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Depiction in the series
Pinkie Pie and Spike use the Twinkling Balloon to report on the Running of the Leaves race in Fall Weather Friends. The ponies use it to fly to Cloudsdale for Rainbow Dash's competition in Sonic Rainboom. Pinkie uses the balloon again in Party of One to provide her Singing Telegram to Rainbow Dash in her cloud home.
In The Return of Harmony Part 2, the ponies use the Twinkling Balloon to fly with Fluttershy in order to capture the brainwashed Rainbow Dash. In The Mysterious Mare Do Well, Cherry Berry rides the balloon and it ruptures, plummeting toward the ground. Cherry Berry gets whisked out of the balloon by the masked pony later dubbed "the Mysterious Mare Do Well", and Rainbow Dash subsequently collides with the balloon, crashing with it at the base of a tree.
In Wonderbolts Academy, Twilight Sparkle and friends use the Twinkling Balloon to access the Wonderbolt Academy. Cherry Berry, with her helmet, lets other ponies ride the balloon in Spike at Your Service, and at Applejack's barn she receives the balloon back, looking quite annoyed. In Magical Mystery Cure, Fluttershy gives Cherry Berry bits in exchange for use of the balloon.
In The Gift of the Maud Pie, the balloon is pictured on a "For Sale" sign.
The balloon is seen outside Rainbow Dash's Cloudominium in The Cart Before the Ponies.
The toy Twinkling Balloon has been released twice, first in a release named "Twilight Sparkle's Twinkling Balloon" and "Twilight Sparkle Twinkling Balloon", suggesting that Twilight Sparkle owns it, and later in a Kohl's exclusive release named "Friendship is Magic Twinkling Balloon". The copy on on the first toy release's packaging states "Twilight Sparkle loves to study the stars up close from her hot air balloon" and "Twilight Sparkle loves her hot air balloon!"
The balloon and a pony in it are silhouetted by the Explore Equestria logo.
The Twinkling Balloon appears in the RI-A cover of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #2 with Twilight Sparkle piloting it. The balloon later appears in the Baltimore variant RE cover of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #32 with Rarity dangling from a rope attached to it.
The Twinkling Balloon appears in Gameloft's mobile game, carrying characters that have been purchased but not welcomed. Multiple balloons can appear simultaneously.
There is a McDonald's Happy Meal "interview" in which Pinkie Pie says "I can fly in my balloon".