Great Wheel Corporation announced today it will begin construction on the Great Orlando Wheel, an iconic observation wheel. Scheduled to open in 2010, the Wheel will be 400 feet tall and offer views spanning 25 miles in all directions.
The Wheel will sit on 20 acres next to the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center. Located at 6503 Westwood Boulevard, the giant wheel will be near I-4 and SR 528. The Great Orlando Wheel is one of several observation wheels currently under development in gateway cities around the globe, including Beijing, Singapore and Berlin.
Passengers aboard the Wheel will ride in the comfort of fully enclosed, rotating flight capsules. There will be 24 of these air-conditioned, glass capsules affixed to the Wheel’s outer rim. Measuring approximately 38 x 16 feet, each capsule will carry up to 40 passengers. Guests will be free to move around the glass cabins or sit in one of the plush central seating areas. Capsules may be reserved for business meetings, birthdays, weddings and other special occasions. For passenger entertainment, each capsule will have its own audio and video system.
During each 30-minute ride, the Wheel will ascend slowly and silently. It moves so slowly (nine inches per second) that guests will enter and exit without the wheel having to stop. Surrounding the Great Orlando Wheel will be an 80,848 square-foot flight terminal. There will be no waiting in long lines. The passenger lounge will house unique restaurants, cafes, a bar and boutique shops. The multi-level terminal will include an indoor space of 61,125 square feet plus outdoor covered plazas. The terminals shape will look like a giant infinity sign, with two curved buildings surrounding the Great Orlando Wheel at the center. One structure will be the arrival building, and the other will house the passenger lobby. An arced glass corridor will connect the two buildings.
“As one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, Orlando provides the ideal location for North America’s first Great Wheel,” said Florian Bollen, chairman of Great Wheel Corporation. “Passengers aboard the Orlando Wheel will experience a unique and ever-changing perspective above this vibrant landscape, soaring to heights unattainable anywhere else in the region. When asked about the nearby 400-foot-tall Sky Tower at Seaworld, Bollen replied, “The Wheel is a whole different experience. Because it’s round, the Wheel offers changing views all the way around.
“This iconic attraction will come to be recognized as a window to Orlando, reflecting the unique culture and landscape of this vibrant destination to the millions of people that visit each year. This iconic attraction will cast a stately silhouette,” Bollen added. “In the future, it will be difficult to imagine a postcard of the Central Florida skyline that does not include the Great Orlando Wheel.”
• Towering 400 feet, the Wheel is as tall as Orlando’s highest skyscrapers and equally wide.
• The spindle’s diameter will be as wide as the Lincoln Tunnel that connects New Jersey with midtown Manhattan.
• The total weight of the wheel and its capsules will be 4,200 tons. That’s twice as heavy as the Space Shuttle Discovery and its engine components at liftoff.
• The Wheel’s diameter will be approximately 380 feet, twice the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
• The circumference will be 1,200 feet. Extended in a straight line, that’s four times the length of an American football field.
• One Great Orlando Wheel flight capsule will weigh approximately 18 tons – equaling the weight of nine, full-size SUVs.
• At full capacity, the Orlando Wheel will carry 960 passengers per revolution.
A Web site has been set up for the Great Orlando Wheel at http://www.greatwheel.com/orlando.