Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SeaLife Aquarium Complex Announce New Name, I-Drive 360, and Release Brand New Details 04/17/14
At the beginning of the year we called the massive, $250 million Orlando Eye complex one of the Top 5 biggest developments impact-wise of the year. Now has yet another new name, I-Drive 360, and a delay in the opening, now set for Spring/Summer 2015 but new details confirm that this project will instantly become a must-see in Orlando once it does finally open.
You may recall the complex was known originally as I-Walk Orlando, then after concerns of the name being too similar to CityWalk just up the street the name was changed to I-Drive Live then that name was dropped due to zoning concerns. With the new name came a slew of specifics on all the Merlin based attractions.
“The success of LEGOLAND Florida has underlined to us the potential for Merlin’s high quality global attractions in Central Florida; and particularly in Orlando, undoubtedly the best and most exciting location for family entertainment anywhere in the world,” said Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments PLC. “We believe that this is an exceptional group of attractions which will not only provide three quite different new experiences for visitors; but also together add an exciting new dimension to what is already available in the region.”
“We are very excited to be bringing some of Merlin’s best-loved global attractions to International Drive. SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds have already proven their popularity with audiences across North America; and in Europe and Asia,” added James Paulding, Head of Openings for North America, Merlin Entertainments. “From 2015, these two, together with the unique views from the Eye will become must-do experiences for every visitor to Orlando.”
The 25,000sq ft SeaLife Aquarium, the first true stand alone aquarium attraction in the greater Orlando market, will feature a 360 degree underwater ocean tunnel along with touch pools and children’s soft play area. Over 5,000 different sea creatures, including sharks and sea turtles, will be on display.
The Madame Tussauds wax museum, which will sit across the Orlando Eye terminal mirroring the SeaLife Aquarium, will feature A-list party, Sport, and Music History sections. A rendering of the new A-List party section was released at yesterday’s news conference. The room will feature a faux balcony overlooking a large mural of Lake Eola and downtown Orlando.
The focal point of the entire development will be the 425 ft tall Orlando Eye observation wheel. 30 air-conditioned capsules will take guests, 15 per capsule, on an 18-20 minute trip around the wheel. The hub and spokes for the wheel should begin being constructed by end of May. Before boarding the wheel, guests will view a 4D film in the terminal building. The film will include special effects such as wind, scents and simulated fireworks.
Other tenants for the new development include Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Seafood Republic, a country bar called Cowgirls and the soon to open Yard House. Titanic The Experience, Bodies Exhibit, Dick’s Last Resort, Ben & Jerry’s, Pretzelmaker, Cafe de Paris, Tin Roof, Bar Jour and Sugar Factory have also been announced.
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