Nik Wallenda, a member of the amazing acrobatic family and grandson of the daring wire walker Karl Wallenda, found his latest challenge on International Drive, right here in Orlando. After pulling off stunts like walking a tightrope stretch over Niagara Falls, he set his sights on the 400-foot tall Orlando Eye just a few days in advance of its official opening.
Wallenda walked on the moving wheel in a breathtaking display of bravery. He pulled off the feat despite wet and greasy footing, emerging from one passenger capsule, performing his stunt live on the Today Show, and climbing on top of another capsule for the descent back to earth.
Click the video below to see Wallenda’s full performance in front of the media and a crowd of astonished onlookers at I-Drive 360. While he was quite nonchalant about the whole thing, more than a few people were no doubt holding their breath as he walked along the rim of the slowly rotating wheel.
After pulling off his record-breaking wheel walk, Wallenda chatted with the press. You can see his interview below:
Wallenda hammed it up a bit, climbing up on the rigging to wave to the crowd below. He also took a one-of-a-kind selfie before popping on top the capsule to ride back down.
It was very exciting to have Nik Wallenda live in my adopted hometown. I remember in the 1970s when his grandfather Karl Wallenda, walked a tightrope at the long-gone indoor amusement park, Old Chicago, in Bolingbrook, IL. I wanted to see his performance so badly, but I didn’t get to go. Sadly, Karl was killed a few years later while attempting a stunt on a windy tightrope in Puerto Rico. He’d no doubt be very proud to see Nik carrying on the family legacy and upping the ante with each new stunt.
Wallenda is likely the only person who will experience the wheel in that very unique way. The rest of us can climb about the calm, comfy passenger capsules and watch the skyline safely as it spreads out below us. The view of Orlando and the surrounding area is quite impressive. On a clear day, you’ll even see the Atlantic Ocean.
Alas, the day of Wallenda’s stunt was a little murky, as you can see in the photo. Still, it was possible to see both Universal Studios and Epcot as it made its way to the top.
The Orlando Eye is part of the new I-Drive 360 complex on International Drive near Sand Lake Road, which makes it an easy hop from I-4 or the Orange County Convention Center. The Eye is owned by Merlin Entertainments, which is also the parent company of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the Sea Life Aquarium. both of which share the same building. Nearby, you’ll find Skeletons: Animals Unveiled, which shows a variety of critters from the inside out. Most of the attractions open on Monday, May 4, but Skeletons opens on May 1.
Read more about the other three attractions at the links below: