SeaWorld Orlando announces details on Manta, a flying coaster

Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:16 AM | Contributed by Jeff

SeaWorld Orlando announced details today for its new roller coaster, Manta (in SeaWorld artist's rendering at left) which park officials said will seamlessly take guests from the awe of encountering rays in underwater flight into the sensation of actually being one. Swooping over water and sky, Manta will show riders underwater animal habitats, then soar them face-down aboard a manta-inspired flying coaster, donned in hues of dark purple, ultramarine blue, and cobalt.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:21 AM
"That rendering is totally fake!" Remember those claims?

Interesting choice by SeaWorld. This type of coaster, at least those that have been built so far here in the US, are not exactly great rides that a wide variety of people can get into, at least in my experience. I suppose it'll depend on the inversion type. If they're doing hardcore loops like those found on the Superman rides, I think it'd be too much. But if they do all kinds of rolls, I think that's the strength of this type of ride.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:58 AM
Yeah, I remember them because I was one of the people that made them. And even though they turned out to be real, I still think they look like work done by graphic arts rookies.

Anyway, I think it sounds like a great attraction. Not that I ever need more reasons to visit one of the best theme parks in the country, but this will make returning even easier.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:10 AM
While the comments of those inside the company are....well, hype-ish, this is sure to be a big hit. I still find it odd that SeaWorld is building another thrill ride - maybe they haven't realized their demographics tend to skew QUITE a bit older than the other parks/chains? Nonetheless, I'm VERY happy about the ride.

This little tidbit struck me as something A-B has been exceptionally adept at - creating ATTRACTIONS instead of rides. "Whether visitors choose to ride the coaster or not, SeaWorld pledges that Manta still will offer an attraction."

Gwazi, SheiKra, Grif-FUN, JtA, etc....many many people go to the A-B parks and stand around having a great time taking pics or just *watching* the rides run. That's something they really HAVE captured....and I think it has alot to do with why they're able to draw an older crowd than most other thrill/theme parks. Disney, as usual, is exempt from this discussion for obvious reasons.

Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:03 PM
Maybe that's exactly what they realize, Bill... that their audience skews older or with young families. The middle segment is going to Universal or possibly Disney (which has most of its bases covered).
Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:17 PM
^But then that makes me think that A-B should take FULL advantage of the older crowd (presumably more well-funded and likely to spend). The all-ages play areas like Jungala make total sense in that there's stuff for everyone to do, but there's clearly appeal for their older guests. Going after the teens/thrillseeker market just seems like they're going to run up against competition that does THAT aspect better, and has been doing it for far longer...

I'd try to offer something DIFFERENT from what the market offers elsewhere, rather than trying to play that oft-losing game of competing. Just thinking in terms of the Sea World in Ohio, and how SF tried to go mano-a-mano with CP in *their* arena. It's kinda like trying to occupy a foreign might be able to do it for awhile...but eventually the locals (re)turn to what they're familiar with...

Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:43 PM
Just as Griffon skims the water I bet Manta does something similar.
Thursday, May 29, 2008 2:48 PM
I'd agree with your logic if we were talking anywhere but Orlando, Gator.

I think the name of the game in central Florida is to try to lure as many of the tourists that Disney is bringing in as possible. It's not about bringing in a different crowd of your own, it's about 'borrowing' as much of Disney's crowd as you can. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:04 PM
^^^ Regardless of how many thrillrides they add there I don't think it can hurt the park, but only help it. As long as they don't do anything stupid like tear down attractions and replace them with nothing but roller coasters. The park will always be thought of as a marine park first with shamu being the biggest draw to the park. I do not think that will ever change. Personally I think this could be great for the park. I've always wanted to see what an Anheuser Busch park is able to do with the flying coaster concept. Should be interesting.*** This post was edited by GIGAFORCE01 5/29/2008 3:04:56 PM ***
Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:08 PM
Hmmmm, why is it that I didn't really *get* Jeff's argument until Gonch re-packaged it for me? The word Orlando might be the key to understanding that which was flying beneath my radar. It's not like I don't visit frequently, LOL...

Under "normal market conditions", the rules of supply and demand kinda dictate that if you're going to sell a service or product that is deemed non-essential, then in order to be successful your best strategy is to differentiate yourself from the competition. But Orlando is NOT a normal market, and maybe it IS a good move to simply make a two-fisted grab at the "all ages" demographic, market segmentation be damned.

While I still think the ROI is highest for grandma and grandpa, there is something to be said for the fact that Orlando in itself already HAS the entire family together...and grandma and grandpa will go wherever the kids want to go. So drawing the kids in with the new ride is likely to net you the two senior admissions in either case....interesting.

The economist never stops honing the craft, LOL....

Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:17 PM
The fact that Busch has been adding rides (thrill or otherwise) at all to Sea World proves that they are trying to add something to a known demographic. Sure Shamu is a draw, but when I was a kid Sea World was just fish tanks & shows, no rides. Now that they have added rides, I'm alot more inclined to go & bring the kids there because there is more to do. Even if this ends up as a big thrill ride (and at 140' 60 mph, 4 inversions it certianly sounds like it is) it seems to fit the Florida atmosphere.
Thursday, May 29, 2008 3:33 PM
Agreed on all fronts, Gator. :)
Thursday, May 29, 2008 7:05 PM
Sounds fun. I have no desire to go back to that Sea World without a new enticing attraction such as this. If Only they had a Steel Eel. ;)
Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:56 PM
I've said it before, but even with what I would say is one of the prettiest looking fluff coasters and nothing else in terms of rides, Sea World is a park I could visit from open to close and be dissapointed when closing time rolls around. Can't wait for this one to open.
Friday, May 30, 2008 8:59 AM
"Floor-to-ceiling windows create mesmerizing face-to-fin encounters
with 300 rays, as well as thousands of fish and mysterious creatures native
to oceans all over the world."

I feel the aquariums at the attraction is as big of a draw as the roller coaster. It is rather similar to Jungala in that the rides and animals have equal billing.

Friday, May 30, 2008 11:05 AM
I can't wait to get back to Orlando, there is going to be so many new things to experience! Universal alone will have so many new things for us.
Friday, May 30, 2008 4:44 PM

I feel the aquariums at the attraction is as big of a draw as the roller coaster. It is rather similar to Jungala in that the rides and animals have equal billing.

Somehow I doubt that.

Friday, May 30, 2008 11:32 PM
Doubt it all you want. The SeaWorld parks went decades without any roller coasters. The Georgia Aquarium attracts more people annually than Cedar Point.
Saturday, May 31, 2008 12:12 PM
Jeff's right. Look at Six Flags. Those parks are struggling on a regional level, and all they do is pick up and add a roller coaster. Why do you think Six Flags hasn't touched Florida? I'm sure based on the flop that the Dark Knight coaster is at GAdv, it doesn't take a genius to realize that Six Flags simply couldn't compete with the Florida parks, despite the heavy tourism traffic that flows into Florida each year.

The aquarium-aspect of Manta is going to be played up significantly, allowing Sea World to attract not only thrill-seekers, but also animal lovers. It's a win-win.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 3:09 PM
Won't they scare the aquatic life with all the rumbling and construction and screaming? Hee hee...

SeaWorld is a great park whether or not you go to ride the rides, and I don't think that adding this coaster will likely draw much bigger crowds than they already have. It was pouring down raining and thundering and lightning when I went, and you could still barely move. While I'm all for a new coaster going up, I have to wonder if bringing more thrills to such a different park will kind of kill the park a little.

So, if this is a flying coaster at an aquarium park, is it safe to say this is actually maybe a "swimming" coaster? Hehehehehe...


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