Developer wants to build London Eye scale wheel on Orlando's International Drive

Posted Monday, June 23, 2008 9:24 AM | Contributed by greatwhitenorth

The company planning to build a massive observation wheel in Orlando, similar to the famed London Eye, said Thursday the project is moving forward. Executives from The Great Wheel Corp., a company based in Singapore, will be in town next week to announce details of the planned attraction in the International Drive tourist corridor.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Monday, June 23, 2008 9:35 AM
eightdotthree's avatar Not sure it has the same effect as it does in a major city like London.
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Monday, June 23, 2008 9:54 AM
I don't know what the long term life expectancy is of an attraction like this if it is a stand-alone. A lot of Orlando area attractions have come and gone.
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Monday, June 23, 2008 10:11 AM
I kind of like the idea.

I like the idea of building a monster wheel, and I think I-Drive is a place where it could certainly draw some traffic. The question is, what is there to look at from that wheel? I-Drive down by the Convention Center really doesn't offer much to look at from the air, unless you really want to look down on Sea World...which, again, is less interesting than most amusement parks from the air. The big Wheel has a certain intrinsic interest, but if it overlooks a bunch of rooftops, what good is it?

--Dave Althoff, Jr

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Monday, June 23, 2008 11:06 AM
Jeff's avatar At 400 feet, you can see all of Disney's tall landmarks, easily.
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Monday, June 23, 2008 11:25 AM
janfrederick's avatar I don't know. It seems that Ferris wheel plans always seem to be pipe dreams in this country. Now if this were Japan or Dubai...
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Monday, June 23, 2008 12:47 PM
^You are right. It is strange that they donĀ“t seem to catch on in american cities. New York, Chicago, San Diego would be perfect for a huge wheel and they would certainly make money.

Berlin, Singapur and Beijing are currently building gigantic wheels and I think they are great. Every city should have one! It makes them look slightly more futuristic.

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Monday, June 23, 2008 1:02 PM
They don't really catch on in other major American cities because the wheel doesn't seem that big compared to the local skyscrapers. However, I suspect it will be a big hit in Orlando where visitors will be able to see the scope and scale of all the local attractions. Florida is flat and the biggest things on the horizon are Disney mountains. I think a giant wheel will work in Orlando.

The biggest hurdle could be hurricane resistance. This could be addressed if the wheel could be lowered if a storm was brewing, but I don't know if that's possible or feasible.

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Monday, June 23, 2008 1:11 PM
Jeff's avatar The biggest hurdle is getting people to spend time on I-Drive. That road has seen a melt down in the last ten years.
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Monday, June 23, 2008 5:47 PM
Hurricane resistance is not an issue. Most of the really really really big wheels are tension wheels that don't have any real surface area. A hurricane could blow right through the London Eye and not do a whole lot of damage. Just get the people off and be ready to replace some of the glass in the gondolas...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:46 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar Doesn't Chicago already have a huge wheel? Anyone know how it's doing?
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008 4:11 PM
kpjb's avatar You mean the one at Navy Pier?

It's just an average wheel. Not a big, custom one. Last time I was there it had steady traffic, maybe 50-60% capacity.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008 5:37 PM
The wheel at Navy Pier is OK but as someone else alluded to, it's really dwarfed by the skyscrapers in Chicago. It does give a quick view of the lakefront and the pier but for views the Sears Tower or Hancock Building are better.

This might just fly in Orlando.

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Friday, June 27, 2008 8:32 AM
Great idea- It is NOT on I-drive, but at the corner of I-4 and the Bee Line expressway- Universal, Sea World, Disney, I-Drive, Lakes, etc.. Better yet- a quick 1-1.5 hour experience marketable to conventions, tourists, locals, meeting planners, weddings, special events. Will have a hotel with it- great synergy - a ton of up-selling opportunities and co-branding options...
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Friday, June 27, 2008 8:34 AM
Navy Pier wheel is 256 feet tall- but generates about $5.5 million in revenue each year for the past 12 years- low labor costs, marketable, drives traffic to the pier. All other rides on the Pier combined only do about 1/3 that revenue per year.
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