Sea World 5/3/09...Manta sneak peek!

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Sunday, May 3, 2009 9:19 PM

Today I went to Sea World to make Kraken my number 70 coaster and also to have a great time with my dad, my cousin, and my cousin's husband. I was shocked to see how expensive Sea World was, but I figured that because animals cost so much to take care of, that was probably a big reason for the price. Luckily, I had a length-of-stay pass to Sea World and Busch Gardens, so I had already nearly gotten my money's worth after going to BGA. Plus, my extended family members are military members, so they got in for free and got my dad a 10% discount. Not a bad start, and it only got better!

I love Sea World. I love the tricks that the animals do, I love how much the people obviously care about these animals, and I just think it's such a different kind of park. Most people probably wouldn't agree with me, but....

Well, we saw all the shows we could fit in and saw most of the exhibits, so I'm just going to get to the good parts now:

1. Kraken (one ride, back seat, walk-on): This is the best floorless I've been on (only been on three, so I'm no expert on these). Tons of inversions, tons of speed, a good size lift hill and drop, and excellent terrain used. I had a great time, and since my cousin's hubby likes coasters too, I had a buddy for once. He giggled like a girl the whole time! 8/10.

2. Manta (one ride, second to last seat, 30 minute wait): Yep, you heard right. The preview day of this coaster is not supposed to be until Tuesday, and I am supposed to leave on Monday to go back to PA, so I was peeved at the near miss. Then I saw people on Manta and got all excited, only to find out it was Contractor Day for the coaster, so they were only allowing the coaster workers on the ride. I was bummed and even thought about trying to buy a Manta bracelet off of one of the contractors so I could ride, but I shrugged off my disappointment and went about my day. Then, just as we were heading to the Shamu show as the last event of our day, I saw that the electronic sign outside the ride said Manta wait: 30 minutes. I told my dad I was going to check what was going on, and there was another sign that said, "Now accepting riders. Sea World reserves the right to shut down without notice at any time."! Me and cousin's hubby freaked out, threw all our stuff at my poor dad and cousin, and ran to the line.

I'll preface the actual review of this ride by saying that I'm not a fan of Superman the Ride, and I tend to agree with Jeff that these flying coasters simply are uncomfortable and not worth much for re-ride value. Still, I wanted so badly to say that I rode this coaster before it was even open for Media Day or Preview Day, and I just wanted to ride, period. I'm SO glad I didn't write this coaster off.

The rider line snakes through a series of caves and aquarium tanks, one tank housing what seemed like hundreds of stingrays of all different sizes and colors. I saw a leopard-y looking stingray at one time, and some kind of huge, scary stingray/fish/shark looking thing at another time. Very cool way to start off a coaster.

We got to the station and the attendant directed us to the right. The attendant was also directing people to the left, and I couldn't figure that out until I saw the station. It is a double station so they can load two trains at once and send out a third train at the same time. All the lane numbers were ginormous and colorful plastic stingrays, and the trains were at LEAST three vibrant shades of blue and purple. This is a very PRETTY roller coaster, but don't let it fool you. This is NOT Superman.

We boarded the trains and brought down our harnesses (no difficulty for me having to be locked in with a key this year because I've started losing weight), and after a brief wait, we were off. The very first thing I thought was that this ride HAD to be higher than Superman. I don't know the stats on either ride, but the lift hill seemed huge in comparison to the big S. Then we hit that drop, and MAN was that fast. Superman always seemed slow and clumsy to me, but Manta is a speed demon. The pretzel loop pulled so many G's that my shoulders felt like they were going to bust through the harness and eject me right out of the car. The total of 4 inversions to Superman at GrAdv's 2 was also a surprise, as was the gorgeous terrain, multiple near misses, and constant, intense speed. This is what a flying coaster SHOULD do. I LOVED it, and if I were to say what ride this summer was the biggest surprise, this would, at this point, definitely be the one. Check it out! 8.5/10.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009 9:38 PM

I know it falls under the "to each his own" category, but I absolutely love flying coasters.. I cant think of any "unpleasant" feeling I've ever had on any of them..

That being said, now Im definitely jonesing to ride Manta. Very nice write up.. Its good to see someone, even though they arent totally fond of flyers, admit they found one they appreciate.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009 11:06 PM

Thanks, ridem! :) It's not that flyers are UNPLEASANT, more just uncomfortable. You can't lean your head back hanging like that, and when you're stuck in the station brakes for 5-10 minutes waiting for everyone to load up the train in front of you, it's not a great position to be stuck in. But if you love flyers, you will absolutely heart this one. It's a winner.

I actually wanted to say too that I'm not gloating anymore...I hadn't read the Manta POV stuff yet and didn't know that they were opening the coaster late in the day every day now. I'm embarrassed. LOL Everyone I spoke to at Sea World said the coaster would NOT be open to the public today, so I thought we were just super fortunate. *blush* Oh well...I can still say I rode Great Bear when they first opened it to only employees and that B&M actually did a little speech and everything. Still wish I could've been there for the opening of Diamondback though. I've got coaster envy.

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Monday, May 4, 2009 12:27 PM

Ah got it.. Pleasantly uncomfortable.. :)

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009 12:23 AM

LOL, ridem, exactly! :)

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