The Orlando Eye
[Orlando, FL – May 29, 2018]
From hidden gems to tourist traps in one day – that is the life of a travel blogger.
If you read my previous post, you know that I spent a magical morning exploring under-rated Winter Park, FL. Travelers who wish to experience a different side of Central Florida can find a respite from amusement park crowds in this gorgeous community just 20 minutes North of Orlando.
However, even I could not resist the shiny new observation wheel I could see from my hotel room window. The 400-ft Orlando Eye, built in 2015, is operated by the same company that runs the world famous London Eye, which I visited in 2014. I’ve also ridden the Singapore Flyer, and I knew that the views from the Orlando Eye would not compare to either of these two. The best I could hope for was a nice sunset from up there. My hotel ran a free shuttle for conference attendees to the Orlando Eye and back, so I really had no excuse.
The Orlando Eye sits on International Drive (commonly known as I-Drive), an 11-mile entertainment corridor similar to the Las Vegas strip. It costs $28 to go up, which is quite pricey, especially when compared to the $34 I paid to go up the London Eye in 2014 and the $20 for the Singapore Flyer in 2011. The cabins are air-conditioned, which is nice, but honestly, the views were not worth it for me. Yes, you can see some of the amusement parks from up there, but that’s it. The nice sunset I was hoping for didn’t materialize because it was too cloudy.
And here comes the kicker. From atop the Eye, I noticed a tall parking structure right next door. Its rooftop seemed like the perfect spot to take great photos of the observation wheel, so I headed there after my ride. It was still light out, and there was a couple there on a date. It was a bit desolate but I didn’t feel unsafe. However, a security guard approached the three of us and told us to leave because there were “issues” on the rooftop recently and they didn’t want anyone up here. Given that I was already unimpressed with the ferris wheel ride, this information made all the more annoyed. Orlando, you spent $90 million to build this major tourist attraction, but can’t secure its parking lot? ARGH! At least I got the security guard to take my picture! 🙂
My desire to walk some of I-Drive completely dissipated after this. I am completing this blog entry with photos of the batmobile displayed in front of the Eye as part of the Orlando Madame Tussaud’s Justice League exhibit. I only saw this because I was headed for the Walgreens next door to get myself a bottle of wine. 🙂
And even though I didn’t get a great sunset on the Orlando Eye, I did see this gorgeous one from my hotel the next night. Can you spot the ferris wheel in the bottom left?