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The Wheel is ICON Park’s anchoring attraction and one of the Orlando’s greatest treasures. The mechanical marvel is the perfect way to gaze across the city and take in all that it has to offer. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about The Wheel at ICON Park before you visit with kids – just one of the many things to do in Orlando!
Where is ICON Park located?
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ICON Park is a 20-acre entertainment district located on Orlando’s International Drive, or “I-Drive” to those in the know. It is popular for having tons of things to do for every type of visitor, from toddlers, kids, teens, and even adults! With more than 40 restaurants, shops, and attractions within walking distance from each other, this destination makes for the perfect place to create your very own “iconic” moments on your next vacation in Orlando.
It’s easy to get to from almost all of the major attractions in the area, like Disney, Universal, and Downtown Orlando. A 10-minute car ride from both Seaworld in the south and Universal Studios in the north will get you there.
Holidaying at Walt Disney World? It’s all but a 15-minute drive away. And if you’re at Disney Springs, it will take no more than 25 minutes.
ICON Park Address: 8375 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
What is The Wheel At ICON Park?
It is a rite of passage for visitors and locals to see the cityscape in its full glory, and there is simply no better way to do it than from a wheel high up in the clouds!
Formerly known as the Orlando Eye, The Wheel is easy to spot when driving around Orlando and can be seen from both Universal Studios and SeaWorld. It is famed for delivering an extraordinary 360-degree view of downtown Orlando, Orlando’s theme parks and Central Florida.
At 400 feet tall, this dazzling beacon in Orlando’s skyline is not only the tallest wheel on the East Coast but is also even taller than the Statue of Liberty! The Wheel is more than just a ferris wheel and is more accurately described as an “observation wheel.” It consists of 30 climate-controlled viewing pods that are air-conditioned and equipped to hold up to 15 people in a single car.
How do you get to The Wheel?
If you stay at one of the hotels on I-Drive, you can easily walk, hop on a bus, or grab a cab to get to ICON Park. Another option is to hitch a ride on the i-RIDE Trolley and get off on either the Red Line Northbound Stop: 14, or the Green Line Southbound Stop: G9.
Why choose The Wheel?
When the mad rush of Orlando’s theme parks gets too much, head straight to The Wheel. Its pace and views will give you some much-needed relief.
Visiting The Wheel is a wholesome family-friendly activity that offers something unique for every member of the troop. Apart from being a truly enthralling experience for both the young and the old, it is also pocket-friendly and relaxing.
What are the timings of The Wheel?
Barring bad weather or special events, The Wheel remains open all year round. It operates from Monday to Thursday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and stays open till 11 p.m. on Fridays. On weekends, it begins at noon and is open till 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 p.m. on Sundays.
What to expect on The Wheel?
Before you Begin
If you have kids, a game of “I-Spy” as you get to the top is a great way to learn about Central Florida. There’s even a “preflight 4D Cinema Experience” and a 5-minute presentation to tell you what sights you’ll see.
For the Insta-fanatics, a good camera, cool sunglasses, and maybe even a crazy outfit are the must-haves.
The Sky Bar offers a wide selection of beverages that you can grab for your trip on The Wheel. So adults definitely have something to cheer for. There are drink holders and a small bench to sit on in the center of the capsule. In addition to this, there are also rails around the cab and digital screens to identify landmarks.
During the Ride
After you check in at the ticket counter, queue up in the loading area to get in the cars. A quick reminder: watch your step on your way in because The Wheel keeps moving and doesn’t actually stop for passengers to load. (However, if you need assistance to board, they will temporarily stop The Wheel so you can board safely.)
One thing you’ll notice as soon as you get in is the lack of seat belts, but the slow movement of The Wheel means that you don’t really need them – you travel at 1mph! There is a bench at the center of the gondola if you need to get off your feet. But overall, we recommend walking about to better take in the views.
Once in the air, breathe in deeply and enjoy the stunning panoramas of the city below. The Wheel moves at a speed of less than 1 mile per hour, making it easy to enjoy for people with motion sickness or a fear of heights. It’s comfortable and smooth enough that you don’t have to worry about any sudden bumps, stops, or drops. In fact, you might not even realize you are moving until you get to the top!
A single rotation of The Wheel takes about 18 minutes. This gives you more than enough time to relax and take in the stunning 360-degree views of the Orlando skyline through the glass windows or admire the picturesque landscape through the lens of a camera.
An audio tour timed to The Wheel’s rotation narrates the history of Central Florida and talks about Orlando’s newest and oldest sights. Kids even get the chance to learn from new heights thanks to The Wheel’s in-capsule audio system. There’s plenty of information offered on the science, technology, math, engineering, and history of Ferris wheels.
