Skyplex developer: Ride parts being built, themes being considered
As work on Hollywood Plaza inches closer to completion, developer Joshua Wallack continues to tackle his next major project: the $500 million Skyplex complex.
The planned 250,000-square-foot International Drive entertainment complex — anchored by the 501-foot-high Skyscraper polercoaster — was first introduced more than four years ago and has yet to break ground.
But Wallack's confidence isn't shaken. In fact, he's eyeing how to combine intellectual properties into the complex to help further enhance the attraction's longterm appeal.
Along with the Skyscraper, plans for Skyplex also include the 450-foot Skyfall drop tower, a 600-foot Skyfly zip line, the Skysurf park, the Sky Jump and SkyLedge thrill experiences, plus other features, such as a 450-room hotel and the SkyPlaza retail/dining area.
"Skyplex is a gigantic project," Wallack told Orlando Business Journal. "It's happening. We just have a lot incredible opportunities to determine."
The Skyplex team in May traveled to the 2017 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, in which the industry's premier brands and characters sought new business opportunities. Wallack didn't reveal if he's in talks with licensing firms, but stressed the unique opportunity he has to blend a global brand to his attraction.
Implementing licensed characters into products isn't something unknown to Wallack. He previously operated two companies that dealt with licensing in products: Railway Media, where Wallack provided portable pre-loaded movie players to Amtrak trains nationwide; and CR Media, where he provided pre-loaded Nickelodeon players to Hertz vehicle-rental customers in 49 airports.
The idea of incorporating themed characters into rides can help appeal to guests. But it's not something that's required if the attraction design — like being the world's tallest coaster — is the real draw in itself, said John Gerner, managing director of Richmond, Va.-based theme park consulting firm Leisure Business Advisors LLC, who isn't working on Skyplex.
"Intellectual properties can be good for an attraction," Gerner told OBJ. "But if the ride is about the thrill of the coaster, the developer may not need to dive too deeply into the character story aspect at all."
Six Flags is well-known for this, with Superman- or Batman-themed roller coasters that feature minimal theming like color schemes and some artwork to match the characters, Gerner said. The real appeal is the uniqueness of the coaster.
However, it couldn't hurt to have a well-known intellectual property tied to the project, if the opportunity arises and Orlando is well versed in successfully melding theming with rides.
Theme parks giants Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld all brand heavily with characters. But other regional attractions, like Fun Spot, have carved a niche with unique attractions. So, both avenues can work well for Skyplex as it moves forward — it's really just a matter of where the cards fall.
Meanwhile, work on Skyplex is progressing, as engineering of the tower coaster and the Skyfall drop tower are underway, Wallack told OBJ. And more opportunities for more potential additions to Skyplex are on the horizon, as the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo brings the tourism industry's ride/show suppliers to town again in November, Wallack said.
"Skyplex has a lot of space to fill and theme. Theming is tremendous in providing an immersive feeling inside of it that could be tied to the roller coaster. The opportunities to get artistic with properties can be huge."
That coaster dad  and that coaster kiddo .Road trip buddies for life. Dad's faves: Fury 325. Phantom's Revenge. Intimidator 305. El Toro. Skyrush. Kiddo's faves: Storm Runner. Banshee. Top Thrill Dragster. Valravn. Apollo's Chariot.
I hope these parts are for Skyplex. It's been quiet for a while about this project but if this is a sign that vertical construction is about to begin I take it.
Roller Coaster Traveler3Bross Parks of 2018: Efteling, Phantasialand, Walibi Holland, Skyline park, Europa Park, Walibi Belgium, Toverland, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach 2018 Rides: Fenix (Toverland), Tiki Waka (Walibi Belgium), Wicker Man (Alton Towers), Icon (Blackpool Pleasure Beach).
Coasterfriends.de found this image - It's from the fabrication plant where Intamin hardware is made. Could this be for the long-awaited Skyplex Orlando?
Every time I speak with Joshua Wallack (which was as recently as just a couple of months ago) he tells me that the Skyplex project *IS* still happening, but he's not a guy to rush into multiple projects and he says that "building a multi-billion dollar entertainment complex" doesn't happen overnight. I know he has one project here in Orlando that he is still finishing up, and he had always said that once that project is done (the garage & retail space next to Mango's) then the tower would start.
He had also told me in the past that the deal with Intamin was "done" but I don't know exactly what that means.
So it's *possible* that this is for that project, or it could also be for some new crazy escalator that Intamin is building.
There are now hundreds of new places to park in the tourist district of Orlando as developers see their vision for International Drive become a reality. Joshua Wallack, owner and operator of Mango’s Tropical Cafe, sat down with us on News 6 at 9 a.m. to talk about the progress being made and the plans for the future.
Wallack Holdings LLC opened Mango’s Tropical Cafe in 2015, in an effort to bring nightlife to the area. Since then, the developer opened the Hollywood Plaza Complex next door, which includes 900 parking spaces.
We also learned new details about the company’s Skyplex entertainment area which will feature the world’s tallest roller coaster, the Skyscraper. Wallack said the $500 million project was scaled back to $250 million in the last two years and will take up less of the 14 acres set aside for the project than originally planned. The coaster is still projected to rise 570 feet and include zero-g rolls. Wallack said that decision was made in part to leave room for a future hotel. Skyplex is scheduled to open in 2020.
The county is still working to making the area more walkable and safer for pedestrians. A proposed walking bridge is part of the I-Drive 2040 concept, a long-term effort to make the area more pedestrian-friendly and serve as the gateway to International Drive.
Still not buying it. I stopped by the site in summer 2016 (when they said it was opening in 2017/2018) and what do ya know, they still hadn’t cleared any of the buildings right on the property. I would love to see this actually happen, but it’s much more likely that this thing will finally get shelved instead of beating it around the bush till 2050.
1. The Voyage 2. Intimidator 305 3. Maverick 4. Skyrush 5. Mindbender (Galaxyland) 6. Fury 325 7. Kumba 8. Goliath (Georgia) 9. The Beast 10. Phoenix I’ve ridden 139 Coasters, and have been a coaster enthusiast since 2013.
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