Tag Archives: attractions

World’s Tallest StarFlyer Swing Ride Coming to International Drive

International Drive keeps growing and growing. You can already marvel at the huge Orlando Eye observation wheel being built, now another ride rivaling its height is coming next door. A StarFlyer swing ride will take riders up 420 feet.

Unicorp National Developments, the company behind the I-Drive 360 complex, announced the new ride today, and a new name for the complex which houses Kings Bowling, Sleuths and other stores next door to I-Drive 360. The plaza will be known as Vue at 360, a play on the 360 degree view riders will have on the StarFlyer.

This will be the second StarFlyer on International Drive. There’s a 230-foot one operating just down the street at Magic Midway. But this new one will be the tallest in the world at 420 feet. (The Orlando Eye will be approximately 425 feet tall.)

The StarFlyer is expected to open in late 2015 or early 2016. It will take riders up in 12 sets of double seats (24 total) on a three to four minute ride. A ride is expected to cost about $10 per person.

Here’s a look at the Sky Screamer at Six Flags New England. It stands approximately 400 feet tall:

Orlando Eye Construction On Track for a Spring 2015 Opening

With the inner wheel of the Orlando Eye now complete, construction of the massive outer wheel is about to begin.

Merlin Entertainments Ltd. plans to debut three attractions, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando Wax Museum and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, as part of a massive project being developed by Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. and New York-based Circle Entertainment Inc.

Once completed, the Orlando Eye will weigh about three million pounds. It will provide unobstructed views of the Orlando skyline, Central Florida theme parks, and on a clear day, the east coast and Kennedy Space Center. The giant wheel will include 30 capsules which can each hold 15 people. Riding the wheel will lasts 20 minutes and include a pre-flight five-minute film in 3-D.

The projected opening for these attractions is Spring 2014.

Bok Tower Gardens to Breaks Ground on $12 Million Expansion

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales will break ground on Friday, October 24 on a $12 million expansion… the largest expansion in its 85-year history.

Components of the expansion will include pathwork, Tower and Gardens restoration, and several new garden spaces including a Children’s Garden, Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden, Wild Garden and Pollinator Garden.

The new 2.7-acre Children’s Garden will be a place of hands-on fun, natural beauty, learning, and creative play. There will be beautiful art, cooling water features, vibrant plantings, a boardwalk, performance stage, and music area. Children will have things to climb on, under and through, as well as places to build, dig and create.

Adjacent to the Children’s Garden will be a new Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden that connects farm to table. Lake Flato Architects of San Antonio has designed an inviting outdoor open kitchen space in harmony with the landscape. Edible display gardens surrounding the kitchen will be a welcoming destination for daytime or nighttime educational programs and events showcasing lifestyle gardening and the culinary arts.

Seven acres of the northern garden are being transformed into a haven for wildlife and native plants. The expanded Wild Garden, encompassing the existing Window by the Pond and Endangered Plant Garden, will showcase a variety of Florida native plants and landscapes including an oak hammock, wet prairie, sandhill preserve, wetland and bog. A 170-foot boardwalk through this area will provide visitors with an immersive experience into the new landscape.

A gentle grade to a spectacular new oval walkway and special event lawn is being constructed behind the Visitor Center to help guests more easily find their way to Pinewood Estate, the Singing Tower, and the new expansion gardens to the north. This new gateway also features expanded outdoor cafe seating and a pollinator garden to attract birds and butterflies.

The expansion is scheduled to be complete by late spring of 2016.

Photo Update: I-Drive 360 Construction On Schedule

Construction of “I-Drive 360”, a new entertainment, dining and shopping complex is full-speed ahead in Orlando. The highly anticipated entertainment destination, located on 20 acres of property between International Drive and Universal Boulevard is scheduled for a Spring 2015 grand opening.

The complex will include attractions, restaurants and retail stores. The centerpiece attraction will be “The Orlando Eye”, a 425 ft. tall wheel. The eye will include 30 gondolas that sit 15 people each. When completed it will be the tallest structure in Central Florida. Other major attractions will include a 25,000 sq. ft. Sea Life Aquarium and a equally sized Madame Tussaud’s Was Museum as well as another attraction, Skeletons: A Museum of Osteology. Right next door to I-Drive 360 is Kings Bowl, a 30,000 sq. ft. 22 lane bowling and entertainment complex that is already open.

