Arctic Rescue is the roller coaster equivalent of a fun run. You don't need to work your way into shape for it and it won't grind you down. It's just a fun run around the backyard of SeaWorld San Diego - a nice addition to help round out the park's growing roller coaster line-up.
The Intamin launch coaster opens to the public Friday, following a media preview today and passholder previews this week. We already have been talking about the coaster, following SeaWorld posting an official POV earlier this week. [See Watch the first look, on ride POV for Arctic Rescue.] So now allow me to join the conversation and add my thoughts.
First, while SeaWorld is promoting this as a "family coaster," it does have a 48-inch height requirement, and I want to push back on the use of the word "family" as an antonym for "extreme." To me, a true family coaster ought not have a height restriction above 40-42 inches - the point at which four-to-five-year-olds can ride. When you go to 48, you're excluding a lot of early-elementary kids who already have had coaster experience at other parks.
That said, Arctic Rescue is about as far from extreme as one can get on the coaster scale, especially coming after my ride last week on sister park SeaWorld Abu Dhabi's Manta, which I have rated as the best new coaster of the year. Yes, there's a launch on Arctic Rescue, but it's a relatively mild 40-mph, tire-propelled launch, and up a slight grade. Beyond that, Manta never rises above 30 feet from the ground and offers no inversions.
Yet the ride allows you to feel its ground-hugging speed and delivers plenty of lateral twists and curves to satisfy even a seasoned coaster fan. At just over a minute, it's not epic, but that minute delivers for what should be a wide range of theme park fans. Like I said, it's... fun.
Take a ride with me.
Update: Just uploaded another perspective, with some wide, off-ride shots of my ride this afternoon. You can see more context with the decoration here, which includes some landscaping, flags of arctic nations, and even the helicopter that was displayed previously at the Wild Arctic ride.
With the fencing around the area, I hope you get my point about this feeling like a run around SeaWorld's back yard. It's nice - and a step up from Emperor - though the views of backstage above the fence are nothing special. At least it was cool and overcast today, to help sell the theme!
This marks my third SeaWorld coaster debut in about as many weeks, following Pipeline the Surf Coaster in Orlando and Manta (and more) at SeaWorld Abu Dhabi last month. Here is my coverage of those openings:
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