Carl and Ellie grow up, get married and live in the restored house. Carl sells toy balloons at the zoo where Ellie works. After Ellie suffers a miscarriage and they are told they cannot have a child, the couple remembers their childhood dream of visiting Paradise Falls. They save for the trip, but repeatedly have to spend the money on more pressing needs. Finally in the present day, the now elderly Carl arranges for the trip, but Ellie suddenly falls ill and dies. By 2009, Carl still lives in the house, stubbornly holding out while the neighborhood homes are torn down and replaced by skyscrapers. When he accidentally injures a construction worker, the court deems him a public menace, ordering him to move to a retirement home. However, Carl resolves to keep his promise to Ellie by turning his house into a makeshift airship, using thousands of helium balloons. Russell, a young "Wilderness Explorer" who visited Carl in his effort to earn his final merit badge, for assisting the elderly, becomes an accidental stowaway.