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Madame Tussauds wax museum and a 425-foot-tall observation wheel planned for International Drive

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Merlin Entertainments is already building Legoland Florida outside of Orlando, now they’ve announced plans to open a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and build a 425-foot-tall Orlando Eye observation wheel in a new shopping center on International Drive.

I-Walk Orlando will be a new development of retail, restaurants and entertainment facilities scheduled to open in 2013 in the former Mercado location, just down the street from Pointe Orlando, which itself is in the process of being bought by Blackstone Group, the parent company of Merlin Entertainments. Blackstone also owns SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and part of Universal Orlando.

In 2008, another company announced plans to bring a 400 foot wheel” to Orlando. The wheel was to be located on behind the Orange County Convention Center. Those plans were suspended in 2009 with no further word on the plan moving forward.

The Mercado shopping center was the home to a Guinness Book of World Records museum and a Hard Rock Vault museum. Both of those businesses closed along with other shops and restaurants in the plaza. Titanic The Experience was also located in the Mercado before it moved to its new location down the street. The Mercado was ultimately demolished.

Merlin is working with Circle Entertainment and developer Unicorp to bring at least three of its best known global attraction brands to Orlando. The third has not been named yet.

“I-Walk Orlando will be a very exciting addition to International Drive, providing a unique mix of leisure and retail activities,” ” said Paul Kanavos, president of Circle Entertainment. “When we were looking for a partner, Merlin was the obvious place to start and we welcome them to I-Walk.”

“We are so pleased to undertake this extraordinary new development opportunity that will re-shape the landscape of International Drive,” said Unicorp President Chuck Whittall. “We waited patiently for four years to create the ideal retail and entertainment destination. This is it and will be a world wide destination. I-Walk Orlando has secured all necessary zoning and entitlements.”

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8 comments

J March 2, 2011 - 2:17 pm

I like th idea of a Madame Toussaud’s and the ferris wheel seems like it would be pretty cool but I can’t help but imagine what this will do to increase the traffic on I-Drive. It’s already a nightmare as it is, this will likely make it worse.

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William April 4, 2011 - 4:44 pm

Sounds like a good idea to me, hope they build that new thrill park also, to those that dont want to hear screaming fans MOVE! Orlando needs rides that grown folks can enjoy also, its becoming too kiddie.

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Jack July 11, 2011 - 10:36 pm

I have visited Madam Tussauds in Las Vegas and LOVED it. Quite a few years ago there was a was museum in the area called Stars Hall of Fame (I remember visiting it when I was younger). I think that it is a long time coming and a great idea. As for the observation wheel, I cannot wait to ride it. Orlando/Kissimmee is THE place to be for entertainment and any additions that will attract visitors to our wonderful state is great.

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Jennifer October 12, 2011 - 10:54 am

I do not believe that this park with enhance international drive by any means. If anything it is going to cause a lot more traffic along with many more problems. I do not see how A Ferris Wheel or a Wax Museum would or could be a WORLD WIDE destination. Orlando/Kissimmee is known for the parks it ALREADY has and we already have adult areas (e.i. DAVE & Busters, City Walk) Why would I spend, or anyone at that matter spend $30.00 to ride a Ferris Wheel when I can spend the same amount to go on a Helicopter Ride or spend $20.00 more to ride unlimited rides at Disney, Sea World, or Universal? I think it is a waste of time, money, and space that will only close down in a few years.

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Andy July 12, 2013 - 11:15 am

I’ve noticed that this post is a couple of years old. Is this observation wheel in operations yet? Did it get built?

425ft is a fraction bigger than the London Eye and that is supposed to be the tallest in the world.

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Matt Roseboom July 12, 2013 - 12:20 pm

The center, with the wheel, is under construction.

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