All clear to dive into 2020 at SeaWorld San Diego

July 12, 2019, 3:40 PM · The California Coastal Commission has given its approval to SeaWorld San Diego's plans to build a Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster, clearing the way for the 143-foot-tall thrill ride to open next year.

San Diego's Mako will be the first Bolliger & Mabillard coaster installed in California since Six Flags Magic Mountain's Tatsu opened in 2006 and will follow B&M dive coasters Griffon and SheiKra at San Diego's sister parks Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Busch Gardens Tampa, respectively.

Mako also will be the fifth (or fourth, or third, depending upon how you count these things) coaster at SeaWorld San Diego, following this year's Skywarp Horizon Tidal Twister, last year's Premier Sky Rocket II Electric Eel, 2012's Mack Rides launch coaster Manta, and 2004's Mack Water Coaster Journey to Atlantis. (I just realized that SeaWorld San Diego might be the only theme park with multiple coasters where I've been to the media day for every one of them. Follow the links above for my reviews.)

The new coaster in San Diego also represents parent company SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's commitment to go all in on coasters in 2020, with new installations planned for each of the chain's top five theme parks.

In addition to Mako at SeaWorld San Diego, SeaWorld has announced:

Which upcoming SeaWorld Parks coaster has you most excited for 2020?

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Replies (5)

July 12, 2019 at 6:40 PM

The hybird Gwazi replacement for Busch Gardens Tampa is the SeaWorld Entertainment coaster I most want to enjoy for 2020. Haven't been disappointed by Rocky Mountain Construction anywhere so far- and was there for groundbreaking and opening of original Gwazi (and still have the swag from those events in my collection).

July 12, 2019 at 10:31 PM

I'd rank my interest level in the upcoming SeaWorld coasters thus:

1. BGW's Intamin: This seems like the most intriguing of the bunch, as it is very different from anything currently operating in the US. Depending on exactly what this ride becomes, I may need to alter my trip next summer to include a return visit.
2. RMC Gwazi: As much as I like RMC coasters, they are becoming so prevalent that the excitement over a new IBox isn't as high as it once was. That said, I fully expect this to be the best of the five, and I absolutely look forward to riding it next time I visit Florida (likely 2021/2022).
3. Mako: I've never been disappointed by a dive coaster, but I've never been absolutely blown away by one either. This one is close to me so I'm sure I'll be riding it a ton, but it likely won't be anything we haven't seen before.
4. SWO's Coaster: Not a whole lot is known with confidence about this one, but it sounds like more of a family coaster than the above three. Perhaps I'll be surprised, but for now there's not enough in comparison to the above three to build hype.
5. SWSA's Woodie: It's a GCI, and they build solid rides, but they don't build many rides that scream "come ride this now!" I'm sure I'll enjoy it when I get back to the park, but this is the lowest priority on the travel list of the bunch.

July 15, 2019 at 7:53 AM

I'm hoping Sea World really works to make Mako unique. When SheiKra and Griffon opened, the Busch Gardens parks specifically contracted with B&M to give the 2 coasters exclusivity in North America for a set number of years. Mako will not have that advantage, and with a significantly smaller drop, the Dive Machine will have a hard time distinguishing itself in the market. While there won't be another B&M Dive Machine on the West Coast, Hangtime is a dive coaster that is actually taller than the planned height for Mako and contains more inversions with a vertical lift to boot.

Sea World Entertainment needs to understand that their current lineup of coasters is not popular simply because of their stats, it's also their theming and integration into the parks. Plopping a mediocre Dive Machine onto flat ground is not going to wow guests like Manta does. BGW's rumored new coaster appears to be utilizing every bit of the park's topography, and Mako needs to do the same to bring something to the Dive Machine style that makes it unique and re-rideable. With such a small drop, I would think some type of underground tunnel and/or series of trenches would be essential to distinguish Mako from the rest of the North American Dive Machines.

July 15, 2019 at 10:01 AM

RMC's remake of Gwazi might alter my travel plans. For the past several years I've been going to BGT at Christmastime but may delay my visit until such time as this coaster opens. The Intamin may be interesting enough to lure me back to BGW, where I haven't been in several years. I wouldn't go out of my way for any of the others.

July 15, 2019 at 11:46 AM

My husband and I were asked in 2018 to complete a BGT guest survey. Since our response to every question was "RMC Gwazi" I'm going to say RMC Gwazi!!!

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