Tag Archives: Orlando

I-4 Maitland Interchange Project Begins

The extensive revamping of the Maitland interchange on Interstate 4 (I-4) has begun, as construction crews work to remove the large dirt mound on the eastbound side of the highway.

The gently rising hill, known humorously as Mount Maitland, had been built years earlier to reinforce the spot after a huge, ancient sinkhole was found during an earlier improvement project. In order to stabilize the area, the construction team pumped grout into the sinkhole. The strong supportive material eventually filled an underground area that was as large as a football field and the equivalent, top to bottom, to the SunTrust Center office tower.

With the ground now stabilized, the mound on top is no longer needed, and its removal signals one of the first highly visible starting points for the I-4 Ultimate project. By the end of the project, commuters should see great improvement in traffic flow around the interchange, as well as a beautiful, curving pedestrian bridge over I-4 that increases safety and visual appeal.

The effort to revamp a 21-mile section of the interstate to address the current and future needs of Central Florida is expected to take six and a half years. However, there are incentives to have the Maitland portion of the project finished in three years.

The dirt from the mound is being piled in a nearby open field. As construction on I-4 Ultimate continues, that excavated dirt will be used to build up the base of the new roadway.

On the road? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide.

Summer 2015 Brings New Family Fun to I-4 Amusement Parks and Attractions

Amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, museums, zoos, aquariums, science centers, and other attractions across the United States and Canada are rolling out an exciting new lineup of fun in 2015. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) releases its annual compilation of new attractions opening this year and highlights 2015 trends, including innovative roller coasters, guest-immersive dark rides, and experiences based on classic brands.

Roller coasters opening at theme parks from coast to coast feature the latest incarnations of the guest-favorite thrill ride. Coaster designers have once again pushed innovation to new levels as never-before-seen ways to spin, flip, and speed along the track are unveiled. This year coasters employ new track and launch technology to provide a variety of options for theme park guests.

Dark rides set to immerse guests in the realm of fiction and take them on unforgettable journeys are also opening at several parks. Dark rides typically combine graphics, animatronics, and a conveyance device (car, train, or boat) in an intricately themed indoor environment to transport guests to a different world. Some rides make the guest a part of an incredible story, as they are asked to aid their favorite superheroes, fend off undersea monsters, and more.

New attractions featuring classic brands enable guests to take their fandom to the next level. Pop culture brands including Lego, Crayola, The Harlem Globetrotters, DC Comics, Star Wars, and more appear as familiar pieces of new experiences.

According to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2014-2018 report, more than 375 million people visit theme parks in the United States and Canada on an annual basis, contributing US$18.8 billion to park revenue.

Below are some of the exciting thrills I-4 travelers will enjoy this season:

The Crayola Experience opens in Orlando, Florida, featuring 25 kid-friendly, hands-on experiences based on the popular crayons in a 70,000-square-foot facility. crayolaexperience.com/orlando

Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, transforms Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, doubling the number of shops, restaurants, and other venues at the complex. The new area will open in phases starting in 2015 and include Morimoto Asia, a one-of-a-kind dining experience created by Chef Masaharu Morimoto of “Iron Chef America” fame. The two-story pan-Asian restaurant includes  open terraces, a grand hall, private rooms, long bar, cocktail lounge, waterside seating, and more. Disney Springs also features The Boathouse, an upscale waterfront dining experience with live music, available water taxi tours, and a gourmet menu. disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, debuts a reimagined “The Great Movie Ride” in partnership with Turner Classic Movies. Guests journey through eras of film and see clips, hear audio, and explore the history of movie classics. disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/hollywood-studios

Disney’s Polynesian Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, reopens with refurbished guestrooms, an all-new childcare area called Lilo’s Playhouse, a completely renovated Nanea Volcano pool area, a new children’s water play area, and an enlarged deck to accommodate poolside seating. The renovated Great Ceremonial House lobby features open areas, plus the new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, a highly themed lounge area, an enhanced Captain Cooke’s quick service restaurant, the all-new Polynesian Pool Bar & Grill, and the Pineapple Lanai kiosk. disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/polynesian-resort

Fun Spot America in Orlando, Florida, adds “Space Invader” and a permanent version of “Air Race.” “Space Invader” swings guests back and forth while they are riding on seats attached to long metal poles. The “Air Race” flips riders in barrel rolls as they rotate around a central point on this carousel-style ride for thrillseekers. fun-spot.com/O_Orlando.aspx

