The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Orlando Eye forms centrepiece of US$250m I-Drive 360 development

Merlin Entertainments’ Orlando Eye sits at the heart of Orlando’s new US$250m (€224m, £163m) I-Drive 360 entertainment and dining destination, which opens to the public tomorrow (4 May 2015).

Developed in a partnership including Flag Luxury Group; SFX Entertainment; The Torino Companies; and Unicorp National Developments, The Orlando Eye will offer unparalleled views of Orlando and central Florida, including the nearby theme parks, attractions and even the Kennedy Space Center. The wheel’s 30 air-conditioned glass capsules have room for 15 guests, with a rotation taking 20 minutes to complete. The experience includes a pre-ride 4D cinema, sending guests on a virtual 3D aerial journey of Florida, using sensory elements such as lighting, wind, spray and smell to enhance the show.

Orlando-based designers AO&A worked on the project from its inception, aiding and developing creative content, design and production for the Eye’s guest experience.

In addition to the wheel, I-Drive 360 is anchored by Merlin’s Sea Life Orlando and a Madame Tussauds. Sea Life Orlando includes 30 different displays and three interactive ocean environments, while Tussauds offers a range of waxworks depicting celebrities around the world, with unique additions including a Walt Disney area for the theme park capital of the world. Skeletons, Animals Unveiled! – a first-of-its-kind museum – will join the attraction lineup with more than 400 animal skeletons exhibited at the visitor attraction.

Also included in the development are a number of restaurants and retail outlets, as well as a courtyard complete with a US$1.5m (€1.3m, £981,000) water show.

In addition to the new openings and still under development is a 570ft (173.7m) high Skyscraper Skyplex, which will include an observation tower, the world’s highest drop ride and the record-breaking Skyscraper coaster. The attraction is scheduled for launch in Q2 2017.

"On the heels of a record-breaking year for visitors to Orlando in 2014, I-Drive 360 is poised to become the newest and hottest offering," said I-Drive 360 director of marketing and sales John Stine. "We're thrilled to bring this experience, which is unlike anything else in Orlando, to complement the dynamic destination."

During a soft opening, the I-Drive marked the occasion by inviting "King of the High Wire" Nik Wallenda to traverse the 400ft-high observation wheel – the tallest on the US’s east coast – as well as appearances from Florida Governor Rick Scott, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, plus Sean and Catherine Lowe from ABC's The Bachelor.

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Merlin plans Orlando Eye attraction

Merlin Entertainments’ Orlando Eye sits at the heart of Orlando’s new US$250m (€224m, £163m) I-Drive 360 entertainment and dining destination, which opens to the public tomorrow (4 May 2015). Developed in a partnership including Flag Luxury Group; SFX Entertainment; The Torino Companies; and Unicorp National Developments, The Orlando Eye will offer unparalleled views of Orlando and central Florida, including the nearby theme parks, attractions and even the Kennedy Space Center.
CLD,VAT,DEV,INV
The 400ft-high observation wheel is the tallest on the US’s east coast / Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images for I-Drive 360
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Company profile: Alliance Leisure
The company’s core business is the provision of facility development and support for local authorities, educational establishments and leisure trusts that want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer.
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The Leisure Media Company Ltd
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