Some features of the project are nearly complete, and others a well underway. Here’s our photo update of the construction, taken 10/1/14…

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
View of the main fountain feature looking east towards the Terminal Building main entrance of the Orlando Eye. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
View from the main fountain looking north towards several restaurants and retail buildings. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
View of the pools and water fountain features looking east from the south side of the project. The Orlando Eye Terminal Building is in the background. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Another view of the pools, rock water falls and fountain features looking east from the south side of the project. The Orlando Eye Terminal Building is in the background. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
View of the pools and fountain features looking west from the north side of the project. International Drive is in the far background. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Another view of the rock water falls and fountain features looking west from the north side of the project. To the right is the Orlando Eye Terminal Building. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
A view from the lawn in front of the main entrance of the Orlando Eye. This photo is looking west towards International Drive. The landscaping is beautiful! (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
A view of the construction staging area under the Orlando Eye taken from the top level of the parking garage. Universal Boulevard runs to the rear of the I-Drive 360 development. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
A view of the Orlando Eye under construction taken from the top level of the parking garage. The Orlando Convention Center (round roof) can be seen in the center far left of the photo. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
A view of International Drive looking northwest from the top level of the parking garage. You can see McDonald’s (center right) at the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Road. (Click photo for a larger view)

 

SeaWorld Announces First-Of-Its-Kind Killer Whale Environment And More

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced that it plans to build new, first-of-its-kind killer whale environments and that it will fund new programs to protect ocean health and killer whales in the wild. The new projects will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art, innovative, homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come. As part of its vision for the future, the company also pledged $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and is embarking on a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health, the leading concern for all killer whales and marine mammals.

read more…

Orlando Officials Approve Massive I-Square Mall and Hotel Project

On Monday evening the Orlando City Council approved a massive new development that will redefine the north end of International Drive.

The $400 million I-Square Mall and Hotel project will be built on the southeast corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road. The state-of-the-art complex will include a 26-story, 729-room luxury hotel, a multi-level shopping mall, a 500-seat live performance theater, 100,000 square-foot convention center, food court, ice-skating rink and a 360′ high roof-top observation deck with rotating restaurant. Project developers envision a “flashy, Las Vegas-style complex catering to affluent travelers”.

When built, the I-Square Mall and Hotel will instantly become a landmark on North I-Drive. It will replace the International Shoppes strip mall, which will be demolished to make way for the complex.

I-Square Mall and Hotel is expected to begin construction in 2015, with a grand opening slated for the summer of 2017.

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Orlando Approves I-Drive MegaMall and Hotel

The developer of a new $400 million mall and hotel tower recently received recommended approval from the City of Orlando Planning Board for it’s master plan to build a multilevel shopping center and 26-story hotel on the corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road. Their next step will be going before the city council.

The iSquare Mall and Hotel will include 749 hotel rooms, 490,213 square feet of retail space, a restaurant, meeting space, skating rink, a 500-seat live performance theater and office space, plus an 11-story, 2,780-space parking garage. The complex will be topped with a rotating restaurant and observation deck that will be 360-feet tall, city documents showed. The project should take two or three years to complete.

The approved concept is a slightly smaller version of a plan that the developer originally submitted. The original version included a 32-story hotel and more than 1,200 hotel rooms.

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Road Trip Declared Americans’ Favorite Vacation

The summer travel season is officially under way, and Jiffy Lube – an industry leader in vehicle preventive maintenance – has confirmed Americans’ love for the open road. According to a recent survey fielded by Jiffy Lube International*, four in five Americans (78 percent) agree that road trips make the best vacations.

“Consumers love the freedom that the open road brings to their travels. Whether on a mission to find the best roadside diner in America or check a few national parks off their bucket list, road trips offer a little something for everyone,” said Steven C. Ledbetter, president of Jiffy Lube International. “Jiffy Lube is here to help drivers get to their final destinations worry-free while encouraging new adventures on the road ahead.”

Not surprisingly, this love for getting behind the wheel resulted in more than 80 percent of respondents sharing that they truly love their cars, with about two-thirds saying they’d rather drive across the country than fly. When it comes to road trip personalities, there is a clear divide between the “Planners” and the “Pilots.”  Forty-four percent of women put themselves in the “Planner” category, noting that they prefer to ride shotgun, control the radio and take charge of the maps. Forty-three percent of men put themselves in the driver’s seat, literally, classifying themselves as the “Pilots,” choosing to drive and make the decisions on when and where to stop.

CULINARY JOURNEY

Whether driving along coastal New England on a quest for the best clam chowder or going on a barbecue tour of the south, food is a big part of the trip for many. Half of those surveyed parked at a restaurant along the way versus eating while on the road. Even those who prefer to pack meals and snacks try to stop and enjoy surroundings, with 30 percent of Americans saying they like to pack picnic fixings for a stop at a roadside park or other scenic spot.