I-Drive 360 in Orlando, Florida, brings together Merlin Entertainments’ attractions Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium, and the Orlando Eye. Madame Tussauds features wax figures of worldwide celebrities in music, sports, politics, science, and more. Sea Life Aquarium contains more than 5,000 creatures and learning experiences. The Orlando Eye Ferris wheel is 400-feet tall and offers scenic views of the surrounding area. The complex also includes Skeletons: A Museum of Osteology, which showcases 300 animal and human skeletons in a 7,500-square-foot exhibit space. i-drive360.com

Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, Florida, unveils its themed hotel and Heartlake City area. The 152-room hotel includes Lego-themed accommodations, a Master Model Builder Workshop exclusively for hotel guests and Legoland’s Model Shop. Heartlake City, an attraction geared for girls, features the “Friends to the Rescue” show and “Mia’s Riding Adventure” horse-themed spinning roller coaster. florida.legoland.com

The Orlando Science Center expands its KidsTown area. The 11,000-square-foot exhibit features hands-on activities that replicate real-world jobs for children under the age of 7. osc.org

SeaWorld Orlando debuts the all-new show, “Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High,” a hilarious tale filled with amazing animals and splashy audience fun. The comedic sea lion duo is joined by mischievous otters, a 2,300-pound walrus, and a cast of goofy human characters.

About IAAPA The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,800 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States, and it maintains regional offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Orlando.

On the road? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide.

King Kong Roars To Life At Universal Orlando Resort in Groundbreaking New Attraction

King Kong will rule at Universal Orlando Resort next year in the groundbreaking attraction, “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.”

The new attraction will open in the summer of 2016 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure – and will be an intense, all-new adventure brought to life in a dramatically themed environment. Skull Island: Reign of Kong will pull guests into a powerfully told story where they become part of the next generation of the Kong legend.

It begins as guests are transported deep into a wild and mysterious world, where their mission is to discover creatures of unknown origin – but where they are soon fighting for their own survival. Their journey will take them through an ancient temple inhabited by hostile natives, a perilous jungle ruled by prehistoric creatures, a foreboding underworld of caves concealing unspeakable terrors – and face-to-face with the colossal Kong himself.

Universal Creative is working closely with Peter Jackson, famed director of 2005’s blockbuster movie, “King Kong,” to immerse guests in this incredible adventure.

“King Kong is a Hollywood movie legend and a huge part of both our history and our future,” said Mike West, Executive Producer, Universal Creative. “He gives us the opportunity to tap into everything that makes our film history so special and everything that makes our theme park attractions so spectacular. We can’t wait to bring him to life in such an epic way.”

Known as “the eighth wonder of the world,” Kong has been called “the experience for which movies were invented.” Since first appearing on screen in 1933, “King Kong” has been re-made twice – each time on a tremendous scale – earning seven Oscar and three Golden Globe nominations.

And now – in even grander and more realistic form – the Kong story continues to grow. “Skull Island: Reign of Kong” will open in the summer of 2016. More details about the mega-attraction will be released over time. Visit www.universalorlando.com/ReignofKong for more information.

Orlando’s Holy Land Experience Gaining Reputation as More Than a “Theme Park”

It’s a one-of-a-kind destination for fun, relaxation, and inspiration in the heart of America’s vacation paradise. It’s also a place where individuals and families are coming to receive a life-changing touch from God.

As tens of thousands of vacationers travel to Orlando, Florida over spring break to enjoy the area’s world-class attractions, many are making a point to spend a day or more at Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Holy Land Experience, the unique vacation and worship destination in the heart of Central Florida where the land of the Bible comes alive, and where people are experiencing God’s presence in a powerful way.

“This is more than a theme park,” explained Holy Land Experience manager Mike Everett. “From the quiet and peaceful garden spots throughout the park, to the dynamic and award-winning dramatic productions, interactive exhibits, and even the great play area just for kids — every facet of Holy Land Experience is designed to give individuals and families an unforgettable vacation experience while bringing them closer to the love and life-changing power of Jesus.”

Among the most popular venues in the park is the 2,000-seat Church of All Nations, a state-of-the-art auditorium and worship center that is packed throughout the day with guests who come to experience such acclaimed theatrical productions as Forgiven, The Four Women Who Loved Jesus, The Fullness of Time Has Come, Legna — and The Passion, an unforgettable reenactment of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, during which many Holy Land Experience guests receive a powerful touch from God.

Whitney Lynn Rivera, an award-winning actress at Holy Land Experience, said that she and other actors have the opportunity to pray with guests during and after the productions, and individuals and families are powerfully impacted everyday. “People actually come to Holy Land Experience expecting to receive miracles,” she said. “People come here expecting to be healed. People come here wanting an encounter with God, and they get it!”

