The Orlando Eye Shows Florida Tourists Still Like It “Big”

Today, Orlando Eye, a 400-foot observation ferris wheel opens on Orlando’s International Drive just off I-4 down the road from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the huge Lockhead Martin plant.    The Eye is the fifth largest in the world and second only to the High Roller in Las Vegas.

FLORIDATRAVELER ORLANDO EYE

The Orlando Eye Dominates International Drive

 The new attraction gives 450 people in 30 air-conditioned capsules a birds-eye view of Universal Studios and Sea World.  It is another example of how “big” in construction, technology, and imagination seems to be the trend in tourist destinations.

Down the road at the world’s largest entertainment complex, Disney is doubling the size of its shopping center Disney Springs (Disney Downtown) with some of the new waterfront restaurants already opening.  At Animal Kingdom, the enormous Avatar land of Pandora attraction is going up complete with floating mountains and flying banshees.

“Big” has always been a good Florida advertisement.  Sixty miles away at Cape Canaveral stands the largest one-story container building in the world: the 526-foot Vehicle Assembly Building.  It’s not likely to be converted into a Titusville condo.

FLORIDATRAVELER VERTICAL ASSEMBLY BUILDING

Call the VAB The Ultimate Container Store

In North Miami the Canadian firm Triple Five Group plans to construct the four billion dollar American Dream, the largest shopping center in the world.  I don’t care much about hundreds of shops, but I am interested in the proposed artificial ski slope and lake with submarine rides.

 I still believe there are times when American tourists want to avoid the hustle and noise of all this largeness and perhaps see things on a more mundane and human scale.  That is probably why I have always pointed out the “small” things in Florida.  Like the world’s smallest post office sitting on US 41 in Ochopee in the Florida Everglades.  The 7 by 8 foot former old farm irrigation pipe shed reminds us that things started small in this country.

 FLORIDATRAVELER smallest post office

It is a One Person Post Office in Ochopee

Another of my favorite “smalls” is the original Carrabelle police station – a phone booth on US98.  After a tourist from Tennessee tried to steal the attraction, the original booth is now at 105 St James Avenue (US98) next to the Carrabelle Commerce.

FLORIDATRAVELER SMALLEST POLICE STATION

It’s nice to visit big things , but never eliminate the little things on vacation.

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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