ROAD TRIP STYLE

You don’t always know where the road will take you or what you’ll need when you get there, which can pose a problem for those looking to pack lightly. Without a strict itinerary, two in three Americans (64 percent) find packing for road trips tricky, even sharing that 67 percent always over pack since they don’t have to worry about airline baggage fees, weight limitations or security restrictions. Regardless of how much or how little one packs, however, sweats reign supreme as the road trip uniform, with forty percent opting for sweat pants and t-shirts before piling into the car. That being said, more than 50 percent of both men and women always pack one must-have fashion favorite for once they reach their destination.

WHAT YOU ‘AUTO’ KNOW BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD

Preparation is the key to success for summer road trips. Before hitting the road, the car-care experts at Jiffy Lube suggest five quick tips to make sure your vehicle is road-trip-ready so you can leave worry behind:

  1. Keep Fluids Flowing Check the levels of all vital fluids, including motor oil, coolant, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid, and top-off, or change fluids, as needed. Motor oil does more than just lubricate moving parts. It cools engine parts, provides protection over a wide temperature range and even helps to protect the emissions system.
  2. Shine Bright Make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, parking lights and license plate lights are all working. Replace any bulbs that may have burned out and consider getting lights cleaned to remove haze and clarify the lenses.
  3. Beat the Heat Keep a gallon of distilled water in the trunk of your vehicle. If your vehicle starts to overheat, pull over to a safe location as soon as possible. Turn off the vehicle’s engine and safely raise the hood as water and/or steam could spray, resulting in injury. On modern vehicles it is important to note that cooling systems come in several configurations. The more traditional design includes a radiator with an integrated radiator cap and a coolant reservoir. Other configurations utilize a sealed radiator and pressure tank with integrated pressure cap.First step, then, is to identify the locations of the coolant reservoir, radiator cap or pressure cap via the owner’s manual. For vehicles so equipped, check the reservoir level and add water appropriately. If the vehicle does not include a reservoir, locate the radiator or pressure cap.  Do not remove the radiator or pressure cap until the system has cooled down completely, as injury may occur due to the release of scalding water or steam. Note, however, the system may still be under pressure even after cool down period. For optimal safety, use a towel to touch, slowly twist and remove the radiator or pressure cap, allowing access to add the appropriate amount of water.
  4. Get Rid of Junk in the Trunk Match the load rate of your vehicle (found in the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s side door) with the estimated weight of your family and the luggage you’ll be packing for the trip. Excess weight makes the engine work harder and consume more gasoline.
  5. Keep Your Tires Rolling Along Check tire air pressure, including the spare. Over- or under-inflation can weaken your tires, cause uneven tread wear and impact your gas mileage. Many drivers think the proper tire pressure can be found on the actual tire, however, that’s incorrect. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or to a decal often found in the doorjamb or glove compartment for the proper tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tire is cold/at air temperature. Do not check the pressure after an extended drive on the highway or after driving for more than five minutes.

To ensure your vehicle is ready to hit the road, visit JiffyLube.com to find your local Jiffy Lube service center; there, you can also find oil change coupons and promotions for your next visit. For additional road trip findings and tips, please visit the Jiffy Lube Instagram,TwitterFacebook and Google+ pages.

*METHODOLOGY

The 2014 Jiffy Lube Road Trip Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from June 25-27, 2014 among a sample of 1,021 American adults. Respondents, comprising 489 men and 532 women, were 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ± 3% at a 95% level of confidence.

About Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube International, Inc. (“Jiffy Lube”), with more than 2,000 franchised service centers in North America, serves approximately 22 million customers each year. Jiffy Lube pioneered the fast oil change industry in 1979 by establishing the first drive-through service bay, providing customers with fast, professional service for their vehicles. Headquartered in Houston, Jiffy Lube is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Visit www.JiffyLube.com to learn more about Jiffy Lube and vehicle care. About Shell Oil Company Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 90,000 employees in more than 80 countries. We deliver a diverse range of energy solutions and petrochemicals to customers worldwide. These include transporting and trading oil and gas, marketing natural gas, producing and selling fuel for ships and planes, generating electricity and providing energy efficiency advice. We also produce and sell petrochemical building blocks to industrial customers globally, and we are investing in making renewable and lower-carbon energy sources competitive for large-scale use. In the U.S., we operate in 50 states and employ more than 20,000 people delivering energy in a responsible manner. For more information, visit www.shell.us.

 

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It’s Official – Universal’s Diagon Alley Opens July 8

Universal Studios Orlando announced this morning that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is opening July 8.

A London Waterfront showcases Diagon Alley. This new section of the expansion includes King’s Cross Station, the Knight Bus, The Leaky Cauldron, Grimmauld Place, and includes several new restaurants, shows and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Guests will have to purchase a 2-day park pass in order to travel to both areas of the Wizarding World (Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

Watch this site as more details become available.

Get in on the excitement of Universal’s Diagon Alley and one of the most anticipated theme park attractions. Make your hotel reservations now. Check out the deals for lodging near Universal Studios Orlando