Les Cheveldayoff, who has portrayed Jesus at Holy Land Experience for several years, added that the presence of God guests experience during the dramas at the Church of All Nations permeates every inch of the park. “Throughout the day at Holy Land Experience,” he said, “wherever our guests find themselves, God is there to touch them in a life-changing way.”

Among the many unique and memorable interactive exhibits that bring the Bible to life and impact guests at the Holy Land Experience are:

– The Dead Sea Qumran Caves, a re-creation of the mysterious place where many ancient Bible manuscripts were discovered. The exhibit includes a replica of the Upper Room in Jerusalem, where guests can participate in a Last Supper Communion with Jesus and His disciples — and where many have found healing and wholeness.

– The Wilderness Tabernacle, the heart of worship for the children of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. In this awe-inspiring exhibit the High Priest takes guests on a journey through Israel’s ancient priesthood, culminating with a breathtaking depiction of God’s glory revealed above the Ark of the Covenant.

– The Great Temple, the holy place held in highest reverence among the Jewish people. This is a truly breathtaking representation of the temple that once stood on hallowed Mount Moriah in First Century Jerusalem.

– Calvary’s Garden Tomb, a convincing representation of the sacred place where Jesus was laid after His crucifixion — and from which He was gloriously resurrected!

– The world-renowned Scriptorium, a combination museum, library, and research center that holds a collection of priceless manuscripts, scrolls, biblical antiquities, and artifacts. The enlightening presentations that accompany the exhibits offer visitors a close-up view of Bible and church history.

There is also the exquisite Christus Gardens, that features a rare and beautiful art collection of antique figures depicting the life of Christ.

And younger Holy Land Experience guests will enjoy the Smile of a Child Adventure Land, where they can burn up plenty of energy on the totally safe rock-climbing walls and bouncy houses, have their faces painted, and join in kid-style worship and fun!

Guests emphasize that a day at the park is a deeply moving experience that brings tears of joy and worship, along with plenty of laughter and good old-fashioned fun:

– Betty from Colorado said that her day at the park “was one of the most spiritual and moving experiences ever…. I left filled with the Holy Spirit.”

– Linda from Georgia said that “I was touched with compassion by all of the live re-enactments. It really made the Bible come to life.”

– Victor from Florida said that his day at Holy Land Experience “made me laugh, cry, and feel the Lord’s presence.”

– Robert from Illinois said that “the anointing of the Holy Spirit touched my heart and moved me to tears.”

– Faye from Colorado, who came with her husband, said that “I felt like I was walking on holy ground everywhere we went…. Thanks, TBN, for giving us the Holy Land Experience.”

– And a group all the way from Malaysia commented that “we feel like we had a glimpse of heaven, and it made us feel closer to Him.”

Mr. Everett said that changed lives and renewed hearts “are the foundation of everything that goes on at Holy Land Experience, and we are privileged every day to see our friends and guests deeply blessed through their time spent with us.” He added that the traditional spring break and Easter season is a particularly popular time for individuals and families to visit the park. “We look forward to this time every year as so many people come to Central Florida for vacation, and thousands find rest, relaxation, and a lasting touch from God at Holy Land Experience.”

Priceline.com Reveals the Top 50 Most Popular Spring Break Destinations According to College Students

Every year spring break offers college students a much-needed respite from their late-night study sessions and an excuse to take a spontaneous getaway with friends. In fact, 73 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 say they are likely to take a last-minute getaway in 2015, according to a recent survey commissioned by the brand. In March, students are reserving more hotel rooms in Las Vegas, the most popular 2015 spring break destination, than anywhere else. Runner-up destinations include OrlandoNew York CityPhoenix, and Orange County, according to actual hotel reservations made by college students on priceline.com.

Those juggling college debt can still get the full spring break experience on a budget with Priceline’s best bargain destinations for 2015, including both Myrtle and Virginia Beach that have average daily hotel rates below $90. The hottest spring break destination, Las Vegas, also made the top deals list with an average daily rate of $106.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans between the ages of 18 to 24 regretted not taking a last-minute trip in 2014, according to a recent survey from priceline.com, so those on the fence about traveling should not let the opportunity of an unforgettable vacation pass them by. For students with some flexibility in their budget, hotels in tropical destinations can be scored for less than $300 per night in the Florida Keys and Oahu, HI, with average daily rates of $275 and $199, respectively.

“After a particularly brutal winter and knowing how easy it is to find a deal on our app, students will be on the lookout for an adventure through last-minute travel deals – we call this seizing the Travel App-ortunity,” said John Caine, Priceline’s Chief Product Officer. “We’ve got options for the student who saved for 12 months and for the student who has just decided to go. Express Deals offer exclusive deals with savings of up to 55 percent off published room rates.”

