SeaWorld's latest Journey to Atlantis debuts in San Antonio (Video)
[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.
The original is located in Europa Park, Germany,named 'Atlantica SuperSplash.' Hopefully Sea World will theme theirs to the same extent. I do have to say, the one in Germany had a little bunny hill at the bottom of the drop for some sweet looking air time.
Wow this ride looks lame.
It looks rather disspointing compared to the other two.
First off, nice write-up, Michael.
Who wants a leisurely boat ride after coming down the main flume and assumingly getting wet at that point? Most folks want to get the hell out of the "vehicle" in order to dry off.
Here is link to a youtube POV video of the ride with me attempting to provide some interesting commentary if anybody is interested.
the one in orlando looks way better.
Did you hear the nauseating & twice repeated recording of, "Let me hear you screeeeeam!?" I doubt it unless you're screaming from sheer boredom as you slowly turn on those funky turnstiles. Is the theme of the ride suppose to be the view of San Antonio? You can get a much better of San Antonio from the Tower of the Americas assuming you actually have any desire to see it. I'm sure they'll spruce up the ride in time though - a few cardboard drawings of Atlantis should do the trick but it's still an expensive kiddie ride.
Is there even the least bit of storytelling or theme on this ride at all?
Heh... I'll bet they put food coloring in that water. They did that, decades ago, with one of the artificial ponds at San Diego. It was pretty obvious after a while, because the pool concrete was painted white and the coloring could be seen leaching into the concrete above the waterline.
The one in Orlando has a little bit of a story, and had a better one. Back in the day it was amazing....but for some reason they didnt see fit to keep it up to its opening day operations.
Michael; Thanks for coming out and taking the ride, it was great to meet you. We will certainly keep your comments in mind as the ride evolves. A couple of things in response to everyone else: first, after riding, I have consistently heard the comment, "It was more than I expected;" second, it is meant to have enough thrill to keep the adults happy while allowing younger riders the chance to get on board (you only have to be 42 inches to ride - not to mention that the onlookers have a blast with this ride! In response to Bruce, there isn't food coloring in the water (lol), in fact, the water is cleaned and recycled every 4 hours and the color comes from the reflection at the bottom of the pool through very clean water. Finally, there are some world-class thrill coasters at the park, including Steel Eel and The Great White. Additionally, water rides include Rio Loco and Texas Splashdown -- Journey to Atlantis rounds out the offerings. Did I mention it is hot in the summer in Texas? Getting wet is an attraction all in itself, and the view IS outstanding, you can see SA and the Hill Country. I hope you judge the ride for what it is rather than what it isn't, better yet, come out and give it a try.
Wow, this ride sucks. Thank god I'm close to San Diego!
If they added more scenery, it would get a C- instead of a D- on my scale =P
I think this actually might be a better ride without the turntables; they seem rather pointless. It also would be more of a thrill to ride the "big splash" portion backwards. Still, this will be popular with families, and the big drop does look like fun.
Hi, Kami. Thank you. I was uncertain if the coloring trick was being repeated, and am happy to hear that it's not.
I am definetely greatful I only live 150 miles away from Sea World Orlando. The one thing that i just didnt understand was why they didnt put in more theming...i know they might add it later, but a lot of it is needed now.
Where is the Journey?? Go to the real one in Orlando.
Iris; Actually, the ride is designed so everyone in the family can enjoy it. And based on the feedback from the ACE group (who ride roller coasters around the country), they really liked it. Some rode nearly 50 times, which to me doesn't denote boredom. You really need to ride it to appreciate its virtues.
To me it seems like it would be a better ride with a different name. By calling it "Journey to Atlantis" people are going to assume it is the same ride in Orlando or San Diego when it is in fact quite different. Either that or they should have waited to open it until all of the Atlantis scenery and props were added.
IMO JTA at SWO is the best water coaster/flume ride that I been on; Am I the only one to think that Splash Mtn. is overrated? The big drop is bone dry; That being said, it certainly looks alot better than JTA at SWSA.
Nice shades Michael!
This will be a bit long, so I hope you guys will bear with me... I have a lot to say!! lol.
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