SeaWorld's latest Journey to Atlantis debuts in San Antonio (Video)2007-05-12
By Michael Willis: [Edited to add video link to main post.--Ed.] On Friday Sea World San Antonio invited members of the media to try out their latest ride and I was there to cover it for Theme Park Insider.
The new Journey to Atlantis water coaster is the chain's third with the title, but, again, a different design than its predecessors. This Mack GMBH of Germany and Guido Brothers Construction design is first of its kind in the United States and only the second in the world.
The ride is similar to other water coasters with a few twists. There are two towers 100 ft high which rotate the boats to give the passengers a 360 degree view of San Antonio. Between the two towers the riders experience a camelback drop backwards. Finally each 16 passenger boat plummets 100 ft down into 400,000 gallons of water. After the main drop, riders will enjoy a leisure boat ride back to the loading station to complete the 3 and half minute ride.
This ride is a great addition to a family oriented park such as Sea World. Thrill seekers will walk away dissatisfied, however families with younger children will be eager to ride it again. The ride has a 42” height requirement and a low intensity which will allow younger family members to participate.
Journey to Atlantis, although fun for the family, could do a better job of story-telling. The entire ride is out-doors and lacks enough props and special effects to create the Atlantis theme. However Dan Decker, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Sea World of San Antonio, expects this to change. According to Decker, Sea World’s primary goal was to open the ride as soon as possible. Decker said that guests can expect more Atlantis themed props to appear in the coming seasons. Other possible additions include water jets and geysers to ensure that the riders will come off the ride soaking wet.
Along with any new ride comes a great deal of testing. Hutchinson “Hutch” Huey is the Maintenance Unit Supervisor and knows first hand what it takes to ensure that a ride like this is safe for the guests. Hutch was involved in testing each boat which must go through at least 24 hours of test time using 174 pound water dummies, which exceeds ASTM testing standards. Hutch and his team spent over 2 months performing fault scenario testing which tested over 2,000 fault cases. In addition, each morning before the park opens, over 8 man hours of inspection and testing are required before the ride is deemed safe for the guests.
Decker outlined three main reasons the park created Journey to Atlantis: Sea World wanted a unique ride, a wet ride (whether you are a rider or a spectator), and a family friendly ride. Journey to Atlantis delivers on all three of these aspects and will be sure the pack the park with families this summer.
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