Orlando Eye Debuts at I-Drive 360

See recent posts by Amanda Geronikos

The centerpiece of Orlando’s I-Drive 360 has opened.

At a press event Wednesday, state and tourism officials unveiled the Orlando Eye with help from professional daredevil, Nik Wallenda (best known for walking a tightrope across Niagara Falls in 2012). “Nik isn’t going to break a record,” said John Stine, Director of Marketing for I-Drive 360. “He’s going to make one because nobody has been crazy enough to do this before.” And he did — Wallenda successfully walked the wheel before taking a celebratory selfie.

While visitors won’t be walking the wheel, they’ll be riding it in air-conditioned capsules, each of which hold up to 15 guests. Capsules provide minimal seating and a virtual audio guide, who explains what riders are looking at as points of interest come into view. Riders can see several landmarks, including Spaceship Earth, (a very tiny) Cinderella’s Castle, and on a clear day, Cape Canaveral. Beforehand, there’s also a chance to see an introductory show in 4D.

The long-awaited attraction is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast, rising 400 feet above ground. Officials expect the attraction to draw more crowds to the already wildly popular destination. “We had 62 million visitors last year, and we expect this to bring in even more,” said Orange County Mayor, Teresa Jacobs.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for kids when purchased online, or $25 and $20, respectively, at I-Drive 360 in Orlando. The best deal is the Orlando Eye Drive Experience, which includes admission to all three attractions at I-Drive 360 — Orlando Eye, SEA LIFE and Madame Tussaud’s — for $35 for adults and $30 for kids when purchased online.

The Orlando Eye officially opens May 4 (as does the entire complex), though preview hours and rates are available through the weekend.

— Amanda Geronikos

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