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NEWS: Merlin brings The Orlando Eye & more to Orlando!

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All those additions sound "nice", but to be honest, quite boring. I am not a fan of all those chain restaurants. I mean, If I am travelling from far away, why would I want to go to a place that I can find at any mall/strip center in anywhere USA? Why not put in a wallymart too while they are at it ? It all sounds very generic to me. Give me local and/or unique anyday over a chain place.


I'm with you on that. When I travel I try to avoid the chain restaurants because I can go there anytime. I like the more local ones. But when you are marketing a project the big names draw attention. Maybe after this thing gets started local places will start popping up.


People are creatures of habit. 9/10 times they'll gravitate towards the places they are familiar with instead of taking the risk of trying a new place while on vacation.


I have seen it first hand with my part-time side job at Flippers, a local pizza chain here in Orlando. We have had customers come in and say they were looking for Pizza Hut. I too prefer to try out local places, especially when it comes to pizza, but in the tourist areas of Orlando you certainly have a multitude of chain restaurants, and they seem to do pretty well as they provide that level of familiarity that Joey mentioned.


Also, if They owners are charging a premium price to rent out the space in their facility, the chains may be more likely to have the resources to be able to start a new location there than a start-up.

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^The other piece of that is some of the chains are "famous," but not available where the person lives. My personal example would be Carrabas and Waffle House, which don't have California outposts, so I make it a point to visit those when I can!

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I can now see the Orlando Eye from KT's school and it's only halfway up I think!


I imagine you'll get some nice views, on clear days, of Disney, Universal, and the legendary Old Town.

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  • 10 months later...

Merlin Entertainments has sent us a press release regarding the latest milestone reached on The Orlando Eye project.


This week, The Orlando Eye provided a sneak preview of the brand new passenger capsules that will eventually be installed onto the observation wheel, once construction on the outer wheel is completed later this year. Each glass capsule weighs approximately three metric tons (6,600 pounds), or the average weight of an Indian elephant or a baby blue whale.


The first set of the glass capsules arrived on the site earlier this month after making a transatlantic journey from Northern Germany. The glass covering the capsules was crafted in Turkey, and then each capsule was assembled in Hungary.


The installation process is unique to the Orlando Eye, as each capsule will be attached to the wheel by a shaft and hangar attached to the top of the capsule, making it a first for an observation wheel that uses the ski lift capsule design featured on the Eye. This system will keep the floor of the capsule level to allow guests to walk around for optimal viewing.


Day or night, whenever guests begin their journey on the Orlando Eye, they will be effortlessly lifted away in a bubble of calm and serenity to enjoy the 360-degree views above the hustle and bustle of the city below. Every capsule will offer guests the comfort of air-conditioning, a bench seat, lighting and audio effects for the 20-minute flight experience.


“Construction on the Eye is moving at great speed, and once the outer wheel has been completed, it will be exciting to see the installation process of the capsules,” said Orlando Eye General Manager Robin Goodchild. “Approaching that milestone signifies just how close we are getting to our spring 2015 grand opening.”


All in all, there will be 30 capsules installed, which means that up to 450 people can experience the incredible 360-degree views at one time.


Located at the I-Drive 360 entertainment and dining complex, the Orlando Eye will be anchored by Madame Tussauds Orlando, the celebrity wax attraction, and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, the immersive underwater experience, rounding out three of the top global brands in Merlin Entertainments’ portfolio of exciting new attractions.


Fun facts:

  • Each capsule weights three metric tons (6,600 pounds) or as much as an Indian elephant
  • All 30 capsules will have seating, air-conditioning, lighting and audio effects to enhance the guest experience
  • Up to 450 guests can take in the 360-degree views at one time on the Eye, which include nearby theme parks, attractions, lakes, lush landscape, downtown Orlando and much more
  • Once the structure is complete, the Orlando Eye will be 400 feet tall and weigh approximately three million pounds, making it the tallest observation wheel on the U.S. East Coast
  • Each capsule has 10 panes of glass, weighing almost 1,300 pounds


Here is a photo I took today showing the outer wheel's construction progress!



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Cool picture indeed! Interesting that they went with a steel structure instead of the spoked wheel design a la London, Singapore, Vegas.


Always found it a jaw-dropping contrast that of the four 400'+ wheels in the world, three were $150-200million projects featuring elegant designs from world class firms, while the fourth is a clunky steel-structure wheel reportedly pieced together in China for just over $7million.


I would assume Arup is engineering this. Anyone knows?

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  • 1 month later...

Drove by the Orlando Eye on the way to Sea World today and wow is this thing huge. It looks like all the spokes were now in place and all that's left is attaching the cars to it. I wonder how it compares in size to the ferris wheel that used to be up the road at what was Circus World/Boardwalk and Baseball? I remember that wheel being huge and visible for many miles.

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Orlando is (not so) suddenly going all up in the sky with major future attractions.


The Eye, the Star Flyer, the PolerCoaster (my spell)... there's going to be a lot to ride "up there", heh.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Today Merlin hosted Theme Park Review and invited media to witness the beginning of the installation of the first passenger cabin of The Orlando Eye. Now that the wheel is complete the 30 passenger cabins are ready to be attached to the wheel. Interior work on The Orlando Eye Terminal (lobby) along with the 4-D Experience pre-show seems to be progressing as well, with the full experience set to open in early 2015.


This is what we're here to see today!


See these things? These keep the passenger cabins attached to the Eye.


The setting for today's story!


Nerd shot!


When the wheel is complete, these wheels will have the ability to move down on to the Eye structure to control the ride's motion and speed.


Time to lift the car into place!


It took a few tries since the process has to be so precise, but after a few minutes the arm was attached to the cabin...


The first bolt was put into place, starting a 2-4 hour process required to fully install each passenger cabin on the wheel. At least one cabin will be installed today with the remaining 29 set to be installed in the coming days.


Still plenty of work to do, but this was a definite milestone in the construction process!


We can't wait until The Orlando Eye is fully built and open to guests!


Such an awesome logo!

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  • 3 months later...

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