Located in the heart of I-Drive, Icon Orlando 360 is a dining, shopping and entertainment center consisting of Sea Life Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Icon Orlando aka the Orlando Eye, the Orlando StarFlyer and much more. Given its location and the fact it has two of Orlando’s tallest structures located within it, it’s definitely something you’ll notice, but you might not know what it is.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say Icon Orlando 360 comes very close to the definition of a tourist trap. There isn’t anything branded to one of the city’s theme parks and none of the experiences are really that particularly unique, but that doesn’t mean Icon Orlando 360 isn’t worth a visit. There are plenty of things to do that can make for a really fun night out with friends or family – plus with its indoor experiences, Icon Orlando 360 is a great place to hide out during rainy afternoons.
Icon Orlando (aka The Orlando Eye)
Icon Orlando is a cool experience to have…if you can take it. It really goes without saying, but, anyone who is afraid of heights should not experience this ride. Your observation pod is completely see through save for the floor. Inside each pod is a section in the middle to sit down, some handholds and interactive screens which tell you exactly what you’re looking at.
A good thing to keep in mind with Icon Orlando is that there is still a line even after you buy your tickets. If you’re looking to be in your pod at a certain time of day or night, make sure you get there a good 60-90 minutes before that time.
Ever wanted to see how you stack up to some of your favorite celebrities and sports heros? Madame Tussauds wax museum allows you to do just that. You’ll be able to get up close and personal with some scary-good lifelike representations of celebrities, musicians, athletes and more. Catch a pass from Dan Marino, sit on the couch next to Oprah, fist bump Kung Fu Panda’s Po and even see historical figures like Einstein, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney himself.
You’ll get the most out of Madame Tussauds if you have a creative mind. Sure, you can walk up to the Ryan Reynolds wax figure and smile…but where’s the fun in that? Instead of smiling, try acting like his bodyguard, or learning in and pretending to kiss his gorgeous face.
The last time we went to the museum, they had a new and interactive exhibit focused on the Justice League. We saw wax creations of the superheroes in a really authentic-looking street setting. Exhibits like this will change from time to time, so make sure to see what’s going on when you want to come visit.
This is our favorite part of the Icon Orlando 360 experience because we love animals and aquariums. We are also very impressed with just how much Sea Life has been able to cram in a relatively small space. There are plenty of different tanks to look at with a large variety of fish and animals.
One of our favorite parts of Sea Life are the convex/concave bubbles that get you even closer to the fish. Most of bubbles require you to crawl underneath the tank, so it might not be the easiest thing to experience for adults, but if you can fit in the bubbles you can get some really cool views of the fish.
Another small thing to shout out at Sea Life is the friendly and knowledgeable staff. We’ve always had great experiences interacting whenever we’ve had questions or just learning cool things about the animals.
Skeletons: Museum of Osteology
We’ll give you three guesses as to what this museum is about.
While it might not have the most unique name, Skeletons is a very different museum experience that gives you some perspective on your favorite animals. It is the only natural history museum in Orlando and has skeletons from all walks of life and in the sea.
Oh, and if the museum isn’t creepy enough, the skeletons are all REAL.
The newest attraction at Icon Orlando 360 is also the tallest and, let’s face it, the scariest! The Orlando StarFlyer is a 360-degree swing that takes you a whopping 450 feet in the air (yes, that’s 50 feet TALLER than the Icon) and swings you at 45 miles per hour.
This ride looks especially cool at night because the Orlando StarFlyer is outfitted with hundreds of lights.
Unfortunately, that’s all we can say about this ride because there is no way either of us are going to go on it. Tyler had a hard enough time on Icon (but he got through it) and Jessica is staying far, far away from something like that.
Icon Orlando 360 features a variety of dining options as well ranging from upscale dining to fast food. You can enjoy Spanish fare at Tapa Toro, desserts at Sugar Factory and iCafe de Paris or more casual dining at Outback, Buffalo Wild Wings and Shake Shack.
Other than ordering drinks with your dinner, or getting a beer at Buffalo Wild Wings during the game, Icon Orlando 360 features two locations for drinking. Sugar Factory features some of the sweetest, sugar-filled drinks you will ever find and Tin Roof features live music along with a solid beer menu and cocktails.
Icon Orlando 360 may seem too touristy for a local and too cheesy for a tourist, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least visit the complex and see what it’s about. Besides, parking is free and available at the adjacent parking garage.
Orlando is a city built on entertainment and even if it seems cliche on the surface, Icon Orlando 360 has a lot of entertainment stuck together in one location.