BritWeek Orlando continues with visits to UCF School of Medicine and Merlin Entertainments Orlando Eye

Filed under: Florida News,Orlando Attractions,Orlando Events,Video |

BritWeek Panel Discussion with Consul General David Prodger at UCF College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida - 6th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)BritWeek Panel Discussion with Consul General David Prodger at UCF College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida - 6th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

BritWeek Orlando 2014 continued this week after the kick off party at Aston Martin Orlando on Wednesday night with visits to the UCF School of Medicine and the Orlando Eye on International Drive.

On Thursday, BritWeek held a panel discussion with Consul General David Prodger at the UCF School of Medicine in Lake Nona. Moderating the discussion was Michael Schiffhauer from Enterprise Florida and panelists included  George Cheros, COO of Center for Simulation, Dr. Tom O’Neal, University of Central Florida, Aziz Patel, Founder and COO of Freshorize, Doug Johnson, EVP and COO of Pentaho and Dr. Jonathan Kibble from UCF College of medicine.  It was a well attended event that covered the relationship between British and American company’s in some depth.

BritWeek Panel Discussion with Consul General David Prodger at UCF College of Medicine, Orlando, Florida - 6th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

In 1997 UK/US trade passed the $100 billion barrier and just ten years later, it doubled to over $200 billion.

Today, the trading and investment relationship between the US and the UK is one of the largest and most important in the world, with almost one trillion dollars invested between them in each others economies. British businesses employ around a million people in the United States, and American companies employ around a million in the UK, making the two countries by far each others largest foreign job supporters.

British-American trade was worth $214 billion in 2012, and continues to grow despite challenging economic conditions. The US is the largest single destination for British exports, and the UK is America’s largest export market in the EU. Transportation equipment, metals, chemicals and computer and electronic products are America’s most valuable goods exports to the UK, but we also trade extensively in services, particularly tourism and financial and business services.

Merlin Entertainments Orlando Eye, International Drive, Orlando, Florida - 7th November 2014 (Photographer: Nigel G. Worrall)

This morning, the group met again with Consul Prodger and explored the new Merlin Entertainments new entertainment complex on International Drive in Orlando. The attendees toured the construction area at The Orlando Eye, Orlando Sea Life Aquarium and Madame Tussauds museum.

The Orlando Eye has been the topic of conversation among locals for quite a while as the towering inner wheel structure was being built. The construction is very visible from the I4 interstate and the project is well on target for a Spring 2015 opening.

The Orlando Eye has a duel support system unlike it’s big sister in London, England which is a cantilever version. Eventually the wheel will reach a height of 400 feet offering riders a superb view of Central Florida. In fact, on a good day, it may be possible to view the vehicle assembly building over at Kennedy Space Center. The Eye itself  is driven by fourteen electronic drives located on a lower level and this is actually more than the structure needs as extra drives have been installed to prevent possible problems in the future.

The new attraction will open sometime in Spring 2015 but only after an extensive testing period of the wheel running for 90 consecutive days.

Madame Tussauds and Orlando Sea Life Aquarium are also due to open at the same time and both attractions are coming together quite nicely. The BritWeek group were given a conducted tour around the planned Madame Tussauds interactive experience. They also learned about the life of Anna Maria “Marie” Tussaud who became known for her wax sculptures and the original wax museum that she founded in London. Tussaud was born in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her father, Joseph Grosholtz, was killed in the Seven Years War  just two months before Marie was born. Her mother, Anne-Marie Walder, took her to Bern where she worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philppe Curtis, a physician and wax sculptor who Marie would call her uncle.

It was Curtius who taught Tussaud the art of wax modeling. She showed talent for the technique and began working for him as an artist. In 1777, she created her first wax figure, that of  Voltaire. From 1780 until the Revolution in 1789, Tussaud created many of her most famous portraits of celebrities such as Benjamin Franklin and Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI.

Tussaud became involved in the French Revolution and met many of its important figures including Napoleon Bonaparte and Robepierre.  Tussaud was arrested during the Reign of Terror and she came close to being executed by guillotine.  Thanks to Collot d’Herbois support for Curtius and his household, she was released where she was then employed to make death masks of the victims of the guillotine. This included some of the Revolution’s most infamous dead such as Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Marat and Robespierre. Her death masks were held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris.

When Curtius died in 1794, he left his collection of wax works to Tussaud. In 1795, she married Francois Tussaud and she traveled with her collection throughout Great Britain and Ireland before establishing her first permanent exhibition in Baker Street in 1935.  Today, under the Merlin Entertainments banner it  has expanded with branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New Yourk City, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna, Washington D.C., Wuhan and Tokyo.  In addition to the Orlando addition, there are plans to locate new collections in Beijing, Prague, Singapore and San Francisco.

BritWeek continues tonight with a Red Carpet Cocktail under the Stars at Full Sail University and concludes tomorrow with British Bonfire Night at Formosa Gardens in Kissimmee. More photographs from BritWeek at and you can learn more about BritWeek at

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