Saturday, March 25, 2023

Merlin, Circle Entertainment & Unicorp in talks to bring new attractions to Orlando, develop "I-Walk" center

Orlando / London  Global visitor attraction operator Merlin Entertainments (‘Merlin’) confirmed today that it is working with New York-based entertainment company Circle Entertainment, Inc. ( and Orlando-based developer Unicorp, to bring at least three of its best known global attraction brands to Orlando including  Madame Tussauds and the Orlando ‘Eye’ – a sensational 425 ft high wheel!    Talks are well advanced, and if agreed, the attractions will form a key part of Circle and Unicorp’s exciting plans for I-Walk Orlando – a new high quality development of retail, restaurant and bars and entertainment facilities scheduled to open in 2013 in the centre of International Drive at the old Mercado location.
Paul Kanavos, President of Circle Entertainment, said, “I-Walk Orlando will be a very exciting addition to International Drive, providing a unique mix of leisure and retail activities.  When we were looking for a partner, Merlin was the obvious place to start and we welcome them to I-Walk. Merlin has a unique portfolio of indoor visitor attractions all with global reputations; but most importantly they are the owners and operators of the world famous London Eye observation wheel in the UK. They are also the second largest attraction operator in the world and are expanding very rapidly here in the USA. Circle Entertainment is committed to building and owning the Orlando Eye at I-Walk Orlando and is seeking other preeminent domestic and international locations for its Observation Wheels under its exclusive worldwide license agreement with US Thrill Rides and Bill Kitchen, its founder.”
Unicorp President Chuck Whittall said, about the project and his development joint venture with Circle Entertainment, ‘We are so pleased to undertake this extraordinary new development opportunity that will re-shape the landscape of International Drive. We waited patiently for four years to create the ideal retail and entertainment destination.  This is it and will be a world wide destination. I-Walk Orlando has secured all necessary zoning and entitlements.”
Merlin Entertainments’ CEO Nick Varney said, “I-Walk Orlando is destined to be a ‘must visit’ destination for Orlando’s millions of visitors. With this project we believe Merlin, Unicorp and Circle Entertainment will be bringing an exceptional group of new attractions to what is undoubtedly the best and most exciting location for family entertainment any where in the world.  More than that, in October we are opening LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven, our second LEGOLAND theme park in the USA and fifth in the world underlining the importance of North America, and Florida in particular, as key development areas for Merlin.”

Further information regarding the I-Walk Orlando project is available via the Circle Entertainment, Inc Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

Related Articles

Latest Articles