2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: SeaWorld Orlando's Journey to Atlantis
Published: December 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM
This Mack water coaster debuted in 1998, as SeaWorld's first thrill ride. It's SeaWorld, where park rules dictate that you have to get wet, so it shouldn't have surprised anyone when the park's first roller coaster kicked off with a soaking flume-ride drop.
After boarding, riders proceed through a short dark ride sequence when the Siren beckons riders into the mythical city of Atlantis. But soon, the siren transforms into a demon and riders are expelled from the temple down the ride's signature waterfall.
After a turnaround, riders return to the temple for a final encounter with the siren/demon, in a short roller coaster segment leading to a final splashdown... and thorough soaking.
Here's a highlight video that SeaWorld prepared for Theme Park Insider:
Orlando's Journey to Atlantis was an immediate hit with crowds and has spawned two other versions in following decade. San Diego's drops the dark ride element, but substitutes a longer coaster and a unique indoor elevator lift. San Antonio's is essentially a basic shoot-the-chutes ride, with 360-degree turntables at the top of the lift and before the drop.
Over the years, riders have complained that the show elements have muddied, and that the whole ride building could use a sharp rehab. But JTA remains popular enough to win a place in this year's tournament. Whether it can beat the top seed in its bracket, however, won't be known until voting for the Best Theme Park Attraction tournament begins in March.