I was invited as a guest to a Visit Orlando members event at the new I-Drive 360, located on International Drive near Sand Lake. There is a ton of new restaurants and stores opening here and the place is really looking great.
The Orlando Eye: I watched eagerly as this 400 ft tall observation wheel was built and I was so excited to get an invite to ride it. There is a large lobby type area with the ticket desk for the attractions, as well as a small food court. After waiting in line, there is a 4D movie experience as well as a group photo in front of a green screen, which of course they will try to sell you later.
They fit 12 – 15 people in a pod and it takes 22 minutes to go around. There is a small seat in the middle, but it only fits a couple people. The ride overall was really fun.
The color of the wheel changes so that keeps it interesting. The negative thing about riding at night is that the inside of the pod has blue lighting so all the pictures had a blue hue to them. It wasn’t too bad if you used a flash.
I really enjoyed it, I definitely suggest you go check it out. You can’t compare it to the London Eye as far as stuff to look at, but it is still very cool. I plan to go again during the day.
I was unsure if I would enjoy a wax museum as I thought it would be a little creepy. But it was really fun! You could walk right up to the figures as there were no ropes around them. I was arm in arm with Barney Stinson, it was Legen…wait for it…dary. They had props you could use for photo ops at some of the figures. The best part for me was being able to recreate a scene from one of my favorite movies, E.T.! They even had a red sweatshirt for you to wear. So much fun!
Sea Life Aquarium:
The Sea Life aquarium was really fun. The aquarium is broken down into different rooms and themed as different parts of the ocean. Convex and concave tanks and windows keep it very interesting and fun to look at. They had a sort of plastic bubble in one tank where you had to crawl under the tank and sit up to put your head in so you could get a photo. Now I assume this is for kids but my coworker and I had to do it, even though we were wearing dresses. There are multiple features like this, where the goggles could be used to get some fun photos.
They had a cool underwater tunnel which I had heard about and was excited to see. It was a little short, I was expecting it to be long like the one in Sea World. They also have interesting stone shapes at the bottom of the aquarium that looks like ruins, which keeps your photos interesting.
There is a second 360-degree tunnel. The floor is clear so fish are literally swimming all around you. I haven’t seen a tunnel like this before, so we really enjoyed it and got some great photos here.
In the last room, there is a touch pool with starfish, coral, and a bunch of creatures you could touch. Make sure you check out the sea urchin, their spikes move toward your finger when you touch it. The employees are there to give you interesting facts about them so it was very neat.
Skeletons Museum: I have to admit that I really didn’t like the Skeleton Museum. When I think of a museum I think of open spaces like the Natural History Museum. So when I came into here I was surprised to see that it was way too small a space and all the skeletons were all cramped together. It had a white unfinished feel to it and did not look like a museum at all. Some of the displays they had themed to the skeletons locations but the backdrop was so short that when I tried to get pictures it was cut-off. I’m sure if you are big into skeletons you would enjoy it, or maybe children would like it. I just wasn’t expecting to see a bunch of different species of dog heads hanging on a wall. Once I saw that, I was out.
There is a bunch of great restaurants and stores open and opening at I-Drive 360. After this event, the one I am most excited to see is ToraTapa. They had a nice table with churros and they had a veggie paella with a white sauce on the side and micro greens. It was very good. Tin Roof had a great display as well and were giving away a ton of food, but the line was so long we didn’t end up trying it. Sugar Factory had gelato samples and this was some really good ice-cream. Yard House has been open a while and is my favorite place in the area.
The other great part about this location is there is a parking garage and it is free! You can get advanced tickets online for a discount. Go check it out!