Seaworld Orlando TR 07/11/2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:01 PM

Several major life-altering events took place in my young adulthood, and I found myself unable to visit any kind of amusement/theme park for 5 years. I was finally able to return to my old hobby today, visiting Seaworld Orlando for the first time.

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, so Kings Island was my home park, and I was able to get to Cedar Point almost every year. I moved to southern Florida about 3 years ago, and my research led me to believe that either Seaworld or Busch Gardens would be my best bet to experience the thrill of riding great coasters again. I chose Seaworld because I only had one day off of work, and Busch Gardens is a little too far from me to do in one day.

I left my place in Palm Beach Gardens around 6:30am, stopped at Mcdonalds for a quick 15 minute breakfast, and then hopped on the Florida Turnpike, which I took nearly the entire way there. I arrived at the park around 9:30am. I had paid for my parking online the day before, so I presented my voucher and was quickly and efficiently directed to a parking space. As one would expect at most major theme parks, parking was quite pricy. (I paid a little over $20 I believe.)

Once my ticket voucher and required personal items were secure in my trusty cargo shorts (I've never had to pay for a locker or deal with the hassle of putting my items in a bin.) I proceeded to the park entrance. Maybe my memory is simply missing the pertinent details, but I can't recall ever being at a park where people walked so slowly. This would be a recurring theme throughout the day, the crowds in certain areas more closely resembled masses of people randomly shuffling about outside a methadone clinic than the brisk moving lines of people eagerly headed to the next attraction that I seem to remember. Regardless, I was eventually able to gain entry to the park and begin working my way towards Manta.

Manta - The wait for this one was posted as 15 minutes, but was probably even shorter than that. With quick queue I was able to walk on to the next train in row 5. I was quite excited to get the riding started, especially with this being my first ride in 5 years! This would be my first B&M flyer, although I have been on Firehawk at Kings Island before. The seats force you forward, and we begin our journey up the lift...

Wow! The face-down flying position makes the ride seem a lot taller than it is, I was actually fairly nervous towards the top of the lift. I enjoyed this much more than Firehawk, it provides a much better sensation of actually flying, and I thought it was much more well paced and more interesting, not to mention smoother. The first inversion (I'm rusty on the terminology) was surprisingly forceful, I actually began to grey out on it both times I rode.

I rode twice, the second time in row 4, and the second time through I began to realize that I seem to have developed an issue with motion sickness at some point in my time away from rides. I curse myself for not taking a Benadryl before entering the park. I experienced motion sickness last time I went out on a boat and should have prepared myself for this. My spirits a little dampened, I decide to head towards the inversionless Mako next, figuring I'll hit that and then take a break to get some food and drink in my stomach.

Mako - I arrive at Mako and present my quick queue voucher to the attendant, who tells me "No need to bother with that, there's literally nobody in line, just go up". I take the long (Seriously, it's a hike) journey to the platform and discover that Mako is indeed a walk-on. I decided to ride in the very front first, and was lucky enough to get a ride attendant that didn't feel the need to staple me to the seat.

As far as B&M hypers go I've ridden Apollo's Chariot at BGW and Diamondback at Kings Island, and I think this is about even with Diamondback for my favorite of the three. The first drop is awesome, and the air time hills really deliver on this one. I didn't take note of exactly which one it was, but one of the hills on the return trip even gave me significant ejector air! The only blemish is that first trim brake. It was merely annoying in the front, but when I rode in the very back row later it was brutal. As expected, it was glass-smooth and very re-rideable.

As much as I loved Mako, it unfortunately exacerbated my feelings of motion sickness, so I headed to the smokehouse around the corner for some lunch and a/c. I bought an "all you can eat" wristband for $37 before I went in, figuring that I would only have to eat twice for it to be a better deal than paying for every item individually. Upon entering the restaurant and glancing at the pricing I realized I was correct in my assumption. The food was okay, not the worst park food I've had, but certainly nowhere close to the quality of the food you can get at BGW. As I waited for the food to digest a little bit, I walked through the couple aquarium exhibits I found. I watched the sea lions for a little bit as well. Once I was feeling better I decided to head to Kraken.

Kraken - Unfortunately they have brought back VR for Kraken, and as a result the dispatch intervals are absolutely abysmal for this ride. I opted out of the VR, which put me in the nearly walk-on normal queue, but I still had a 20 minute wait, as trains were sitting in the station nearly 5 minutes (Yikes!) before being sent out. Anyway, they were assigning seats and I got sent to the very back row.

This was actually my very first standard floorless coaster, so I can't compare it to others of it's type, but I enjoyed it. Even in the very back i didn't experience any head-banging or roughness, which I understand are common complaints with this one. I thought it maintained it's "fun-factor" all the way though, I found the drop and inversions to be enjoyable, as well as the dives into the trenches in the back-half. However, it was my least favorite of the three major coasters, and due to that and having the longest wait time as well, I only rode this one once.

