ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s changed Orlando’s cityscape and has become a symbol of ‘The City Beautiful.’ We’re talking about The Wheel at ICON Park.
The large observation wheel opened in 2015, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of Orlando 400 feet in the air. The capsules move a slow 1 mile-per-hour allowing guests to enjoy beverages during the ride.
“They have a leveling system so the capsule never rocks, it has air conditioning obviously,” said ICON Park CEO Chris Jaskiewicz. ”We have a wheel maintenance team that works on it all night long every night, and they do basic maintenance or improvements. It’s a 24-hour operation that’s for sure.”
It took teams of engineers and dozens of pieces shipped from several countries, to get the wheel moving. Construction took three years.
“It has a foundation, just like a building and underneath the ground, under each leg is 30 feet of concrete. That’s three stories of concrete supporting each of the eight legs which are columns,” said Jaskiewicz. “In the case of severe wind or hurricanes, cables are connected from the wheel to the foundation to lock the wheel in place so it won’t spin.”
The Wheel is also known for its light shows, covered in more than 60,000 LED lights.
“One of the things that has become very popular lately is our baby gender reveal program. At the end of the countdown, the wheel will light up either blue or pink. In some cases it will have both colors which means twins,” said Jaskiewicz.
The attraction is quickly turning into a Central Florida symbol.
“Some airlines show a picture of The Wheel when flying in to Orlando International Airport. Even UCF had The Wheel on its basketball court. When you vote, it’s on the ‘I voted’ sticker... a picture of the wheel. It’s Orlando’s welcome to the world,” said Jaskiewicz.
The Wheel offers private capsules for all riders, so you won’t be riding with strangers, only with those in your party. You can fit up to 15 people in each capsule.
The ride has an audio track that shares Orlando’s history, but you can also override the history track and play your own music using Bluetooth.
Click here to purchase tickets for The Wheel at ICON Park.