During the "State of I-Drive" presentation, plenty of new announcements were made. Among those was the addition of a new zip line that will start at the top of the amazing SkyScraper coaster. Additionally, plenty of new retail opportunities will be coming to the area in the near future, while an entirely new transportation system will debut in the next five years, replacing the famous I-Ride Trolleys. Continue to read to learn more about what's in store for International Drive:

Weather forecast: Perfect. No Snow. Sunny days and blue skies. There is no better time to plan a vacation in the International Drive Resort Area. With everything that is happening in 2015, it's no wonder that Travel+Leisure named Orlando one of the best places to visit in 2015.

Here's a map highlighting some of the many projects that are currently taking place around International Drive (or have already been completed). Click here for the full-size version of the map.


North I-Drive Improvement Project
The new 1.5-mile stretch includes improvements for pedestrian safety in the area and helps to relieve traffic congestion. From Universal Boulevard to Oak Ridge Road, the project incorporates a series of multimodal improvements that provide for existing traffic and future growth. Improvements include the construction of an exclusive lane for buses and right turns, new bike lanes, new 10-foot wide sidewalks and streetscape elements.

Start your engines! I-Drive NASCAR has opened with the go-kart attraction, developed by AMP Group/Perfumeland.  Includws: state-of-the-art go-kart racing, bowling and arcade games, a sit down restaurant/bar, meeting space and more. Click here to see inside the attraction. Latest details: http://www.idrivenascar.com/

Artegon Orlando
Artegon, Festival Bay's transformation into the new, $70 million, 1.1 million-square-foot mall, has opened. Its Artegon Marketplace Orlando is an entirely new shopping concept for the region described as being inspired by the world’s famous marketplaces, from Seattle’s Pike Place and Boston’s Faneuil Hall to the London Flower Market. 

The Village at Artegon Marketplace houses 165 artisanal shops and stores where local craftspeople sell and demonstrate their products and services. Among the offerings are hand-made leather goods, accessories, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media artwork, custom clothing and locally-sourced foods. Artegon Marketplace Orlando is anchored by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Ron Jon Surf Shop Cinemark Theaters, Sheplers Western Stores, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.

Space Invader at Fun Spot America Orlando
Fun Spot America has opened its new thrill ride, Space Invader. Giant arms swing visitors back and forth until all you they see is sky. Then, they are swung back so all they see is the ground.

Wet 'n Wild's Aqua Drag Racer
"Aqua Drag Racer" has opened at Wet 'n Wild and stands 60 feet tall giving park guests the chance to race each other through interlocking tunnels and down steep hills, while riding face-first on their stomachs atop a foam mat. www.wetnwildorlando.com

Escapology Orlando
A real-life escape game has opened in Piazza Roma Center.

Combo pass available to four I-Drive attractions
Four International Drive attractions are now offering a new combo ticket, the I-Drive Four Pass. The pass is good for visits to CSI: The Experience, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Ripley's Orlando Odditorium and WonderWorks. Adult tickets cost $74.99 (plus tax) for all four attractions. Children ages 3 to 12 cost $54.99 each. The combo pass saves customers more than $12 when compared to individual adult ticket purchases at all four attractions. Tickets, sold here, are good for one year from the date of purchase.


I-Drive 360
One of the most anticipated attractions to come to International Drive, The Orlando Eye, part of the I-Drive 360 complex, has set its opening date and will begin taking guests on a 400-foot view of the area on May 4. Equipped with 30 6,600-pound capsules, each capsule will hold 15 people, reaching a maximum wheel-capacity of 450 people at one time. The wheel will continuously load and unload passengers as it rotates. Also, the capsules will be air-conditioned and include audio effects for riders the 20-minute experience.

Also opening on May 4 at the $200 million I-Drive 360 entertainment complex: Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Aquarium.

Star Flyer coming to I-Drive 360
And there is more news: Unicorp National Developments Inc. announced the new 420-foot Star Flyer swing attraction that is coming is coming to the Vue at 360, formerly known as Kings Plaza and the Gooding's Plaza. The attraction, set to open by 2016, will stand on the corner of I-Drive and Jamaican Court.

Skyscraper Coaster
SKYPLEX indoor entertainment complex which will include the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, weaves throughout the 570-foot tall tower. The complex is being built at the northeast corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive. The SKYPLEX will also include 495,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Included with this project will be a 1,500-space parking garage.

Two new sky-high attractions coming to the SKYPLEX!
Skyfall, the world's largest drop ride attached to a support structure will stand at more than 460 feet and join the 570-foot-tall Skyscraper coaster at the $250 million Skyplex development. The Skyfall ride will be part of the Skyscraper tower and will drop at speeds of 90 miles per hour. Skyplex, being developed by Wallack Holdings, is the 495,000-square-foot combination of upscale arcading, simulators, rock climbing, bars, restaurants and retail. The attraction is scheduled to open in 2017.

In addition to that, a 600-foot tall zip line attraction will hoist riders backwards then send them down 1,500 feet of cable! This new attraction will be called SkyFly.

Gator Spot at Fun Spot America Orlando
Gators coming to Fun Spot America! Gator Spot, a 15,000-square-foot extension of Gatorland, has broken ground and plans to open this spring. The addition will include three ponds to house baby gators, giant gators and crocodiles. A separate building will house a white gator.

