Big Wheel Keep on Turning...
The Great Orlando Wheel, a new 400-foot-tall observation attraction adjacent to I-4 and the Orange County Convention Center, will open in 2010.*
New Attraction Planned
For Central Florida
Great Wheel Corporation is constructing a new iconic observation attraction in the heart of Orlando's tourism core.
Construction begins this summer on the 400-foot-tall Great Orlando Wheel, set amid 20 acres adjacent to I-4 and the Orange County Convention Center.
Scheduled to open in 2010, the 4,200-ton Great Orlando Wheel will deliver scenic views -- extending out 25 miles -- in all directions. Sources say the construction project will have an estimated $200 million price tag.
A Sister to the London Eye
The Great Orlando Wheel drawing has been inserted into the aerial photo above, giving readers a sense of the wheel's location - adjacent to I-4, Route 528 and the Orlando County Convention Center.*
The new attraction is based on the same principle as the London Eye, which was the world's largest observation wheel when it opened for the Millennium celebration in 1999; it's located in downtown London just across from Big Ben. Today, the largest wheel in the world is the Singapore Flyer.
Other observation wheels are also in development by Great Wheel Corporation including wheels in Beijing and Berlin.
“As one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, Orlando provides the ideal location for North America’s first Great Wheel,” says Florian Bollen, chairman of Great Wheel Corporation. “Passengers aboard the Great Orlando Wheel will experience a unique and ever-changing perspective above this vibrant landscape, soaring to heights unattainable anywhere else in the region.
“By selecting Central Florida as the premier site in North America,” Bollen continues, “we’re bringing the Great Wheel not just to Orlando, but to the millions of visitors who vacation here each year.”
Ride with A View
Passengers aboard the Great Orlando Wheel will ride in the comfort of one of 24 fully enclosed, rotating flight capsules.
These air-conditioned glass capsules will be affixed to the Wheel’s outer rim to provide unobstructed views.
Measuring approximately 38 x 16 feet, each capsule will carry up to 40 passengers comfortably. (The wheel and its capsules are shown at right.*)
Guests will be free to move about the glass cabins to view 360 degrees of scenery. Alternatively, visitors might sit in a plush central seating area during the ride.
In addition to serving individual visitors, Great Wheel Corporation says it will charter its capsules to an individual or group -- for special occasions as well as business meetings. Each capsule will have its own audio and video system.
After boarding, the Wheel will ascend slowly and silently to 400 feet. Traveling at a leisurely nine inches per second, the wheel will take 30 minutes to make a full rotation.
In addition, each capsule will turn 360 degrees in one direction, while the rim will rotate a full revolution in the other to keep the floors horizontal
At the wheel's pinnacle, passengers will enjoy 25-mile panoramic views. Among the highlights?
On a clear day, you might see Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios Orlando, bustling downtown Orlando, hotels, lakes and more.
For instance, the Great Orlando Wheel will provide dramatic vantage points for watching some launches from Kennedy Space Center.
Also, the wheel's central locale in Orlando will undoubtedly be a good spot to view nightly displays of fireworks and pyrotechnics at Orlando's area theme parks. (A drawing of the wheel at night is shown at left.*)
Large Terminal Complex
An 80,848 square-foot flight terminal surrounds the wheel. It will feature restaurants, a bar and shops.
While the panoramic ride itself will take approximately a half-hour, the flight terminal (the entry is shown at right*) will provide relaxation and entertainment for visitors awaiting lift-off.
The terminal will also serve as a hub for local tour operators.
The multi-level terminal will include an indoor space of 61,125 square feet plus several outdoor covered plazas.
The terminal's shape will resemble a giant infinity sign, with two curved buildings surrounding the Great Orlando Wheel at the center.
One structure will be the arrival building, and the other will house the passenger lobby. A glass corridor will connect the two buildings.
Great Wheel Corporation says artistic design elements and an open-air floor plan will convey light and motion throughout the terminal. (See photo of the terminal interior below.*)
“The Great Orlando Wheel will attract visitors and locals, young and old alike,” Bollen says. “They will come to enjoy one-of-a-kind dining and shopping, with the added benefit of spectacular views.
“This iconic attraction will come to be recognized as a window to Orlando, reflecting the unique culture and landscape of this vibrant destination to the millions of people that visit each year,” he notes.
While it's a bit early for prices to be finalized or any tickets to be sold, officials told local reporters the cost of the ride will likely be in the $15-$20 per person range.
For more information, visit www.greatwheel.com/orlando.