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 claustrophobic 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, definitely 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:Tweet
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