Blue Martini lounge relocating
Blue Martini, relocating to Pointe Orlando in early spring 2015, features a modern design including an expansive outdoor patio overlooking International Drive. Known for offering 42 signature Martini's specialty cocktails, fine wines & spirits and appetizers, the premier martini bar is popular for after-work cocktails, happy hour and nightlife. www.bluemartinilounge.com

Mango's Tropical Café & Nightclub Complex
Planning to open summer 2015, the $30 million, 55,000-square-foot Mango's Tropical Café restaurant and nightclub at the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Loews Hotels & Resorts announces plans for a 1,000-room hotel to Universal Orlando Resort by summer 2016. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, will be the fifth hotel at Universal Orlando. The resort will have a Caribbean theme and 131,000 square feet of meeting space, according to an official release. The hotel will be located between the recently opened Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. It will also include 77 suites and boost Universal Orlando's total room count up to 5,200.

iSquare Mall+Hotel
Work on the planned $300 million-$400 million multilevel upscale mall is expected to begin by summer. In addition to the mall, the project includes an upscale mall with international retailers, along with a 26-story hotel and multi-level mall, an indoor ice skating rink, a 100,000-square-foot convention center, a 500-seat live performance theater and a rooftop observation deck with rotating restaurant. Opening is planned for summer 2017.

Orlando International Airport News
Orlando International Airport (MCO) has approved plans to expand its passenger capacity. Originally designed to accommodate 24 million travelers annually, the airport plans to nearly double the capacity to 45 million travelers per year. Enhancements include maintenance of the existing facilities, expansion to achieve ultimate North Terminal capacity and improvement of international processing. Construction on the projects will conclude in 2017.


Live music joint and eatery, Tin Roof, has opened its first Florida location in December at I-Drive 360. The Orlando location will be the Nashville, Tenn.-based chain's 14th location in the U.S. The 5,000-square-foot bar and restaurant seats 210, with 155 indoor seats and 55 outdoor seats. Tin Roof is known for hosting top local and regional bands ranging from rock to alternative to country music. In addition, Tin Roof is open for lunch and dinner, featuring favorites like the Hot Chicken Torta Mexican-style sandwich, Big Farmer Dave's Quesadilla and Kentuckyaki Wings with a sauce that includes bourbon, soy, sorghum, garlic and ginger.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill opened its first Central Florida location at Artegon Marketplace. The restaurant features the chain's trademark 95-foot guitar-shaped bar, a stage for live country music concerts, beer in mason jars and more. The location also is set to draw country music favorites like Dustin Lynch, Parmalee, Rodney Atkins, Jana Kramer and Chris Cagle, who are set to perform across the country and will make their way to Artegon Marketplace in 2015.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant has opened with more than 6,000 bottles of wine that can be seen stored on walls all throughout the venue. The 12,400-square-foot eatery is part of Unicorp National Developments Inc.’s $200 million I-Shops project. The restaurant can seat up to 340 people, which includes indoor and outdoor seating with patio space. And while Cooper’s Hawk specialty is wine with more than 40 different varieties to choose from, the restaurant also has a few signature dishes, as well. In addition, the restaurant offers a more than 60-item menu including a breakfast menu.

RA Sushi has opened at Pointe Orlando with 6,395 square feet. Offering popular music and distinctive Japanese fusion cuisine this is not your typical sushi restaurant. Part of the Benihana company portfolio, the restaurant is consistently awarded for its fresh sushi, creative cocktails, happy hour, and musically inspired nightlife.

minus5 º Ice Bar, the premium ice attraction in the United States has also opened at Pointe Orlando. Everything inside Minus 5º Ice Bar is made of 100% ice; the walls, the bar, the seats and even the glasses to drink your cocktails. Patrons are provided outerwear and gloves so that they can enjoy an LED light show and upbeat music in the pristine surroundings.


Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave. The center has unveiled its new Promenade, a 110,000-square-foot addition. The new center features a 28,462-square-foot, two-story Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th outlet shop and a 24,048-square-foot trendy Forever 21 as its anchors, and brings in several other retailers, some in combined spaces. Including: Gap Factory Store/Kids & Baby combo store, 15,000 square feet; The North Face 5,966 square feet; Tommy Bahama, 5,500 square feet, UGG Australia/Teva combo store, 5,000 square feet; Famous Footwear, 5,000 square feet and more.

The center now has a collection of 160 stores from the finest designers and name brands including one of the world's only Dior outlets, Roberto Cavalli, Lululemon Athletica, Barneys New York Outlet and more. In addition, a Volcom skater-themed retailer will open in November, while a new 8,000-square-foot full-service restaurant, Dick’s Last Resort, is planned. Dining and group tours are available.

Orlando Crossings International Drive has completed renovations and redevelopment on North International Drive. With more than 15 stores and restaurants, the shopping, the shopping complex also offers a post office, full service concierge and money exchange.

SOURCE: IDriveDistrict.com. All rights reserved.

5 Comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Air Raid was removed from Fun Spot back in January :(.

Thanks for the reminder, Anonymous! We meant to include Space Invader for Fun Spot.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love this update, thank you. Very excited for I Drive!

Anonymous said...

Could You go into more detail on this statement “entirely new transportation system will debut in the next five years, replacing the famous I-Ride Trolleys” I didn’t see anything else in the article about this or on the IDrive District website.
Thank You!

Hello Anonymous!

Unfortunately, the fact that a new transportation system is coming to I_Drive has only been mentioned during the special presentation that we mentioned at the beginning of the article. What was said includes the fact that new buses (larger than the current trolleys) will be used to transport visitors around the area. No other information is available at the moment (as far as we know). We'll keep you informed, though.

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