Alternatively, you can also choose to load up your favorite tracks and press play as you glide through the heavens instead. Personalize the skybox to suit the mood with your own music through the free Bluetooth feature on your phone. The interactive touch-screen tablets onboard allow guests to zoom in on landmarks, including current and historical sights of the area.
The 57-mile viewing distance means that there is much of Orlando to see! If it’s all clear blue skies, keep a careful eye out for natural lakes like Big Sand Lake and Little Sand Lake. Easy sights to spot are Cape Canaveral, all the four Walt Disney World theme parks and other Central Florida landmarks. At the very peak, watch out for Universal masterpieces such as Hogwarts, the Incredible Hulk coaster, Volcano Bay and even the location for the all-new Epic Universe theme park (coming in 2024).
What are some things to do on The Wheel?
A photoshoot in the sky is stuff most people dream of and The Wheel facilitates this by providing a majestic canvas as the backdrop for your selfies and group shots. Pose, pout, and click away all you want as you whirl about in the air.
For those who want to make the moment just a bit more special, or have The Wheel make their special moment even more special, reach out to ICON Park and arrange to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and gender reveals up in the sky!
What is the best time to visit?
The best times to ride The Wheel are at sunset and at night. East coast sunsets are breathtaking, and a bird’s eye-view of twilight spreading across the horizon is one you will cherish forever. Another great time to take a spin on The Wheel is at night when over 64,000 color-changing LED lights put on a show that’s worth a lifetime.
For an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience, ride The Wheel at the start of the Disney Fireworks for a close-up view of the dazzling pyrotechnics. It would be wise to check the schedules before making the trip out as they do tend to change periodically.
Most importantly, ensure that your visit falls on a day that is expected to have pleasant weather for the best visibility possible. Fog, rain, and storm clouds are likely to dull your experience so you want to try and avoid them as much as you can!
How are the tickets priced?
A regular ride on The Wheel costs upward of $20 (ages 3 and under are free). Purchase your tickets online to save up to $2 per ticket. There’s usually not much of a queue, but if you are a large group, booking ahead might be a better plan.
Discounts are available for Florida residents, military personnel, teachers, and more throughout the year.
Those who want to a little extra indulgence can opt for The Wheel VIP Experience, which includes a digital photo, 50% off a printed photo package, and 10% off retail purchases at the Wheelhouse Gift Shop and the Wheelhouse Market restaurants.
The Mid-Week Wheel Deal VIP is similar to The Wheel VIP Experience, but is available only from Monday to Thursday.
What are the discounts and packages that are available?
ICON Park offers plenty of ways to save on tickets, ranging from combined passes for multiple attractions like Madame Tussauds and SEA Life Aquarium (right at the bottom of The Wheel). If you’re visiting ICON Park for the first time, the Park Play Pass is a fantastic deal you can opt for to hit all the major attractions. The Pass also includes a digital download of photos taken before riding on The Wheel and a card for online access. There’s even a discount on souvenirs at The Wheel gift shop to commemorate the occasion.
For those short on time, discover Orlando’s theme parks during the daytime and then use the Park Topper ticket for a late-night ride on Friday. The Park Topper Pass gets you a 50% discount on The Wheel with your theme park ticket.
How much does it cost to enter ICON Park?
In ICON Park, you only need to pay for attractions and food. Entry is absolutely free! For those driving in, the spacious seven-story covered parking garage is nothing less than a blessing. There’s even free valet parking included!
How many times can I ride The Wheel with a ticket?
You can go on The Wheel just once with a ticket, so if you do want another ride you will have to buy another one.
How long are tickets for The Wheel valid?
If purchased directly from ICON Park, tickets are valid for 365 days from date of purchase. (Reminder: Park Play Pass is only valid for 30 days from the date of purchase)
Are strollers allowed on The Wheel?
While smaller strollers are permitted, those larger than 36″x 52″ are banned and are prohibited from being brought onto The Wheel or within the ICON Park property.
Are wheelchairs allowed on The Wheel?
The Wheel is accessible by wheelchairs that do not exceed 36″ (92cm) in width and 52″ (132cm) in length.
What kind of camera equipment is allowed on The Wheel?
While you can take as many photos as you’d like, tripods and cameras with lenses more than 24” are not permitted on The Wheel.
Where are the restrooms?
It is a good idea to take a toilet break before riding The Wheel, especially when with kids, as the ride lasts 18 minutes. Public restrooms are located inside The Wheelhouse.
Can one Eat at ICON Park?
A diverse range of restaurants offers plenty of dining options after a ride on The Wheel.
Does The Wheel function during Bad Weather?
Tickets offer a 30-day validity if The Wheel closes during inclement weather like thunderstorms and high winds.
Do all attractions on a combo ticket need to be visited on the same day?
Nope, combo tickets are valid for 30 days after the first attraction and can be visited in any order.
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