Updated: Nov 10, 2019
If you’re a fan of heights, or you’re trying to conquer the fear of them, you’ll find plenty of high-flying adventures in the Orlando area. There are many attractions that reach new heights, and they just keep topping each other. Some of the tallest and craziest attractions you’ll discover in Orlando aren’t even in our theme parks! So, sit back and relax with your feet on the ground (for now), and let’s take a peek at where to get high in Orlando!
The centerpiece of I-Drive’s ICON Park, The Wheel may have struggled with a bit of an identity crisis since it’s opening in 2015, but here’s hoping that its latest (simplistic) name is the one that will stick. The Wheel is an observation wheel (not to be confused with a Ferris wheel) that towers 400-ft over Orlando. The Wheel has 30 climate-controlled capsules, accommodating up to 15 guests each, and a full rotation takes about 22 minutes to complete.
The design of an observation wheel provides for completely unobstructed views from stabilized capsules. This makes for a smooth, comfortable ride with spectacular views. The Wheel has 64,000 color-changing LEDs to create different light shows and displays throughout the year, and Central Florida residents and guests can enjoy these shows even from afar! The Wheel is the second-tallest observation wheel in the U.S., following the High Roller in Las Vegas (550-ft.) – though New York is hoping to top them both in the near future, at 625-ft..
All year long, you can choose from a menu of add-on and package specials to enhance your visit to The Wheel. Pair your revolutionary experience with a meal from a choice of ICON Park eateries with the “Fly & Dine” deal, opt for a combo package including other ICON Park attractions like SEALIFE Aquarium and Madame Tussauds, or make it a “Sky Bar Party Flight” with friends. The Wheel is a fantastic experience, appropriate for all ages. Catch our original videos from the opening of The Orlando Eye, Nik Wallenda’s walk on The Orlando Eye, and the construction process in varying stages, behind-the-scenes.
Taller than its neighboring wheel by 50-ft., the new Orlando StarFlyer is the world’s tallest swing ride. Brave guests are seated in a double seat (12 x 2 seats – 24 riders in total per ride) with seat belts and a between-the-legs harness. Moving up and down and rotating 360-degrees around the giant tower high above Orlando at speeds of up to 45mph, the StarFlyer is a liberating experience. And it’s a sight to behold! By night, over 240,000 LED lights make the newest I-Drive icon easily spottable as a beacon of fun in the heart of Orlando’s high-flying tourist district. The ride lasts about three minutes, and the minimum height is 44″. The Star Bar can provide liquid courage before your experience, or a reward for your bravery after you land.
The Kissimmee SkyCoaster at Fun Spot is the world’s tallest SkyCoaster at 300-ft., and it can accommodate up to three guests at a time. As luck would have it, the second tallest SkyCoaster is right down the road at Fun Spot Orlando, and it stands at 250-ft. There is a height requirement for both SkyCoaster attractions – you must be at least 42″ to ride. This attraction is a separately-priced experience from the Fun Spot attractions package, and it makes for fabulous video! This attraction claims to be about as close as you can get to jumping out of an airplane, without actually doing it. Not one I’m able to speak of from personal experience, but I’d love to hear about your courageous quest to conquer this beast!
If you master the Kissimmee SkyCoaster with ease and feel particularly bulletproof, head next door to Old Town and try out the Sling Shot! Find yourself catapulted vertically, 328-ft. into the sky at more than 100 miles per hour. The Sling Shot is quite aptly named as an elasticized, almost reverse-bungee experience. Sling Shot welcomes one or two passengers at a time, and it is a separately-ticketed attraction that can be packaged with souvenir t-shirts and video of your experience. The Sling Shot operators also run the adjacent Vomatron, which they describe as “a giant propeller with seats on each end”. It is a vertically-mounted centrifuge-type model, running at speeds of more than 70 miles per hour, spinning the passenger capsules at more than 4gs of force. Both of these attractions have a 44″ height requirement.
If you thought that our only hot-air balloon experience was the tethered “Characters in Flight” at Disney Springs, you’re missing the genuine article right down the road from the Walt Disney World Resort in Davenport. Orlando Balloon Rides offers sunrise flights daily all year-round. The one-hour flights reach up to 2,500-ft. in height over theme parks, orange groves, forests, and swamps. After landing, a traditional champagne toast is held to celebrate your adventure. An average flight is approximately seven miles in length.
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is “a progressively challenging aerial obstacle course set high atop the trees in a natural pine forest”. Features of this enchanting recreational wonderland include: rope swings and ladders, nets, suspension bridges, swinging logs, “hanging skate boards”, and zip lines. Color-coded obstacles and paths define necessary skill levels to complete each course – from kids’ levels to advanced. Overall, you’ll find 97 aerial challenges at Orlando Tree Trek.
You can capture some fantastic photos and video, or enjoy a romantic or memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience when you add a helicopter tour to your plans. Orlando Heli-Tours is Orlando’s premier helicopter touring company, providing the only air-conditioned flights over Orlando and Kissimmee. Orlando Heli-Tours offers a selection of tours, departing from two locations. Prices vary based on tour choice and length of travel. Helicopter tours are family-friendly!
The Citrus Tower in Clermont is an historic, 226-foot-tall structure built in 1956. It once ushered guests in large numbers to remarkable views of surrounding orange groves. The Citrus Tower includes an audible coin drop feature from the top of the tower to the bottom. At the base, you’ll find a banquet facility, gift shop, and museum of the tower’s history. Unfortunately, the tower is no longer right in the center of the main tourist flow, but it is certainly not far off the beaten path. The view has also changed quite a bit over the years, but it’s still magnificent. The Citrus Tower makes a great stop if you’re visiting recreational facilities in Clermont like Lake Louisa State Park, or Clermont-area sports complexes. It’s a wonderful way for the whole family to have a genuine Florida experience at a low cost!
I have to take an experiential stance with this one, as I generally avoid many of the types of attractions listed here myself. I was a bit unnerved about checking out iFly. I assumed that at best, I’d make a fool of myself – at worst, I’d wind up injured. I never accounted for the better-than-best scenario… that I’d nail it, and love it. I even opted for the “high flight” add-on! iFLY is the perfect experience for the person who cannot do many of the things we’re discussing here. Sincerely – it was awesome! So… how does it work? From iFLY directly: “A vertical wind tunnel has fans at the top to draw air through the flight chamber and then push it back down the sides through Return Air Towers. That leads to an inlet contractor that compresses and speeds up the air before it reenters the flight chamber. The result: a smooth column of air that enables you to fly”. This is a fantastic experience, and a memorable one, for all ages. The instructors are exceptionally good with all types of guests. Check out our iFLY videos: here and here.
If you absolutely, positively cannot bring yourself to do anything else on this list, here is one where you can keep your feet firmly planted on the ground the entire time, and simply take in the history of flight and the marvel of aviation – the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland. Florida’s “Official Aviation Museum and Education Center”, the museum exhibits include legendary one-of-a-kind designs, classics, antiques, warbirds, and more. As a “tribute to the history and joy of flight”, Florida Air Museum includes tributes to aviation pioneers like Howard Hughes, and Floridians who have influenced the industry, and year-round educational opportunities.
Of course, this list is the type that will continue to grow, just like the attractions it covers. In fact, there are already plans for more new additions that will surely be added to this page in the future. At the rate I-Drive is rising, we’re sure to see some new peaks forming soon!