Exciting Entertainment Revives I-Drive


Luis Roldan Cuba

(Left) Pointe Orlando recently underwent a $32 million redevelopment which included a new corridor nicknamed “The Link,” which connects visitors from the I-Drive entrance to the back of the complex. A new modern seating area also caters to guests who want to explore the variety of new restaurants and socialize.

Luis Roldan Cuba, Co-Editor

In Orlando, there’s no shortage of entertainment options, especially considering that the city has long held the title as one of the world’s top tourist destinations. But with the swift impact of the pandemic, the area known as the “Happiest Place on Earth” quickly turned empty. With travel restrictions and fear of the Coronavirus running rampant, many businesses had no choice but to shut down, some even for good. Several International Drive staples, including ICON Park and Pointe Orlando, however, took their losses and created a whole new experience for guests once travel became more accessible and safer again. Dubbed “I-Drive” by locals and visitors alike, the area has always been a desirable destination for entertainment seekers. However, I-Drive has recently taken a distinct approach to keep the amusement alive. Seeing the growing popularity of immersive experiences trending worldwide, ICON Park decided to bring the Museum of Illusions, which has more than 30 locations in 30 major cities, right to Central Florida. And what better place to expand their influence than the hub for entertainment?

Walking into the Museum of Illusions, I was mostly expecting a display of all the trendy illusions I see on my Instagram feed. However, I was surprised to see that it was much more interactive than I originally expected. I saw people of all ages, whether they were children or adults accompanying them, who had the same curiosity and excitement for the different exhibits inside the Museum of Illusions. Each showpiece had a separate set of instructions to follow the illusion it was trying to convey, and that made the experience much more easy to follow and enjoy.

Personally, my favorite exhibit was the set of paintings that change form as guests walk past them. I even walked by a mural of a man whose eyes moved as visitors changed their position in front of him. This quickly reminded me of the widely believed theory behind the woman in the famous Mona Lisa painting. In addition to these quirky showpieces that were

scattered around the museum, there was also a variety of educational illusions that made me play mind games with myself as I was trying to solve the puzzles. I have to admit that I spent almost 10 minutes attempting to figure out one of the harder illusions. The length of interaction can increase based on the level of difficulty. As I approached the exit of the Museum of Illusions, I came across a piece that read, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, be sure that an illusion hides more than a million,” and after this new adventure, I couldn’t have agreed more.

After what seemed to be hours wandering around the Museum of Illusions, I spent some time exploring the rest of ICON Park to see where my hunger would take me for dinner. I ended up at Tapa Toro, which was conveniently located right next to the museum. I came to find out that ICON Park had renovated the entire area and brought in new businesses and attractions to attract a, “New type of tourist” to the area, which includes a number of international restaurants and vendors. Tapa Toro immediately drew my attention when I saw live flamenco dancing taking place on the restaurant’s patio. Its lively vibe and expansive menu make it one of the most popular destinations in the complex, one of the servers told me. Given their advice, I knew I was in for a special treat.

It is clear that these two locales are setting the scene for a revamped tourist experience both in and out of Central Florida. ICON Park’s influential presence in the area is already helping to bring more action for the public to take full advantage of. With the growing support of visitors from across the country, I-Drive can come back as a must-see destination.

(Above) Rides at ICON Park are just one part of why thrill seekers keep on eagerly returning. (Luis Roldan Cuba)
(Above) The chorizo-wrapped dates provide a tasty look into Tapa Toro’s inventive Spanish selections. (Luis Roldan Cuba)
Guests at the Museum of Illusions were certainly mesmerized by this dot which changes positions as they stare longer into the frame. (Luis Roldan Cuba)
The Wheelhouse Market greets guests with merchandise and snacks before riding The Wheel. (Luis Roldan Cuba)