After Kraken I went around and hit Manta and Mako a couple more times each before my motion sickness returned and I decided I would have to call it a day early. My last ride of the day was on Mako, and for the first time in my life I was seriously concerned that I might become ill while sitting on the final brake run. This was disappointing, but I know now to take Benadryl and not ride on an empty or full stomach for next time. If anyone else has had an issue with motion sickness and coasters, any advice you have on overcoming it would be tremendously appreciated!

Bullet Points

  • Ride operations were a mixed bag, Mako was really cranking out trains, Kraken was moving at a sorry clip, and Manta was in-between, although closer to Mako than Kraken.
  • It seems that the three major coasters have been cared for fairly well, all three felt smooth to me, with no rattle or unnecessary roughness that I could feel. Kraken could probably use a new paint job though.
  • One really cool thing I noticed, 90% of the conversations I head while walking through the crowd were in a language other than English. 50% were in a language other than Spanish or English. Even if it's extremely brief, I always appreciate an exposure to a different language or culture.
  • Even though my motion sickness marred the experience somewhat, I still had a good time and I'm sure I would have had a great time if I could sort this issue out.
  • Sea lions seem to have a sort of swagger to them that I admire. At least half of the sea lions in the enclosure were strutting around like they're plotting to drop a fire mixtape before the week's up.
  • Yikes, one day admission to a park sure ends up costing a significant amount of money. Season pass seems to be the way to go if you plan to visit more than once.

Thanks for reading!

Benjamin

Last edited by Orkan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018 7:03 PM
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Thursday, July 12, 2018 12:12 AM

Nice TR. As a fellow coastertool prone to motion sickness, I know exactly what you're talking about. I feel that the first section of Mako is fantastic, and the last section just not that good. It gave a bit of motion sickness too, but only in the back row. Front and middle are fine for me.

Manta... I detest flying coasters. Every single one of them, yes, even the almighty Tatsu. Manta was a 1-time only credit stop for me. Never again.

As for Kraken, it's a good ride. I want to try VR, but just don't want to wait for it. On my visit last Saturday, you had to reserve a separate time slot for a VR ride by signing up at a kiosk. The regular line (non-VR) was posting a 75 minute wait time. In fact everything appeared to be moving so slow that when I got to the park, I just assumed the ride wasn't operating.

I've been to SeaWorld 4 times this year, for only a few hours each visit. (I stay at the Doubletree a block away for work occasionally.) I feel like I've done everything I care to do. I'm not super impressed with the park, but I do love Mako, and makes it worth the walk from the hotel. I may go again this coming Saturday, despite how terrible the crowds were last week. Now that I know about the Kraken VR queue, I might actually try it.

Or I might decide that instead of a "free" visit to SW, maybe I'll check out the new StarFlyer.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:18 PM

I'm surprised you're brave enough to try VR if you're also prone to motion sickness. The thought alone makes me nauseous. The VR queue was probably close to an hour wait, but that was on a weekday. I imagine trying to get a ride on a Saturday would be a highly unpleasant experience.

I'm planning on making a visit to Busch Gardens Tampa in a couple months, I imagine I'll have a much better time there. (Assuming I take something for motion sickness beforehand)

Thanks for reading and replying!

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 1:28 PM

What is interesting is that for me, Mako doesn't give me any problems. Manta is the one that is usually "one and done" for me because of making me a little queasy.

BGT is a mixed bag. Cheetah Hunt, Sheikra, and Falcons Fury are outstanding! I used to love Montu and Kumba, but they have both become one and dones for me. Kumba really gets to me with mild motion sickness and Montu isn't far behind. That said, very few B&M sitdown/floorless or inverts bother me after just one lap - but those two both do.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 2:40 PM

From watching the POVs and prior experiences I expected Manta to be the hardest on my body, but for whatever reason it bothered me the least by far. I was shocked that Mako bothered me as much as it did, the hypers I've rode in the past (Even Magnum at CP) never bothered me at all, even after multiple re-rides.

Judging from rider reports and POVs, Kumba and Montu will definitely be taxing on me. I have a feeling the experience will be worth it though, as long as I prepare accordingly and understand and accept my new limitations. Sort of like aging in general.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 3:03 PM

Don't miss Scorpion while you are there too. A great classic Schwarzkopf portable style looper. Although it too could be a little intense for you.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 6:00 PM

Does Benadryl actually help for motion sickness? My riding cohort for CoasterMania gets a bit nauseous with inversions and then speed and hills will finish him off (he puked getting off MF last year after riding Valravn rapid fire 3x) but he can do speed and hills all day if there are no inversions first. Dramamine doesn’t help, nor does food & water. If Benadryl does anything we may try that next year.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:21 PM

Ginger.

http://kwc.org/mythbusters/2005/11/episode_43_seasickness_cures_f.html

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Friday, July 13, 2018 1:20 AM

I took Dramamine once *after* I got nauseous at SFNE. It made me sleepy and I fell asleep on a bench while my son and our friend rode Bumper cars for 30 min straight.

