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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A new audio upgrade to the Wheel at Icon Park will help riders know what they're looking at

Posted By on Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY REV STAN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo by Rev Stan/Wikimedia Commons
The Wheel at Icon Park already provides one of the most unique experiences in Central Florida, but recent upgrades make rides even more memorable.

Despite its popularity, one constant complaint with the impressive ride and its expansive vistas experience was difficulty in identifying local landmarks. Interactive touch-screen tablets onboard allowed guests to zoom in on landmarks to learn about them, but even with those, many guests found it difficult to appreciate the views due to a lack of understanding of what they’re seeing.



The Wheel addressed this while also making the experience more post-pandemic friendly. Each of the thirty capsules have been upgraded with brand new audio systems that offer an audio tour. The tour includes both current and historical sights of the area, providing passengers more context to the stunning views surrounding them.

For those not interested in the audio tour, the new audio system provides Bluetooth connections so passengers can sync up to their phones and be their own DJ onboard.

“I like to say that being in a capsule on The Wheel is like gliding in your private comfortable air-conditioned skybox, and now that experience will be personalized even more for our guests,” said Chris Jaskiewicz, Icon Park president and CEO. “We listened to guests and learned that this is what was needed in Central Florida – be current with technology and let guests play their own music.”

Since opening in 2015, the Wheel and the entertainment district it’s a part of have seen dramatic changes. Originally known as the Orlando Eye, the 400-foot-tall observation wheel saw its operational contract with Merlin come to an end in 2018. Merlin continues to operate the Madame Tussaud’s and Sea Life Aquarium that are found in the same building.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY REV STAN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo by Rev Stan/Wikimedia Commons

As part of the post-Orlando Eye rebranding, both the wheel and the district were renamed. Now known as Icon Park, the 20-acre entertainment complex is home to multiple restaurants, shops, and attractions. The large central lawn has become an unofficial park for the International Drive area, which lacks any significant community spaces.

Along with the original attractions, including the Wheel and the two Merlin attractions, Icon Park has also seen significant investments over the past three years. The world’s tallest StarFlyer swing ride opened in 2018. In addition, last year saw a major overhaul to the Wheelhouse terminal building with a new arcade and multiple new attractions within it. Next door, the former osteology museum space became the latest Museum of Illusions at the beginning of this year.

click to enlarge IMAGE VIA ICON PARK SLINGSHOT | SLINGSHOT GROUP OF COMPANIES
  • Image via ICON Park Slingshot | Slingshot Group of Companies

One of the last undeveloped plots within the district is now an active construction site with the two record-breaking attractions currently being installed. The world’s tallest slingshot ride and a record-breaking drop tower will bookend the site. Beyond the attractions, Icon Park also offers multiple unique to the region dining venues and retail stores. A Gordon Ramsey Fish and Chips is set to open later this summer.




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