Monday, July 13, 2009

Manta Joins SeaWorld

The SeaWorld franchise has expanded well beyond Budweiser Clydesdales and the Shamu Adventure show. Gone are the days where the park was viewed solely as an educational experience and marine research institute with a beautiful killer whale mascot. Over the years, the park has expanded and changed into a thrill-ride champion and competitor to other Orlando theme parks like Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.

With the addition of Kraken, SeaWorld’s first large-scale roller coaster, the park was launched into the coaster enthusiast spotlight. At the time of its grand opening in 2000, Kraken was the largest roller coaster in South Florida and the first floorless roller coaster in the Southern United States. Even though Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest has now taken Kraken’s longest coaster crown, SeaWorld took the proverbial ball and ran into a whole new world of marine related adventure.

The latest thrill ride experience at SeaWorld is the award-winning Manta coaster. Awarded the “Best New Attraction” title by, Manta is the tallest and fastest “flying” roller coaster in the world. The manta ray-shaped coaster gets its “flying” title thanks to the position of riders on the ride. When SeaWorld engineers created the ride, they intended to mimic the gliding movement of rays in the water for their riders. So, once riders board their specific car, they will be tilted face down before beginning the 140-ft ascension up the coaster’s first hill.

If the tail whips, pretzel-loops and corkscrews of Manta are too much for you, the ride’s queue features an elaborate exhibit of ocean creatures. The queue at Manta is open to those riding the coaster and for those who are only curious as to what the exhibit has in store. Built to resemble a sea village, the Manta queue features ten aquariums with over 60 species of animals and 300 variations of the ride’s mascot: the ray. If you are waiting in line or just passing through, the aquarium will give you the feeling of being underwater as rays and tropical fish glide overhead.

With rides like Manta and Kraken, sales of SeaWorld tickets have greatly improved, with many SeaWorld execs attributing the increase in attendance to their water-themed coasters. Your best bet in experiencing these great rides as well as the beautiful aquariums, fireworks and live entertainment is to check out the deals has to offer. Manta awaits!


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