As for trying VR... well, I don't expect to like it, but I really want to try it.

Kumba was my 2nd love in coasters. (After Mr. Freeze.) I named my cat Kumba.

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Friday, July 13, 2018 1:41 AM

ShaneDenmark said:

Does Benadryl actually help for motion sickness? ... Dramamine doesn’t help, nor does food & water. If Benadryl does anything we may try that next year.

If Dramamine doesn't help, Benadryl almost certainly isn't going to either. They are both diphenhydramine, just bonded in a different formulation. A physician would likely prescribe a scopolamine patch if your cohort wants to try that.

I've used ginger for nausea in the past and found it to be mildly effective.

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Friday, July 13, 2018 8:07 AM

Kumba was once one of my all time favorite coasters. There is just something about it (and Montu) that make me queasy.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018 11:35 PM

Well, this is as good of a place as any...

Today I took my first ever Virtual Reality coaster ride, on Kraken at Sea World. As expected, I did not like it much, but part of being a Coastertool is trying the new coaster trends, so I wanted to ride anyways. It didn't make me sick or anything, but the unbearable heat and humidity certainly did try. Seriously... How anyone can spend a full day at these parks in the summer is beyond me. I was there for only 3 hours and thought I just might die. But I digress...

Back to the ride. I took a non-VR ride first, because it had been a while, and it was Kraken. A custom designed, well engineered, but aging and somewhat rattle-ey B+M floorless.

As for the VR, it's mostly going to be me complaining, but it's not all the VR's fault. Some of it lies with me. The Headset didn't fit right. I had the girl adjust it once, but didn't want to hold the ops up any more, so I settled. It was too tight on the face, so my nose hurt like crazy, and too high on my head, so I couldn't hear the audio well enough to understand it, and I had to hold it on my head the entire ride because it would have flown off otherwise. The graphics were poor enough that at no point did I feel like I was in anything other than a poor VR environment. And the action itself was just whatever, full of cliched close calls with sea creatures and canyon walls.

While I admit that my setup was less than perfect, I have no desire to ride Kraken VR again to attempt to get a proper ride. As far as my home park, Cedar Point, if I happen to be next to Iron Dragon when it's being offered, and there is no wait, I will probably try it there. Iron Dragon is a much slower paced ride, more suited to VR, in my opinion.

I've said this before, but I always thought that the ability to simulate a rollercoaster was the holy grail of VR tech. So I just don't see how removing someone from the real life experience of a massive 7 looping coaster by placing them in a mid-90s CGI quality world is a step forward.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018 1:49 AM

Well, at least you gave it a try. I didn't realize Iron Dragon was doing VR, that does seem like a better candidate for it.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018 7:25 PM

Is Cedar Point still running Iron Dragon VR? Haven’t heard a word about it this year.

I was so hoping this VR coaster nonsense was just a flash in the pan. I think Six Flags has mostly given up on it?

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Monday, July 16, 2018 2:10 AM

Last I was there, and it's been a month, they are running VR on Iron Dragon between 6-9 PM. You have to sign up in advance during the day and there are limited slots.

It's just never been convenient for us.

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Monday, July 16, 2018 9:10 AM

If a park is going to put VR on a coaster, the way Cedar Point does it is the best. Normal operations most of the day with advertised hours when it switches to VR in the evening.

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Monday, July 16, 2018 2:45 PM

Good point about offering VR for only part of the day. That's what Great Adventure did with Zumanjaro during the limited VR run although they could have done it all day b/c the loading was remarkably efficient. Although VR on Skull Mountain was also a limited run, the option was offered all day and the loading process seemed interminable. It slowed operations down to an extent that was unacceptable. On the other hand, loading VR on Galactica went off without a hitch. Like Tommytheduck, however, I ended up having to hold the headset on. While there was no danger of its falling off, as it was connected to a cord, there was a danger of its flying about and hitting me in the face. As to motion sickness, it's interesting how different rides affect people different ways. I'm prone to motion sickness but haven't had a problem with coasters except for Batman:The Ride, which makes me slightly dizzy. The ones with which I've had the most trouble are flat rides that go in a circular motion. such as Revolution at Dorney. Cyborg at Great Adventure didn't bother me at all but Houdini nearly did me in.

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