Priceline.com’s Top 50 Most Popular Destinations for Spring Break 2015
Based on advance hotel reservations for March made by students on priceline.com.

1. Las Vegas, NV

2. Orlando, FL

3. New York City, NY

4. Phoenix, AZ

5. Orange County, CA

6. Miami, FL

7. Chicago, IL

8. New Orleans, LA

9. San Diego, CA

10. San Francisco, CA

11. Los Angeles, CA

12. San Antonio, TX

13. Dallas, TX

14. Washington D.C.

15. Fort Lauderdale, FL

16. Nashville, TN

17. Atlanta, GA

18. Houston, TX

19. Seattle, WA

20. Denver, CO

21. Austin, TX

22. Minneapolis, MN

23. St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, FL

24. Boston, MA

25. Fort Myers/Naples, FL

26. St. Louis, MO

27. Tampa, FL

28. Savannah, GA

29. The Florida Keys

30. Palm Springs, CA

31. Portland, OR

32. San Jose, CA

33. Columbus, OH

34. Puerto Rico

35. Toronto, Canada

36. Daytona Beach, FL

37. Atlantic City/Cape May, NJ

38. Kansas City, MO

39. Indianapolis, IN

40. Philadelphia, PA

41. Panama City, FL

42. Oahu, HI

43. LA/San Fernando Valley, CA

44. Charleston, SC

45. Inland Empire (CA)

46. Central Coast (CA)

47. Sarasota, FL

48. Monterey/Salinas, CA

49. Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY

50. Charlotte, NC

For students who have not purchased their Spring Break trips yet, hotel and airfare deals are available from Priceline oni4exitguide.com

Florida DOT Using Billboards to Connect With Central Florida I-4 Drivers

Drivers along Interstate 4 in the Orlando metro area may notice new billboard signs installed which remind motorists the I-4 Ultimate project is soon underway in 2015.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has been acquiring right of way along the interstate necessary to construct the I-4 Ultimate project for almost a decade. Through this process, FDOT has acquired the property where several billboards are located. The billboard companies [Clear Channel Outdoor, Lamar Advertising and Outfront Media (formerly CBS Outdoor)] have been compensated for the acquisition and were allowed to continue displaying advertising through a leasing program with FDOT. Now that design of the I-4 Ultimate project has begun, FDOT will assume control of the billboards it owns. The billboards are located at:

  • Grand National Drive and Oakridge Road – A V-shaped sign on the right side of eastbound I-4.
  • I-4 and Orange Blossom Trail – A single-faced sign on the right side of I-4 along the eastbound ramp.
  • I-4 and Michigan Avenue – A single-faced sign on the left side of I-4 along the westbound ramp.
  • I-4 and Formosa Avenue and Minnesota Avenue – A V-shaped sign on the left side of westbound I-4.
  • I-4 and State Road 436 – A V-shaped sign on the right side of eastbound I-4.

Each of these billboards is located in the FDOT-owned right of way and will need to be removed as I-4 is widened. The exact timeline is not yet known — the billboards may need to be removed soon after construction begins, or may be able to remain well into construction.

To increase public awareness of the I-4 Ultimate project and the changes about to occur, FDOT intends to use these billboards in the meantime for project-specific messages. FDOT terminated the leases with the advertising agencies and provided Clear Channel Outdoor, Lamar Advertising and Outfront Media with a 30-day notice to relinquish the space.

It is important to note that FDOT owns these billboards and has made the cost-effective decision to use space it already owns to provide information to Central Floridians. FDOT is not purchasing any advertising space, and the only cost associated with this outreach campaign is the production and installation of the vinyl for the billboards.

During I-4 construction, and always, motorists are reminded to pay attention to road conditions, buckle up, and don’t text and drive.

Photo Update: I-Drive 360 Construction Continues, Spring Grand Opening Anticipated

Construction of “I-Drive 360”, a new entertainment, dining and shopping complex continues. The Orlando Eye’s outer wheel is now complete and the 30 passenger capsules remain to be installed. Each cabin can hold 15 passengers. Once completed, guests will enjoy the 360-degree views above the hustle and bustle of the Central Florida below. Every cabin will offer guests the comfort of air-conditioning, bench seating, lighting and audio effects for the 20-minute flight experience.

The complex will include attractions, restaurants and retail stores. In addition to “The Orlando Eye” other major attractions will include a 25,000 sq. ft. Sea Life Aquarium, an equally sized Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Skeletons: A Museum of Osteology.

Some features of the project are already completed, and others a well underway.

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.

