It’s no secret that Florida is one of our all-time favourite places to visit. I mean, how can you not love a place that boasts some of the biggest and best theme parks in the world?!
But did you know there’s a lot more to Florida – and particularly Orlando – than meets the eye? Good news for those of you who aren’t so keen on rollercoasters and thrill rides.
We’ve always known there’s a lot to do in and around Orlando, but as a family who loves the Floridian theme parks, we don’t tend to take too many days off from them. Now and again we might mooch around the Florida mall, but that’s always been about it. We generally spend the rest of our time at Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World or the SeaWorld parks.
But there is much more to see and do.
This year, for the very first time, we decided to spend a day doing something rather different for us. We skipped a day at the parks to visit the ICON Orlando 360 complex instead.
There’s a lot to do at the ICON complex. There are attractions like Madame Tussauds, a Sea Life aquarium and even a museum of osteology (the study of skeletons). There are a whole host of restaurants and other eateries, and some shopping and entertainment places too.
The piece de resistance though is the ICON Orlando, which used to be called the Orlando Eye. The travel company, Ocean Florida, gave my family tickets to ride it and it didn’t disappoint.
Standing at 400ft, the ICON Orlando is the tallest observation wheel on the east coast of the US. It’s definitely tall! Worth noting though that the Orlando Eye is still 44ft smaller than its London counterpart.
The ICON has 30 passenger pods, each one taking up to 15 people at a time. We actually managed to get a pod all to ourselves so it felt very luxurious! It was a welcome change to the time we went on the London Eye and was crammed in with hardly any room to move (the London Eye pods carry up to 25 passengers each).
The ride itself took around 20 minutes or so (I wasn’t clock watching). You even get music to listen to as you go around.
There isn’t a lot of seating in the pods (well, there wasn’t in ours), but we didn’t mind. We were too busy trying to find landmarks and rollercoasters poking out into the sky from the big theme parks.
They say that on a good day, you can see all the way to Cape Canaveral (about 56 miles away).
How much does it cost to ride the ICON Orlando?
If you buy your tickets online and direct from the ICON Orlando website, a general admission ticket (that lets you ride at any time of day or night within regular operating hours) costs $27.99 per adult and $22.99 for children (between the ages of 3 and 12). Babies and children up to the age of 3 can ride for free.
There are ways to make this cheaper though, such as booking tickets for a specific date and time. You may also find that some third parties may offer discounts and deals from time-to-time.
What we thought of the ICON ORLANDO
We all thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the big wheel. Getting our own pod was a real bonus and one you’d never get in London.
Will we do it again when we go back? Yes, absolutely. Next time though, we might do it at night – it’s a great way to watch the daily firework displays from Disney and Universal.
As mentioned in the post, Ocean Florida gave us four tickets to ride the ICON Orlando for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the company in any way. For more information about how I work with brands, visit my ‘work with us‘ page.