SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
I want to start off with WOW!!
Manta is an amazing ride. Im having a hard time comparing it to any other flyer (which is probably a good thing). The media event was great fun! Lots of rides and lots of fun.
Even though we didnt go through the queue line, I made sure I took an opportunity to see what it was all about and 2 words come to mind.. "Nice Work!". Its filled with lots of salt water tanks housing various underwater species. Its definitely one of those queue lines where you can enjoy a 30-60 minute wait. A large portion of the queue is indoors as well so hot Florida days wont be as bad while you wait.
You then split off towards the quick queue entry point and choose which side of the station you are going to go in. They had another soft opening for the other loading station from us so public was able to ride one train while media and coaster nuts rode the other.
Now the Ride:
Did I say WOW? This is one of those rides where the front/middle/back yield totally different rides. With the back right seat being one of the most extreme rides, especially if you do it consecutively.
Going up the lift hill you are treated to on-lookers below. This is a good location to get your own personal on-ride photo taken by your accompanied bag holders or flyer haters. Definitely a great design idea.
Manta doesnt take any time putting you into the elements.. Right after the lift hill its into the most extreme part of the ride.. The Pretzel Loop, and oh my gosh! Its definitely one of the longest pretzel loops Ive been in.. It feels like you are in it forever and when you are switched to your back in it, the G force is pretty extreme. This is the part that prevents the numerous re-rides. BEC put a "no more than 2 in a row without walking around" rule on us for media day and everyone had no problem following that rule.
You then have a couple of in-lines you go through to ease the "pain" of the pretzel and a chance to catch your breath at the mid-line break. Then down to the water elements.. If you are on the flanking side towards the water you get a pretty good splashing, mostly on your legs, but nothing that I would consider major.
Then its back to the station after one last in-line roll.
Just amazing is all I can say.
Cool Geeky Features of rides that I enjoyed watching:
I have some photos of the Media Event and VIP Party (which the food was as always top notch for BEC VIP Parties!)
You can visit them on my blog site: http://blog.virginiageek.com
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Saw you there Thursday, didn't recognize ya. I was one of those that kept riding in the back two rows. No one told me about the "two-in-a-row" rule, so I might have exceeeded that on my first series of flights.
I'd already been down pre-Diamondback, so the ride itself wasn't brand-new to me. Nonethless, a real winnner in terms of ALL the interactions between the aquarium areas, the awesome visuals of the ride from points ALL over the park, the aqurium views from inside the queue. Non-riders (a surprising percentage of SWF's guests) get as much out of the Manta addition as us coaster-geeks, LOL.
As with the other flyers, I prefer the intense PULL on the back of the train over the push you get in the front rows. The (small) amount of water the train actually encounters is WELL-placed, interacts perfectly with the train from the non-rider perspectives. The jets and especially the waterfall create beautiful scenery, and riders in the back outside seats can enjoy a bit of the water (which helped when I was exceeeding the two-ride rule I suppose).
The VIP thing looked REALLY sweet - although the set-up for it was a pretty serious inconvenience to the regular park guests in terms of getting around the park. Jill, for instance declined participation in favor of a leisurely day at the park and had alot of trouble getting around all the barricaded areas to find us at 5:30.
The pics (Jill's extensive collection from media day, LOL, plus mine from the earlier visit):http://www.flickr.com/photos/rollergator/sets/72157618727150714/
I figured some buzzer was around, but Wed I was point contact between Sea World and Coaster Nuts so was too busy with that, and Thursday I was beat up from wed rides and after hours drinking with park people that I was in a semi fog.
Yeah the set up for VIP was inconvenient even if you were going to it as we all had to exit before coming back in, so we can "check in". But with all the high dollar people who were there there was no doubt they were doing a lot for set up. I did like the carefully placed EXIT --> people to weave your way out though..
If I was a jerk it would be amusing to photo copy the simple sign and just stand and hold it pointing back into the park ;)
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