1500 more than the south lot, I would have preferred to be elsewhere.

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Balloon fiesta presidents compound is a special area designated for the highest-ranking officials. In this exclusive section, presidents can experience the exhilarating and breathtaking views of the balloon fiesta to their

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