SeaWorld Orlando announces new river rapids ride for 2018
SeaWorld Orlando will create a new tropical rainforest-themed section for its park next year, highlighted by a new Intamin river rapids ride.
Infinity Falls will feature a vertical elevator that will lift rafts into a 40-foot drop into the river, which the park is calling the world's tallest drop on a river rapids ride.
"To bring Infinity Falls to life, designers were inspired by the rainforests of South America and the flowing rivers found within," SeaWorld said in a statement. "Each raft will twist and turn through a lush jungle environment as guests experience the feel of exhilarating Class IV rapids."
The 1,520-foot, four-minute ride will be the centerpiece of a new rainforest area in the park, which include animals native to South America, as well as other interactive, educational activities.
Infinity Falls is scheduled to open in Summer 2018.
AWESOME! Great for SeaWorld, great for theme park fans!
That sounds very similar to River Quest in Phantasia Land in Germany, except that the lift there is 22 metres high, considerably taller than the 40ft mentioned here. Has there been any artwork released showing how the ride will look and how the drop might be record-breaking?
Did Sea World really need a raft ride? Based on rumors, it appears this will be located near the old Hospitality Pavillion near Shamu's Happy Harbor, so at least it will provide another attraction on the east side of the park aside from the woefully outdated Wild Arctic. This would also put it far enough away from Journey to Atlantic so as to balance water rides across the park.
I wish I could get excited about this, but maintenance has always been spotty for SeaWorld. Journey to Atlantis is in miserable shape, the Sky Tower is closed 75% of the year, and Gwazi has been left to rot at Busch Gardens Tampa for over 2 years now.
I disagree Russell they need one. SeaWorld has decided to transition the parks away from animal entertainment and focus on rides and educational experiences, a decision I strongly disagree with. However, that means SeaWorld needs to ramp up the ride lineup in advance of the demise of their animal shows.
The deterioration of JTA is rather disturbing. Screamscape noted that it went down for a lengthy rehab over the winter, and while a lot of operational equipment was repaired or replaced, very little was done to the show pieces and thematic elements when it reopened recently. It used to rival Dudley Do Right and Splash Mountain when it opened, but now is barely more entertaining than a regional park's log flume.
"Doing nothing will be the death of SeaWorld."
Very excited for this new ride. I wish they'd keep the shows the way they used to be though. I loved Blue Horizons.
Doing a roller coaster is hardly impactful either. SeaWorld needs to compete with Disney and Universal, but how? Immersive theming is more important than the medium so it matters with the story surrounding the ride. Yet doing VR and screen based attractions are also me too and will hardly impress guests when trying to win new customers.
Intamin? Vertical lift? Didn't we see this already on the (much taller)
I'm looking forward to this new themed area. I like these kind of rides and love the plants and animals in there.
I really hope Sea World emerges from all of this misguided hate better and stronger than before!
Great points made by Russell. I visited Sea World just once, way back in 1994 before it was rides and such and enjoyed it. But with so much competition around, they need to focus on getting that younger audience. The Arctic section was going to be it but it underperformed so I guess this new South American section is a good place to start but they need to get something bigger and one of a kind if they want to be taken more seriously in Orlando.
I think this sounds cool. The lines for most rapid's rides at parks makes me disagree about the popularity of them. It seems kind of like a staple ride that is expected to be at most every theme park, and to not have one is actually odd. Each park gets an opportunity to have their own take on it (Kind of like the Mine Train coaster..... it is expected to be at most parks.... to not have one is weird..... and each one is unique to it's park). These are also rides that have more mass appeal than say Manta or the Hyper Coaster..... as awesome as those are, everyone is not a thrill seeker to that extreme..... this rapids ride might add something more family thrill ish to the park and it needs to build those numbers since the majority of it's major investment rides are over the top thrill rides. I think it's a great move for Sea World. Makes me want to go more.
A raft ride is a nice reprise from the coasters.The promo vid also shows the raft lifting up by a giant water geyser. The park also gets some vegetation in the forests. I'm hoping for them to secretly rebrand as Six Flags Orlando long term. The next ride after should be a 4th dimension rollercoaster.
This won't move the needle on attendance. SW just spent huge $$$ on Mako. It is far and away the best coaster experience in Orlando ... and among the best in the entire country. And yet on most days (weekends included), it is barely more than a 5 or 10 minute wait. We were just there 2 Sundays ago on a picture perfect day at the height of Spring Break season, during the Seven Seas Food Festival and when Jack Hanna was performing at the park. And at 12 noon on that Sunday, Mako was a front row walk-on.
@jeremygary - Actually, roller coasters are relatively inexpensive purchases comparatively. Even the largest roller coasters come in under $30 million, while a fully immersive attraction like Antarctica cost well over $40 million, and many Disney/Universal attractions approach $100 million or more. So while $30 million is a pretty big investment at your typical regional park, it's a relative drop in the bucket in the Orlando market. Infinity Falls appears to be another relatively small investment, and while numbers aren't available, it'd predict SWO will not shell out more than $15-20 million for the entire project (including ride and surrounding environment).
I hope they will look at revamping Antarctica before considering new builds. On many days this spring, they didn't even run the ride portion, assumedly for cost saving. This was hyped as a major attraction when it debuted. JTA is also full of theming problems (namely a non-existent one) after the refurb, and Wild Artic is in desperate need of refurbishment. These attractions all need attention!
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