By Peter Covino
Paris has the Eiffel Tower and New York, the Empire State Building, but soon the Orlando area may have two iconic structures in its skyline.
Joining the Orlando Eye giant observation wheel, already under construction, is The Skyscraper, the world’s tallest roller coaster, the centerpiece for a new International Drive attraction called the Skyplex.
Developers announced plans for The Skyscraper at Skyplex this week at a press conference at International Drive. The $200 million Skyplex will be 570 feet tall (the Orlando Eye is only 425 feet) and comprise almost 495,000 square feet of space at its International Drive/Sand Lake Road location.
“Next to our theme parks, International Drive is one of the most recognized icons of Orlando,” said Visit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel, in a press release from the Skyplex developers. “It’s exciting for our tourism community to see this type of investment being made to continuously raise the bar on the dining and entertainment experiences we offer across our destination.”
The Skyscraper centerpiece at the complex will feature the first Polercoaster ever built. This mega-thrill ride is a vertical rollercoaster created with coaster-length tracks featuring “all the other thrilling mayhem” of a great coaster experience, but “in a very small footprint,” said Michael Kitchen, President of US Thrill Rides, the Orlando based company that created the ride.
Bill Kitchen, founder of US Thrill Rides and creator of the Polercoaster said in the release, “Not only will the ‘Skyscraper’ coaster be the world’s tallest, we believe it will be the most thrilling. There will be incredible heart-pounding inside and outside loops, dives, spirals and inversions like the world has never seen.”
The Skyplex observation deck at the tip of the tallest structure in Central Florida will offer views 535 feet from the ground. To get there, visitors will ride in the region’s tallest glass elevators.
“We’re extremely excited about creating a record-breaking, must-try attraction on International Drive,” said Joshua Wallack, Mango’s Tropical Café chief operating officer, who also will open a Mango’s Orlando next year across International Drive from SKYPLEX. “Nowhere in the world will you have two iconic structures like The Skyscraper and the Orlando Eye. This will be an incredible opportunity for International Drive. ”
More from the press release:
Wallack and his father David are partners in the mixed-use development that includes opportunities for additional attractions, entertainment, interactive venues, restaurants and retail to include a two-story prime retail space on International Drive. The Skyplex indoor entertainment complex including the observatory and restaurant and lounge at the top of the Skyscraper was designed by global architectural firm HHCP, based in Orlando, and will be constructed by Euforria, a construction management division of Winter Park Construction.
“Imagine a night of incredible dining, lounging and dancing atop a glass elevator ride 55 stories into the air,” said David Wallack. “It’s a true meeting of engineering, technology and art that is making this dream happen for us. We plan to bring Ocean Drive to I-Drive with a new dining and nightlife district that locals and Orlando visitors won’t want to miss.”
The Skyplex complex was conceived in late 2012 soon after Joshua Wallack began investigating parking garage locations for the Mango’s Orlando restaurant project.
What began as a search for multi-acre valet parking site for the Mango’s project mushroomed into a whirlwind of negotiations for additional land after Wallack was contacted by US Thrill Rides as to their interest in building the world’s first Polercoaster ride. The Wallacks rolled up five contiguous sites comprising 12 acres of land with 300 front feet on International Drive near Sand Lake Road and were soon collaborating with US Thrill Rides to license and develop the Polercoaster, which they now dub “The Skyscraper.” SKYPLEX will include a 1,500-car parking garage with a valet parking option.
Mango’s Tropical Café in Orlando, opening in 2015, will be a world-class restaurant and nightlife entertainment destination in the heart of the International Drive district and just one mile from the Orange County Convention Center. The restaurant, with 55,000 square feet of entertainment space, live bands, shows and dancing, plus gourmet dining and event packages, will have a parking garage next door to it.
For more information, visit www.skyplex.com.
About the Wallack family: The Wallack family has built a reputation as entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Miami with the Mango’s Tropical Café South Beach restaurant. The Wallacks have pioneered the innovative Community Partnership Program in Miami Beach benefitting Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, which has yielded more than half a million dollars in the past two years. The Wallacks plan similar philanthropic activities in Central Florida.
About US Thrill Rides:
US Thrill Rides is based in Orlando and has delivered thrills across the globe for more than 22 years. Its unique offering of ride concepts includes SkyCoaster, SkyVenture, SkyQuest, UniCoaster, SkyView, SkySpire, and its newest thrill ride: PolerCoaster, the world’s tallest vertical roller coaster that amplifies elevation and reduces horizontal space requirements through a ride that twists and loops its way down from an observation tower at heights ranging from 300 to 650 feet.
World Cup everywhere
Bright House Networks has announced that World Cup Soccer fans will be able to see every game no matter where they are.
The tournament kicks off June 12, culminating with the championship game July 13 in Rio de Janeiro. All 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup from Brazil will be broadcast live on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 in English and on Univision in Spanish.
For fans on the go, the Bright House Networks TV Everywhere service will also deliver every game in English and Spanish. For English all games will be accessible via the WatchESPN app over the Internet, as well as mobile platforms, devices and Internet video services including iOS, Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, Xbox 360/One, Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV. All that’s required to stream the games is for users to have ESPN on their cable TV service, and then log in using their Bright House My Services credential. In Spanish, the World Cup’s 64 matches will also be available live on the Univision Deportes app — available for PCs and iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The Univision Deportes app also allows fans to view highlights and other content, receive personalized alerts, and access match schedules, results and other content The first two rounds of World Cup action will be available free for anyone to watch on the Univision Deportes App. Starting July 4 with the quarterfinals through the July 13 final, users must have Univision Deportes on their Bright House Networks cable TV service and log in using their Bright House My Services credentials in order to stream the games.
And when you want to replay a favorite match, Bright House Networks will also be offering the action through its On Demand service. For English, all 64 games will be available on Sports & Fitness On Demand in SD and HD (individual games will be available for 1 week). Spanish-language versions of all 64 games will be available on Lo Mejor On Demand in SD and HD (individual games will be available for 1 week).
Free donut day
Whether you spell it the Krispy Kreme way (doughnut) or the Dunkin’ Donuts way, today is get a free donut day to celebrate National Donut Day.
Dunkin’ Donuts guests can have the free donut of their choice (including some new summer flavors) with the purchase of any beverage. That includes the Cobbler Donut (blueberry filling and coffee cake streusel topping) and the Chocolate Chip Donut (Orlando area only).
Also, in Palm Coast and Melbourne, the Sheriff’s Office’s and Dunkin’ Donuts are joining forces to promote seat belt safety with a little help from a sweet treat. On National Donut Day, deputies will be “staked” at a local Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant providing customers who pledge to wear their seat belts with “tickets.” The tickets will actually be coupon books for their next Dunkin’ Donuts visit including another free donut with beverage purchase and 99 cent small iced coffee. Palm Coast-area residents can visit Dunkin’ Donuts at 1310 Palm Coast Parkway and Melbourne residents can visit 4640 W. Eau Gallie Blvd. on Friday, June 6 from 8 – 10 a.m. to support the campaign and receive their coupon book.
Meanwhile, no purchase is necessary at Krispy Kreme today to get a free doughnut of any variety, including the original glazed variety.
Area Krispy Kreme locations include:
1031 S. Orlando Avenue (17-92), Winter Park, FL 32789
Open 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday–Thursday) and 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)
Drive thru Open 24 hours.
4080 Millenia Blvd., Orlando.
Open 24 hours.
5310 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (192 / Mile Marker 11.5), Kissimmee.
Open 24 hours
National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by The Salvation Army to raise funds for people in need during the depression era, and is observed every year on the first Friday of June.