Here’s our photo update of the construction, taken 12/18/14…

I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
The outer wheel of the Orlando Eye is now complete… the passenger cabins remain to be installed. Several restaurants are now open for business!


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Workers install the signing for the seven-story parking garage… and parking is FREE!


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Yard House – Great Food, Classic Rock and 130 to 250 Taps of Imported, Craft and Specialty Ales and Lagers… one of several new restaurants now open at I-Drive 360.


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Outback Steakhouse – Australian themed steakhouse restaurant… one of several new restaurants now open at I-Drive 360.


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Workers put the finishing touches on Tin Roof Orlando… Live Music, Great Food and Good Times. Opening very soon!


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Another look at workers preparing the exterior of Tin Roof Orlando… Opening very soon!


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Opening Early 2015… The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Wax Attraction and Orlando SeaLife Aquarium.


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
There’s beautiful landscaping, fountains and water features everywhere you look… the amenities really set I-Drive 360 apart from other attractions in the area.


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Workers finish up on the exterior of the main building housing The Orlando Eye terminal, Madame Tussauds Wax Attraction and SeaLife Aquarium.


I-Drive 360 | The I-4 Exit Guide | www.i4exitguide.com
Now that the Orlando Eye is almost at it’s maximum height, you can see it from points all around the Orlando area… including I-4… a very impressive sight!



For I-4 traveler information, including exit listing, real-time traffic reports, gas prices and more, visit www.i4exitguide.com

I-4 Ultimate Construction Project Ready to Begin

I-4 Ultimate is an important project for Central Florida. The 21-mile makeover — from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County — will transform the region while connecting our communities, improving our economy and enhancing livability for everyone.

The goal of I-4 Ultimate is to create a signature corridor that connects communities, improves economies and enhances livability throughout the region. I-4 Ultimate is designed to reflect the best of Central Florida’s local context, history, unique community character and landscaping. Explore this section of the website to learn more about how this distinctive and memorable design will reinforce mobility, enhance the driver’s experience, engage communities and maximize accessibility.


The I-4 Ultimate project is going to completely revamp the face of Central Florida. Most importantly, it will improve traffic flow by easing congestion. Some exciting things to look forward to include:

  • Four new tolled Express Lanes (two in each direction)
  • Thirteen widened bridges, 74 replaced bridges and 53 new bridges
  • Fifteen reconstructed major interchanges
  • A world-class signature pedestrian bridge
  • Accent lighting
  • Fountain illumination
  • Art sculptures and monuments
  • Bold landscape design
  • Monumental direct-connect pylons
  • Bridge architecture
  • Concrete paving
  • Steel tub girders
  • Architectural cladding


FDOT is at the forefront of technological innovations and is shaping the way departments of transportation across the country generate new and better value for every transportation dollar invested. The I-4 Ultimate project is no exception. FDOT demanded innovation, and I-4 Mobility Partners delivered, offering 25 approved alternative technical concepts (innovative ideas) and 27 project technical enhancements (enhanced features).

Alternative technical concepts are proposed changes to basic configurations, the project scope, design criteria or construction criteria and provide an approach that is equal to or better than the requirements requested by FDOT. For I-4 Ultimate, I-4 Mobility Partners’ alternative technical concepts focus on:

  • Providing greater traffic flow reliability with auxiliary lanes and added movements
  • Providing greater consistency in driver expectancy and reduced travel times
  • Enhancing driver safety with sight distance improvements and alignments
  • Providing better community connections
  • Incorporating sustainability features, such as reutilized and recycled materials
  • Using better technology to improve long-term operations

Sound Abatement

The I-4 Ultimate project may include construction of sound barriers to help reduce sound between the interstate and adjacent neighborhoods. Many factors determine sound barrier locations. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted multiple noise studies for the 21-mile I-4 project. Currently, eight locations in Orange and Seminole counties are eligible for sound barriers. A majority of property owners adjacent to the proposed barriers indicated their support for them when surveyed by FDOT. Based upon the completed noise studies, construction of sound barriers is considered for eight residential communities adjacent to I-4.

Historic Preservation

Central Florida is rich in history, with hundreds of buildings, districts and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Several of these places are within the project limits of I-4 Ultimate, including the town of Eatonville, Griffin Park and the Holden-Parramore Historic District. The team’s design was developed with historic preservation in mind, so impacts to these important areas will be lessened.

Once I-4 Ultimate is complete, the corridor will be a celebration of local history and heritage and will serve as a true reminder of what makes Central Florida unique. – See more at: http://i4ultimate.com/project-info/special-features/#sthash.paS76J4w.dpuf

For I-4 traveler information, including exit listing, real-time traffic reports, gas prices and more, visit www.i4exitguide.com

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.