This is part one of a two part post about Orlando’s newest – and definitely the highest – attraction, the soon-to-open I Drive 360 Orlando. This will be my preview post, and then I’ll follow up after opening with first impressions and fun stuff from the grand opening events.Yes, it’s true. Some of us are able to get in before the crowds and take a ‘spin’ around. But no, when I use the word spin I’m not referring to having been on the ride already because technically, well, it’s not quite ready and seriously, who wants to risk their lives just for the sake of scooping a story? Not the HH Maven, although during my days at USF we were privy to many opportunities to ‘ride the rides’ before the flood gates were open to the masses. But I digress with that little share because this post is not about a [now] 25 year old attraction. This is a preview post about the latest and greatest attraction that Orlando has to offer, The Orlando Eye.
I know you’re already thinking I’m a lucky gal, right? Well, yes, I’ll go ahead and agree with you because I’m not going to lie. It’s a really cool thing to be able to take a hard hat walk-through while the place is still empty and in advance of an estimated 2 million visitors (year one estimate) coming from every nook and cranny of the universe to see what all the fuss is about. But beyond the ‘cool’ factor I should also point out that I do make my living as a planner so, among other things, that means I like to know details in advance because how else can a planner avoid near disaster if she isn’t properly informed? Lucky for you I’m happy to share what I was able to learn about the I-Drive 360 which is the official name of what most people will refer to as The Orlando Eye.
So, for all you other planners out there, here is my list of Top FIVE Things to Know Before You Go which will be after the grand opening date of May 4, 2015:
- Parking – FREE as in F.R.E.E. , and they are serious about it because they built a 1600 space parking garage.
- Timing – the ride itself is 20 minutes for a full rotation, but add another estimated 15-45 minutes to cover the time it will take to get from the parking garage to the ticket booth, snaking through the normal cue, viewing the 4D Pre-Flight Cinema Experience (with multi-sensory blow-your-mind effects), and then finally boarding. Admittedly no one should be shocked at this process because we’ve already had years of experience with it at every other attraction, right? Also, each pod will hold up to 15 passengers. DAILY HOURS are currently set at 10AM-10PM daily Mon-Fri, with a midnight closing on Saturday & Sunday, but expect that plenty of the surrounding restaurants and nightclubs will keep spinning even later for your night time enjoyment.
- Pricing – I think you’ll be surprised at the affordability of this one with prices starting as low as $18.00 for online advance purchase adult tickets where you choose the date and time. For complete pricing go to Orlando Eye Pricing for all the details.
- Photo Opps – plenty, and yes, there is an official concessionaire inside the terminal building for those super duper perfect-pose memorable ones. But, also make sure to pony up to the anchor portion of the ride to snap a selfie because it was cleverly built into the overall architecture of this building. Sure to be ‘coming soon’ to a FB post Twitter and Instagram account that you have connections to and beyond. Very cool.
- Extra Stuff – more than you can imagine at this point, and definitely more than you will want to absorb or explore in one visit. (Hey, don’t blame me, that’s the point of building an expansive complex, right? Gotta get everyone to come back again!) More restaurants, nightclubs and food outlets than I could possibly mention in one blog post, but also a number of stand alone attractions that are worth the extra time and admission prices like Madam Tussaud’s Wax attraction, a Sea Life Aquarium, and Skeletons: Animals Unveiled, which will showcase, um, you guessed it, the inner sanctums of over 400 animals from around the world. Bones + Animals= Awesome Educational Entertainment.
So there you have it. A peak at what to plan on when entering Orlando’s newest attraction area. Oh, and one more really cool thing. At the base of the entrance will be an orchestrated water fountain show set to music and color changing lights with show times currently scheduled daily at the top and bottom of the hour. Why? Because it’s Orlando and we LOVE this stuff, right?