By Peter Covino
Central Florida residents will soon be able to color their world in a brand new way as Crayola Experience Orlando gets closer to a reality.
The family attraction is coming to The Florida Mall later this year, but you can already see the big changes at the mall as Crayola crayon characters are starting to appear on a football-field sized mural on the building exterior.
The former Nordstrom department store is getting what has to one of the world’s most colorful facelifts as work on the mural continues.
Muralist Cat Badger, who comes from Crayola’s home state of Pennsylvania, and her assistant Tessa Meier, have begun work on the huge mural.
According to a press release from Crayola, this is the second time the artist has brought to life the faces of Crayola. She also painted the mural at the Crayola Experience flagship location in Easton.
The Orlando mural, however, is nearly four times the size of the one in Pennsylvania and will take weeks to complete.
The Crayola Experience is set for a July opening at the mall.
“Families are going to be stopping to take their photo in front of this dynamic and incredibly unique mural, and there’s never going to be any question of where they were when they made that memory,” marketing and sales Manager Jackie Vasquez said in a press release. “And in the end, that’s really what we’re all about. Creating colorful family memories.”
The new family attraction will include lots of activities that are fun for all including live shows and signature hands-on attractions – such as “Wrap it Up!” where you can name and wrap an authentic Crayola crayon and “Be a Star,” where you
can star in your very own coloring page – as well as some exciting new ones. The attraction also will have a retail component where guests will discover hundreds of unique Crayola products and souvenirs.
You won’t have to drive anywhere near Florida Mall to catch a glimpse of another one of Central Florida’s newest future attractions, the Orlando Eye.
The much-anticipated, seemingly mile-high project, has begun installing the glass capsules that will whisk passengers upward on the 400-foot high wheel attraction, the largest of its kind on the East Coast of the United States.
If you have been anywhere close to International Drive, you have no doubt seen this Orlando world wonder taking shape.
The project will feature 30 glass capsules, each capsule weighing in at about three metric tons or 6,600 pounds.
Building officials say the installation process is unique to The Orlando Eye, as each capsule will be attached to the wheel by a shaft and hangar attached to the top of the capsule, making it a first for an observation wheel that uses the ski lift capsule design featured on the Eye. This system will keep the floor of the capsule level to allow guests to walk around for optimal viewing.
All 30 capsules will feature air-conditioning, bench seating, lighting and audio effects, and interactive tablets providing guests with information on the 360-degree views of Central Florida.
When completed, the Orlando Eye can accommodate up to 450 guests at one time.
Orlando Eye is part of the I-Drive 360 entertainment and dining complex.
The Orlando Eye opens in spring 2015. Visit OfficialOrlandoEye.com for more information. The complex is part of Merlin Entertainments, which includes LEGOLAND Resorts, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Aquariums.
Speaking of LEGOLAND, the Central Florida attraction plans for the LEGOLAND Hotel are moving along with an official opening slated for May 15.
Also announced is Heartlake City, the newest land based on the popular LEGO Friends line of toys, will be opening this summer.
Both additions are expected to boost the local economy according to Kevin Carr, general manager of the new hotel.
Carr expects to hire 150 employees to support the Hotel.
“LEGOLAND Hotel offers a unique experience unlike any other in Florida,” said Carr in a press release. “Imagine how excited children will be to wake up in a giant toy box full of LEGO bricks and to be the first to enter the theme park each day.” Jones also announced a Master Model Builder Workshop being offered exclusively to hotel guests. “LEGOLAND Hotel is an extension of the theme park experience and the stars of our Park are our Master Model Builders,” said Jones. “We’re moving the Model Shop into our Hotel and guests will be able to learn and build with our Model Builders daily in the Master Model Builder Workshop.”
LEGOLAND officials were excited about Heartlake City. The new land will include a horse-themed disc coaster Mia’s Riding Adventure and an interactive show, ‘Friends to the Rescue’ as well as new shops inside Heartlake Mall.