SeaWorld San Diego unveils its Manta roller coaster
February 9, 2011, 6:00 AM ·
SeaWorld San Diego this morning confirmed details for its version of the Manta roller coaster, which will debut at the Southern California theme park in 2012.
This Manta will be a Mack Launch Coaster, smaller in size and intensity than the Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster that shares the same name and theme in SeaWorld Orlando. Like its Orlando sibling, however, San Diego's Manta will incorporate underwater viewing of rays in its queue. The park will enhance its existing Forbidden Reef section, where visitors can touch and feed bat rays, and incorporate it as part of Manta, as well.
"We are delighted to bring energizing new attractions to our guests year after year," SeaWorld park president John Reilly said in a statement, "and Manta does just that, combining the thrill and excitement of a coaster, with the educational and entertaining value of an incredible marine-life exhibit."
San Diego's Manta will blast riders out of a launch tunnel within which larger-than-life images of rays will be projected onto a 270-degree screen, using a projection system that the park calls the first of its kind in the United States.
Despite the high-speed launch, don't expect a too-intense experience, though. This Manta's speed will top out at 43 mph and the biggest drop will be 54 feet. (The coaster's maximum height will be just 30 feet; tunnels will allow the coaster to drop farther.) Compare those stats with the 113-foot drop, 140-foot height, 56 mph top speed and multiple inversions for the Orlando Manta, which won the 2009 Theme Park Insider Award as the year's best new attraction.
Thoughts? Questions? How do you think this Manta will match up with other new attractions coming on line in 2012?
Update: Here's a (rough) concept video from SeaWorld. The train on the video doesn't have the promised manta ray decoration, nor do the surroundings match what's in the park at that location. Nor is the launch tunnel included. But it does give you a rough idea of what the track layout will be like.