5 Future I-Drive Attractions Coming Soon

5 Future I-Drive Attractions Coming Soon

It seems that every time you head down I-Drive these days, things look different. From the mammoth Orlando Eye, to rad restaurants and pristine landscaping, new stuff is all over the place. And guess what, Orlando - we're just getting started. We've sifted through the venues, experiences, bars and attractions that are in the works on a street that began back in the 1960's. Now, more than ever before, it does for tourists what the Las Vegas strip does in Nevada – International Drive serves as the core of Orlando’s tourism area.

And it could get more - ahem - "Vegas-y" as soon as spring.

The first 4 of our 5 are part of the massive complex called I-Drive 360 which is a short drive from most of the popular vacation rental home developments:

1. The Orlando Eye

The outer circle is complete. Developers say installation of the 30 gondolas should start in less than two weeks. Once they're put in, the Eye will look 60 feet taller than it is now.

Developers cringe when people refer to the Orlando Eye as a ferris wheel. Like the new 550-foot High Roller in Las Vegas, you don't board this thing thinking you're going on a "ride," per se.

"It's actually an observation wheel over a Ferris wheel," Project Manager James Paulding told our Scott Fais last April. "With a Ferris wheel, it's a free swing gondola. This is a stabilized-driven (capsule) that gives you a really smooth experience on the way around, so it doesn't feel like when you're at 400-feet, that you're swinging around in mid-air."

Each gondola is designed to hold 15 passengers comfortably. They're equipped with two AC units.

Unicorp National Developments says they're on track for a spring 2015 opening.

1 of the Orlando Eye Gondolas about to be fitted to the wheel

One of the Orlando Eye Gondolas about to be fitted to the wheel


2. Sea Life Orlando Aquarium

Next to the Orlando Eye is Merlin-branded Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, which just got an underwater tunnel put in. The new attractions also set to open in the spring, according to both its official website and Unicorp president Chuck Whittall.

Sea Life promises face-to-face encounters with sharks, hands-on touchpool experiences, more than 5,000 creatures, and an interactive “Talking Aquarium."

The highlight is a submerged 360-degree tunnel with Plexiglas floor.

SeaLife Orlando

SeaLife Orlando


3. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

When the aquarium opens, so will Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, says Unicorp.

In November, Ricky Martin was on site at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas to introduce his brand new wax figure to the world. Martin’s figure will eventually travel to its permanent home here.

“It was such an incredible experience to take part in the Madame Tussauds process,” said Ricky Martin, in a press release. “I’m truly amazed at how much work has gone into making this figure as authentic as possible.”

Martin personally selected the clothing his figure is wearing. The ensemble comes from the wardrobe of his latest world tour.

Madame Tussauds is world-renowned for the creation of detailed and lifelike wax figures that pay homage to A-list celebrities from film and television, sports icons, musicians from all genres, and notable figures from history and pop culture. Professional artists and sculptors take more than 500 measurements to recreate world-famous icons.

Talk about the ultimate selfie!

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Orlando

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum Orlando


4. Star Flyer

Breaking ground "hopefully" this year, according to Whittall during our chat on Monday, is the Star Flyer. It's touted as the world's tallest swing ride.

Once completed, the Star Flyer will stand taller than the currently bigger swing ride (of its kind) in the world, the 409-foot-tall New England SkyScreamer. That opened in May at Six Flags New England.

The Star Flyer will be built at the former Gooding's Plaza, which is now referred to as Vue at 360.

Back in November, Unicorp projected a late 2015, early 2016 opening. Rendering of the attraction can be found in our previous article.

Star Flyer Orlando

Star Flyer Orlando


5. Skyscraper

Also expected to break ground this year is a crazy vertical coaster called the Skyscraper. This thing is bonkers. It's 570 feet tall. The track whips you around at speeds of 65 mph. You'll get all kinds of funky views of the future Skyplex entertainment complex, so riders may do a double-take of the restaurants and retailers.

The track is almost 1-mile long. Eight people can fit in a vehicle. The coaster's capacity is 1,000 people per hour.

The project is estimated at $250 million, with ground-breaking set for 2015, and the facility opening in 2017.

Sky Scraper Orlando

Sky Scraper Orlando