SeaWorld Orlando Kraken VR Review
Just got back from the AP preview of Kraken VR. Thought I would share my thoughts briefly ...
In general, I found the VR overlay on Kraken to be largely disappointing. It really wasn't immersive at all and I kept asking myself why VR on a coaster is even necessary in the first place.
The graphics themselves were pretty unimpressive. No real story to speak of. Just some underwater scenes with generally unrealistic graphics. The VR unit fit OK, but did bounce around some during the ride. The earmuff speakers were basically a joke and did not work well at all.
It all kind of feels like a cheap retrofit. Which, in reality, is exactly what it is. Something you might expect to find at a smaller, regional theme park - perhaps around the corner in Orlando at Fun Spot America.
The dispatch times were right around 4 minutes/car. Horrible, although I would expect it to improve some over time. And although I never get motion sickness on rides EVER, I did experience a twinge of motion sickness on Kraken VR.
One and done for me. I love Kraken and think it is a top tier floorless coaster. But it probably won't be worth enduring the wait. I can only hope that the reception on Kraken VR is poor enough that it is eventually pulled from the ride.
And if Mako can't spin the turnstiles for Sea World, Kraken VR certainly won't move the needle on attendance either.
Kraken VR was gimmicky ... even more so than I expected. After hitting a grand slam with (arguably) the best coaster in Orlando with Mako, SW has given us a total dud. Here's hoping that Electric Ocean can save the summer.
I really don't get VR on a coaster either as a coaster alone should be good. But it shows how desperate Sea World is, a new "addition" that is just a letdown which is really a metaphor for the whole park. At least not the massive waste the Antartica section was.
Cedar Point did a test run using VR on Iron Dragon, a very easy family coaster, and it was so successful that it's being offered every evening this season. Iron Dragon is an Arrow suspended coaster- basically a good first coaster for those just discovering the fun, but the VR they added makes it like a brand new, really exciting coaster. Cedar Point got two different coasters this way- the gently swinging daytime coaster, and the wild flight through attacking ogres and dragons in the evening.
I definitely won't be using the VR option, when I ride Kraken. Not because I don't like VR. I think it's great. But because Kraken just doesn't need it. It's a fine coaster as it is, with some fantastic real life views. I'm not about to miss out on that, for a bit of CG.
So just a few comments. Floorless, not inverted. My headphones worked perfectly and the video synced up with the motion spot on. The story was engaging and really made the VR work. No motion sickness for me. The AP preview you attended was the first day of operations with real guests. There were no soft openings prior. So to clock their dispatch times and quote them on day 1 is a little petty... If you like coasters without VR, the headset is optional. And just think, not wearing yours will speed the dispatch time up for everyone else. Generally though, reviews have been very positive!
SeaWorld confirmed today that it will use a virtual queue for Kraken Unleashed. SeaWorld's calling its virtual queue service "Spot Saver."
SeaWorld has stated that their goal is for 3 minute dispatches. Right now they are at 5-8 minutes, which is understandable given that this just debuted. Not sure how realistic 3 minutes is though. I think 4 to a max of 5 would be more realistic.
The dispatch times don't seem long to me, Goliath VR at La Ronde was around 10 minutes per train when I went.
Posted wait time for Kraken VR at 4:00pm on 6/17 was 510 minutes. All Virtual Queue gone before 2pm.
Can you ride Kraken without the VR. I still need to make a trip over to Sea World.
I like how SeaWorld has the VR unit mounted on the shoulder bar, but can somebody explain to me how it is cleaned between riders?
@Ryan Chard yes, you can ride Kraken without VR. But you will still have to wait in the VR queue. Currently, load times are around 7-8 minutes per dispatch.
You might have just had a bad experiance, seeing that it just started, because ive heard many rave reviews about the ride so far.
@GarrettE certainly a possibility. I'm going to give it another shot in about 2 weeks.
In terms of the VR it was fine but I think it works much better at a Six Flags where most people in attendance have already been on said coaster. SeaWorld is a destination park and most people going there (myself included) have never been on proper Kraken.
"Kraken was never the best floorless coaster to begin with, anyway."
@Russell Meyer Exactly. Kraken is a world class coaster and the VR is just OK. And therein lies the problem - in my opinion, the VR makes riding the coaster mostly pointless. Not to mention that VR has totally gimped the ride capacity. In my original review, I spoke of 4 minute load times. But that was on an annual passholder preview day. More of a closed, targeted group. Touring Plans and other theme park news outlets have since reported 8+ minute load times for Kraken VR since opening to the public.
I'm a Seaworld passholder and visit the park 2-3 times a week to ride the coasters and utilize their excellent dining plan.
We tried this today for the first time. You can either walk up to the ride and get your queue time from the kiosks or visit www.spotsaver.com. We got ours at the kiosk at 12:45 and our queue time said 5:15-5:45. We went back at 5:30 and from walking in to exiting the ride it took approximately 1 hour. The load time was slow although I didn't time between the trains. On observation more than 75% of guests were using the VR experience. It is optional. They are inside a case attached to the front of your seat. I used them but was not able to adjust them right. They hung down over my nose and I had to ride with my mouth open to breathe. Hah. My son is 10 and he put the glasses on but they were so huge he took them off and rode without. Halfway through the ride the glasses continued to move down and were over my mouth and I had to pull them up. The timing with the video and ride are excellent and I personally enjoyed the experience. I get scared on coasters and close my eyes often. This made the ride less 'scary' but more fun. It's a neat way to turn an older ride into an immersing experience. If you are going to SeaWorld for sure go on Kraken Unleashed. VR on coasters well there is a long way to go for improvements but if you are a fan it's neat to see this develop in the industry. For sure room for improvement but they have to learn by testing this on the riders. Also if you are worried about motion sickness with VR this didn't bother me at all. Don't let that put you off from trying. Enjoy!
@Makorider I couldn't agree more with your comments. Glad to see someone else sharing their not so positive opinion. It seems that some of the early riders/bloggers will gush over just about anything. "Best RIDE EVER!! A++!! 5 STARS!!"
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.