Orlando’s I-Drive Tourism Largely Unaffected by ICON Park Tragedy, Report Says

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The Wheel at ICON Park

Credit: internationaldriveorlando.com

Orlando is known for the massive amount of tourism that it brings in each year, especially at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.

But, it’s not just the major theme parks that attract both tourists and locals each year in Orlando, many of which who visit through Orlando International Airpot.

Orlando’s International Drive is home to nearly 40 attractions, as well as hundreds of hotels and restaurants. One of those major experiences on I-Drive is ICON Park, located right in the middle of all the action.

icon park freefall and the wheel
Credit: ICON Park

Just a couple of weeks ago, however, tragedy struck at ICON Park when 14-year-old Tyree Samson boarded the Orlando FreeFall. The boy was released from his seat and tragically fell to his death. ICON Park demanded that SlingShot Group, the company that operates Orlando FreeFall, cease operations of the attraction, as well as the Orlando SlingShot indefinitely as investigations are still ongoing.

“As the landlord of the 20-acre entertainment destination in the center of the Orlando Entertainment District, ICON Park’s mission is to provide safe, family entertainment. We rely on our tenants to be experts at what they do. In the interests of public safety, ICON Park demands that the SlingShot Group suspend not only the operation of Orlando FreeFall but also the operation of Orlando SlingShot, effective immediately, continuing until such time as a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public.

Family arriving at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

At this point, the nearby Orlando Starflyer– operated by the SlingShot Group– is still operating.

The official description for the Starflyer reads:

The new Orlando StarFlyer is “The World’s Tallest Stand-Alone Swing Ride” standing at 450 feet. It is a unique attraction that appeals to both young and old, the adventurous and not so adventurous. Guests are seated in a double seat next to their friend, family or partner and are secured in their seats with seat belts and an in between the legs harness that can only be unlocked by the ride operator. Moving up and down and rotating around the giant tower at speeds of up to 45mph, no other attraction combines safety and thrills like the StarFlyer.

Guests will also be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment with some adult beverages at the I-Drive Star Bar before, or after you ride, or just taking in the excitement while watching.

Attractions at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

Despite the tragedy that unfolded, a report from the Orlando Sentinel indicates that tourism in the area has been largely unaffected, as a matter of fact, the report found that Orlando tourism is booming.

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Larry Barton– a crisis management expert and professor at the University of Central Florida– provided consulting for Disney Parks for nearly 20 years and told the Orlando Sentinel that theme parks typically see a slight dip followed by Guests returning to normal.

“We found that guests are nervous at the outset but that if they trust the brand and a pledge to repair and recover, they return,” he said.

International Drive
Credit: internationaldriveorlando.com

Visit Orlando also indicated that there have already been steps taken to ensure Guest safety.

“Guest safety is paramount to our destination partners, and they have immediately begun taking steps to fully understand this event. “Our hearts go out to the family members and friends grieving this loss.”

The International Drive Resort Area provides visitors to the Orlando area with world-class attractions, entertainment, dining and shopping fun for the entire family! Awesome theme parks, dining, shopping and family entertainment give guests fun things to do in Orlando and a reason to visit Orlando’s Most Dynamic Destination!

Do you visit International Drive when vacationing in Orlando? Let us know in the comments!


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