Another SeaWorld roller coaster will have to wait until next spring to open. Emperor - the first Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster on the west coast - will debut next March at SeaWorld San Diego, the park announced today.
On Monday, SeaWorld Orlando announced that its Premier Rides Sky Rocket, Ice Breaker, would open in February 2022, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay revealed that its Iron Gwazi from Rocky Mountain Construction would open the next month, in March. We are still awaiting word on the fourth long-delayed SeaWorld Entertainment coaster, Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Pantheon, but the Virginia park has promised an announcement within the next few weeks.
All four coasters originally had been scheduled to debut in the first half of 2020, following the GCI woodie Texas Stingray, which opened at SeaWorld San Antonio in February 2020 before parks worldwide closed due to the pandemic. But SeaWorld corporate held off on opening the four coasters when their parks reopened. Manufacturers had filed liens against the coasters while awaiting payment from SeaWorld during the pandemic closures, but those were cleared long ago. SeaWorld's parks reported record cash flow in the most recent quarter, but the decision to proceed with four brand-new coasters on the sidelines has left many fans scratching their heads.
Emperor gives SeaWorld San Diego its fifth coaster (or fourth, if you don't count Tidal Twister) and tallest to date. The 2,411-foot dive coaster will reach a top speed of 60 mph after its 143-foot vertical drop. Each of the floorless ride cars will hold 18 riders, in three, six-person rows.
"Our fans are eager to ride Emperor and we’re grateful for their enthusiasm and excitement to jump on this adrenaline-pumping dive coaster. Due to the unprecedented challenges of the last two years, the opening was delayed, we know this has been disappointing and we’d like to thank our guests for their patience for this long-awaited ride to open," SeaWorld San Diego Park President John Dunlap said. "Opening just in time for Spring Break, this free-falling, feet-dangling ride is going to provide even more thrills that our guests and coaster fanatics have been craving."
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