A first ride on SeaWorld Orlando's new roller coaster, Manta
Well, I just got back from my first ride on Manta at SeaWorld Orlando
, and all I can say is WOW.
The queue, at 40 minutes, was air conditioned, with great visuals throughout. Plenty of fish and stingray (In fact, hundreds of stingray) to look at.
At the end of the queue it splits into two loading stations, being a single rider I was pushed up the Quick Queue Line (It would have been nice for an addition of a single rider line from the entrance), taking my total wait time to about 30 minutes.
Once seated on the ride a loud motorised noise sounds and the seat lifts backwards so you are facing down. (Note: The seats are quite comfy, well padded, especially around the chest and leg area.)
There is also an area to place your shoes and loose articles, something I love about Busch parks, so unless you have a purse, hangbag or backpack, etc, there is no real need to use the lockers located by the entrance.
The journey up to the lot of the hill is great. Facing down the entire way, lookiing down on people staring up in awe, taking pictures.
At the top there is no stopping, just a straight trip onto the ride and the loop.
Although not the fastest ride it seems to make the loop even better, going from face down to lying on your back in a matter of seconds.
Without ruining it too much, I willl say that there are some great water features (as expected at Seaworld), making sure anyone seated on the left hand side gets a little splash, very welcomed in Orlando.
Some of the features are yet to be completed, including the underwater viewing area and aquarium, but with 3 weeks until official opening there is no doubt that it will fully operational on May 22nd.
One thing I will mention, it is in test mode at the moment, I had to wait on the run back in, face down for 10 minutes due to operational issues.
Some people may feel claustraphobic so be warned. Your legs are held in place and laying on your chest for that extended period could also be an issue.
Overall, great ride, definately worth the pain and frustration of watching it go up for a year.
Update from Robert: SeaWorld's offered to have Brian Morrow, Manta's design director, answer questions from TPI readers. Post 'em in the comments or e-mail 'em to me ASAP.
Update 2: Here is the Brian Morrow interview.
And here is an on-ride video of Gareth, taken a week later at the ride's media day:
Yeah, Manta is a rush and a half. Gotta love the loops, they look inocuous enough when seen from the ground but man they pack a wallop when you're sitting in the back row. Amazing ride. Seaworld has a winner!
This looks an incredible ride. The water effect just looks beautiful! I have been on Air at Alton Towers and I agree with you about the restraints, they are extremely comfortable (apparently B&M use a rubber which adapts to your body).
Not missing Air at Alton Towers, eh Gareth? ;)
Thanks for the report, Gareth.
Is the entire course filled with sand? Was the decision to utilize sand based on the ride experience or complaints from park neighbors?
For Mr. Morrow:
Excited to ride it next month. It looks amazing.
First, Gareth, thank you for the article.
Question about the lift hill..........I am not sure if i am seeing it correctly from the video i have seen but is there a platform below the coaster on the lift hill. If not how do they let people off if they needed to evac the train if it got stuck ?
Gareth, I have SO been looking forward to this entry. NOW I am superhyped and wanting to visit Manta-- and i'm SUPER jealous of you and annoyed that I had to choose between SeaWorld and my family on a day when I had no school. Oh well...
My question for Brian:
Mr. Morrow, the Manta looks absolutely stunning and I'm excited to get out and ride it this summer. One question I have is how do you go about trying to make this or any coaster unique from others already built aside from the theming? Lastly, why did you decide to enter this industry and how did you get involved?
The ride looks great. Kudos to Sea World for the queue and the landscape. Hopefully they can keep that load time down. It's always been one of the weak points of the flying coaster, and it can cause lines to move very slowly. Dual loading stations help, but so do ride ops who know what they are doing. All the better reason to give you something to look at while you wait.
I've collected the questions and sent them along. Will publish answers as soon as I get 'em.
I think its ride is going to be awsome im going to seaworld May22.I just cant wait i've been counting down the days for me to go to seaworld.Ohh yea brian i was wondering if it was really hard to design and make Manta?Well I love your work you did really well.
I would like to ask Mr. Morrow what you have to do to get an amazing job like the one he has.
I was able to ride Manta today and the ride is amazing. One of the most exciting and intense coaster I have ever been on. Great ride overall.
Seeing as I won't be traveling anywhere outside of Southern California in the next year or two I just have to ask if there's any plans of this awesome looking ride for Sea World San Diego. And if so, hopefully it won't end up mediocre like San Diego's Atlantis.
Hey, everyone. I rode Manta this afternoon. I got to SeaWorld around 2 PM today, and went straight to Manta. Using the single rider line (which doesn't start until you are almost at the end of the queue), I was on the next to last row within 5 minutes. After getting off, I got back on again and used the single rider line. 5 minutes later, I lucked into a front row seat. An hour later, I returned, and single rider was closed. The standby took about 10 minutes, and I rode front row once again.
I was on Manta 8 different times this past Saturday, riding once in each row. The single rider line was great, but should have been at the front saving some wait time. The aguariums are a wonderful distraction while waiting making the time go by a little faster. I had a problem with people wanting to take pictures at every aquarium which only held up the line more. I didn't want to be pushy and ask to go around them while they looked on in awe.
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