Starflyer, Orlando's newest thrill ride, will open this May

click to enlarge Starflyer, Orlando's newest thrill ride, will open this May
Photo via Unicorp Development
The skyline of International Drive is about to change dramatically.

After months of delays, the Orlando Starflyer is finally going vertical. When finished, the tower will be one of the tallest structures in Central Florida and the tallest Starflyer ride in the world.

Clocking in at 425 feet tall, 25 feet taller than the nearby Orlando Eye, the Orlando Starflyer will only be 3 feet shorter than the Hyatt Regency Orlando (formerly the Peabody Hotel), and only 16 feet shorter than the SunTrust Center in downtown Orlando, the tallest building in the region.

First approved in 2015, the tower saw its opening date pushed back multiple times, but developer Unicorp has now confirmed that the swing ride will open May 11.

A large crane is now on site, and all tower pieces are assembled and are waiting to be stacked on each other with a large chrome turret on the top. We should see the tower topped off within the next few weeks.

Once operating, the swing ride will offer open-air views unlike anything currently in Orlando. Riders will sit in rows of two with numerous belts holding them in place while their feet dangle. Altogether the attraction will hold 24 riders at a time. An impressive LED light system includes multiple rows of lights along the entire length of the tower, similar to those found on the Orlando Eye, and multiple lights on each seat. Just up I-Drive, Magical Midway has its own Starflyer ride, though much shorter at only 230 feet tall.

At the base of the Starflyer Orlando tower, a 3,400-square-foot building is currently being finished. It will house a bar themed to the attraction, the ticketing office for the attraction, a Westgate Resorts timeshare sales office, and a dual Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Wetzel Pretzels shop. All the stores will have windows overlooking the ride.

The Orlando Starflyer will soon be joined by a whole slew of other additions to the are, including another tower attraction. The 600-foot-tall Skyplex entertainment complex is slated for a 2020 opening. It should break ground later this year or early next year, after developer Joshua Wallack finishes the Hollywood Plaza complex he is currently developing. That 141-foot-tall complex includes a large parking garage topped by a restaurant and will feature two retail spaces at its base, one of which will house Hulk Hogan’s beach shop. A smaller Hogan’s Beach Shop currently resides in a former 7-Eleven building, which is scheduled to be demo’d to make way for Skyplex.

Unicorp is also developing a hotel, a five-story apartment complex, a zipline attraction, and other additions to the 360 complex that includes both I-Drive 360 and The Vue at 360.

Expect to see testing on the new Starflyer by early to mid-April.