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Orlando Eye set to open on International Drive in spring 2015

Added: Apr 17, 2014
Category: New Orlando Attractions

ORLANDO, Fla. —International Drive is getting a major makeover, giving vacationers and locals yet another reason to head to the tourist area.

Merlin Entertainment gave new details Wednesday on the arrival of the latest attraction, the Orlando Eye, which is set to open in spring 2015.

THE ORLANDO EYE

The Orlando Eye is halfway done and will be 400 feet when completed. It will provide views of Orlando theme parks, downtown and on a clear day, the east coast and Kennedy Space Center. It contains 30 capsules which can each hold 15 people. The observation experience lasts 20 minutes and includes a pre-flight five-minute film in 3-D.

"It's really a pleasant experience as you see the surrounding areas. It doesn't feel like a Ferris wheel," said James Paulding, with Merlin Entertainment Group.

Did you know?
- The Orlando Eye weighs about 3 million pounds.
- The wheel hub weighs more than a Boeing 737 at over 180,000 pounds.
- It takes over 150 40-foot trailers to ship all of the wheel components.
- The capsules feature two A/C units, color changing LED lights, Bose audio system for music/narration.
- The glass covering the capsules is crafted in Turkey.
- Capsules are assembled in Budapest, Hungary and shipped to Florida from northern Germany.

Inside of the Eye, guests will be able to experience the Madame Tussauds wax museum and the SeaLife Aquarium.

MADAME TUSSAUDS

Madame Tussauds, the No. 1 wax brand in the world, has been operating for more than 200 years. This will be the 19th location.
Did you know?
- Each Madame Tussauds figure costs $300,000 to make.
- The figures take about three to four months to create.
- Every hair is inserted individually by hand either directly onto the head, or very occasionally a wig base where this is felt to more accurately reflect the style of the person.

SEALIFE AQUARIUM
The SeaLife Aquarium is 25,000 square feet and features a 360-degree under water ocean tunnel. The 350,000-gallon, 12-feet-deep ocean tank contains sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, octopus, jellyfish and rays.

Guests can also journey from the wetlands and swamps around Lake Apopka, to the colorful Florida Keys and tropical shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2013, Orlando welcomed 59 million visitors.

"I think everyone here knows we have the best theme parks and attractions in the world. I could not be more excited about what we have right here on I-Drive," Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said at the announcement.

The facility will create 300 new jobs.

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