Thursday, December 04, 2008

SeaWorld Manta Update

One thing to look forward to in 2009 is definitely the opening of the new SeaWorld Orlando attraction, Manta. Said to be the biggest single investment in the history of any SeaWorld park, this mega-ride will give guests the unique sensation of being a Manta ray as it swoops over sea and sky on a manta-inspired flying roller coaster.

As the ride is coming along, construction-wise, we can tell you that Manta already looks super-cool. The loading station is beginning to take shape, an area that will eventually sit at the center of the park. The highest point of the coaster was added in late October, a bright two-toned sky blue and royal blue track that swirls up to a maximum height of 140 feet and drops to a maximum of 113 feet. According to SeaWorld, everything is on schedule for a Summer 2009 opening.

Following in the tradition of animal-ride combinations over at Aquatica, Manta will begin with an incredible 184,000 gallon underwater animal habitat. Guests will be able to see 3,000 animals in ten different aquariums, featuring rays, sea dragons, sea horses, and over 2,500 fish. The aquariums will offer floor-to-ceiling, 9 foot tall views, as well as an overhead viewing panels so that visitors can see schools of rays swimming above their heads.

After feeling inspired by the rays’ incredible underwater habits, guests will then transition into the Manta ride, which will take them on a wild ride underneath the belly of a coaster train shaped like a giant manta. Guests will fly face-down, in a horizontal position, as the manta glides, swoops, and dives up to nearly 60 mph. The ride will include four inversions on 3,359 feet of track and will swoop through the sky and over the sea, getting so close to the water that the Manta’s 12-foot wings barely skim the waves.

If you’re not a fan of rollercoaster’s and Manta sounds more like madness to you than a
good time, SeaWorld assures us that the aquarium and queue will be an attraction in itself. Upon entering Manta’s queue, visitors will feel as though they’re in a seaside village. As guests wind through the mythical village, they’ll enjoy artisan-created engravings and artwork that celebrate ray legend and lore. Anticipation to the ride will build as they continue winding through caverns adorned with ray-inspired hand-crafted art in marble, jewels, and mosaics.

Manta will be SeaWorld Orlando’s second major roller coaster – the other is Kraken. Manta is being constructed by Swiss design company Bolliger & Mabillard, who are also responsible for the creation of Kraken as well as the Incredible Hulk Coaster and Dueling Dragons rides at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The 7-acre Manta ride will be located inside the main entrance to SeaWorld and will tower over the park’s 200 acres.

We can’t wait until Manta is finished, and you can bet that when this unique, new ride opens next year, will be there to give you all the awesome details. Until then, Orlando theme park-goers will have to satisfy themselves with the normal array of SeaWorld fun, which is none too shabby either. The park is even more fun when you score your discount SeaWorld tickets here at See you at SeaWorld!


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