The 550-foot “High Roller,” the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, opened with great fanfare and a smashed bottle of champagne today in Las Vegas. After a ceremonial Dom Perignon christening, each of the wheel’s 28 pod-like cabins were quickly packed to their 40-person capacity by local dignitaries and eager tourists who had been waiting in a blocks-long line.
Moving along at a steady 1 mph, the 30-minute ride offered its first guests sweeping 360-degree vistas over the Vegas skyline and beyond. Located a couple of blocks east of the Strip, the massive wheel is the centerpiece of Caesars Entertainment Corp’s new $550 million “The LINQ” entertainment complex of newly opened and upcoming shops, bars and restaurants.
One-hundred feet taller than the London Eye, and about 10 feet higher than previous world-record-holder, the Singapore Flyer, the High Roller is an instant icon of the Vegas strip, particularly at night, when its 2,000 LED lights burst into color to put on a show for visitors and its spherical white cabins bob in the sky like floating champagne bubbles. With 3,600 tons of steel in its triangular supports, 1,630-foot circle, 112 cables, and 28 cabins carrying a capacity of over 1,100 people riding simultaneously, the High Roller is truly a Vegas-sized tinkertoy project.
Hundreds of visitors were lined up around the block for High Roller’s 1 p.m. debut. Locals Mac and Sheri Mackenzie were the first ticketed passengers on High Roller, arriving an hour before opening.
— Daena Kramer - DK (@justkramer) March 31, 2014
Mac told Yahoo Travel, “This was one of the top 10 rides I’ve ever been on, just spectacular views, and so smooth you don’t even realize you’re moving. It’s an absolute home run for Las Vegas.”
Early Twitter reactions include “Best views in town” (@justkramer) and “Such a beautiful experience” (@courtneylianne) and “Cheesy audio, but the ride is cool” (@joanna_haugen). Caesars is projecting 4 million guests for the High Roller’s first year of operation.
Visitors can reserve tickets online at www.thelinq.com for their rides, $26.95 per trip from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., or $36.95 from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. (including service fee). This being Vegas, you can even rent out a cabin for a wedding and have Elvis officiate if you’d like.
Visitors are actually encouraged to bring drinks on board (as long as you buy them at the High Roller’s Wheelhouse Bar). Time your ride right, and you can watch the fountains at the Bellagio dance under a desert sunset.