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Robert Niles

2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: SeaWorld Orlando's Manta

Published: January 14, 2010 at 11:16 AM

It's a bird! It's a plane!

No, actually, it's a flying... fish?

SeaWorld Orlando's Manta represents the Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coasters as the 11th seed in the Best Roller Coaster bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

SeaWorld Orlando's Manta

Manta offers a 113-foot drop and four inversions - hardly awesome specs, absent context. But the exhilarating experience of the flying coaster's unique "seating" arrangement - riding prone, suspended underneath the track - coupled with the lush tropical setting of this installation helped earn Manta last year's Theme Park Insider Award as the 2009's Best New Attraction.

Here's Theme Park Insider reader Gareth H at the opening of Manta last year:

The original Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster, Alton Towers' Air, opened in 2002, followed by Superman - Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Great America, Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain and then Manta.

What's your take on Manta? Do you think it can pull the upset and advance into the second round? We'll find out when voting for the Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament begins in March. In the meantime, let's take the speculation into the comments.

Replies (4)

Anthony Murphy

Published: January 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Yay Gareth!

Anyway, its great! I must say that Seaworld really has the great coasters!

Joshua Counsil

Published: January 14, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Funny that this and Kraken are, as of yet, the most worthy coasters in this category. Many of my friends actually prefer Kraken to Manta. They don't possess (or care about, for that matter) the theme park knowledge to express why they enjoy Kraken so much, but they assert that despite its lack of gimmicks or theming, it's just a really good ride.

But back onto Manta, which I reviewed in my summer road trip:

SeaWorld really hit the nail on the head with Manta. What it lacks in breakdancing yetis, it makes up for in smooth, sometimes very intense loops and curves. Add a few water hazards and seemingly haphazard trees, and voila: a first rate attraction that not even I could complain about. But I will anyway...

Although we were on the ride twice before 10am rolled around, SeaWorld stopped running the second track in the afternoon, drastically decreasing the loading efficiency. In addition, for most of the day there was no employee to guide parties to their seats, causing coasters to run with some half-empty rows. This is pretty inexcusable for a new attraction.

I give the ride a 9-Outstanding when riding in the back row, and an 8-Commendable in any other row. Until they fix their loading efficiency issues, I cannot award it 10-Perfection.

Steve Ward

Published: January 14, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Manta had to be in my Top3 extreme coaster for 2009


In that order.. so ok its lost out #1 spot to Hulk but it is one amazing ride.. Much better than Altons Towers's "Air", the only other flying coaster i have been on

Published: January 15, 2010 at 5:12 AM

2002's Air at Alton Towers was the prototype, Manta opened 6 years later so it's bound to be an improvement. Alongside Oblivion at Alton (world's first B&M drop/dive coaster) which opened in 1998. Since then the concept has been developed into the likes of Griffon at Busch. Without Air or Oblivion the improved rides would never exist. Which would obviously be a shame cause they're cracking rides!

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