Orlando to Get Giant 'Eye' Ferris Wheel
Pawel Libera, Visit London
Merlin Entertainments, the same company that owns the landmark London Eye wheel in the UK, says the new shopping and entertainment complex to be called "I-Walk Orlando" should open in 2013, reports the Associated Press.
"I-Walk Orlando is destined to be a 'must visit' destination for Orlando's millions of visitors," said Nick Varney, Merlin's chief executive officer, reports the Orlando Sentinel. "With this project we believe Merlin, Unicorp and Circle Entertainment [partners in the project] will be bringing an exceptional group of new attractions to what is undoubtedly the best and most exciting location for family entertainment anywhere in the world."
This isn't the first time Orlando has been promised a giant observation wheel. Another firm announced in 2008 it was building a 400-foot Ferris wheel next door to the Orange County Convention Center, but that project never got off the ground.
The Orlando Eye will almost be as tall as its London counterpart, which stands at 442 feet. A Madame Tussauds wax museum is also in the works for the tourist attraction in Orlando.
I-Walk Orlando will be located about 1.5 miles north of the Orange County Convention Center, in an area which has been vacant for years. A shopping-and-dining center was knocked down in 2007 to make way for a new 350,000-square-foot complex of retail and restaurants, but the development never came to fruition.
Merlin is also opening a Legoland theme park nearby in October 2011.
For other bird's eye view fans, this May, the 200-foot SkyWheel Myrtle Beach is slated to open at the Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade in South Carolina, as its anchor attraction, providing beach and sea views. When it opens it will hold the title of largest Ferris wheel in the U.S., according to local tourism officials.
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