SeaWorld San Diego announces Manta roller coaster

Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2011 11:56 AM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release issued by the park. -J]

SeaWorld San Diego is excited to announce that in 2012, the park will unveil its new launch coaster, Manta — a new mega-attraction that will seamlessly transition guests from the awe of watching rays in underwater flight … into the sensation of actually being one. SeaWorld is scheduled to break ground for Manta within a month and the ride is slated to open to the public in 2012.

Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but take them on an exhilarating ride on a coaster shaped like a giant manta ray.

“We are delighted to bring energizing new attractions to our guests year after year,” said SeaWorld park president, John Reilly, “and Manta does just that, combining the thrill and excitement of a coaster, with the educational and entertaining value of an incredible marine-life exhibit.”

Gliding, flying and diving through more than a dozen twists and turns, riders will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight from sky to sea — so close at times that the Manta’s wings skim the waves.

Manta also will feature a unique “launch station” where the passengers will start the ride enclosed in a launch tunnel with larger-than-life images of rays projected on a 270-degree enveloping screen. This stunning introduction to the world of the rays also will visually enhance the physical acceleration as the ride launches down the track. This state-of-the-art projection system will be the first of its kind in the United States.

Riders and non-riders alike will enjoy the graceful beauty of bat rays and fishes. Forbidden Reef, an existing SeaWorld attraction where guests can feed and touch bat rays, will be incorporated and enhanced as part of Manta.

“With Manta, our guests will be able to see and interact with 65 bat rays, 10 guitar fish, and hundreds of fishes,” said SeaWorld San Diego curator of fishes, Thad Dirksen. “The below-water viewing area will include eight acrylic windows and a reef design. The above-water interaction area will allow our guests more opportunities to touch and feed the rays.”

Manta will be located just north of Rocky Point Preserve. SeaWorld is working with German ride design company MACK, which also engineered the marine-life park’s popular ride, Journey To Atlantis. Guests at SeaWorld’s sister park in Orlando have been enjoying a similar version of Manta since it opened in 2009.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:10 PM

This one should be good. Blue Fire is a top ten ride.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:23 PM

Does not sound at all similar to the one in Orlando.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 1:35 PM

I bet riding a roller coaster doesn't feel anything like being a Manta, but we will probably never know for sure. lol

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 2:52 PM

I read somewhere that the max height would be 30'. Sounds like the only way they would get approval these days.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 3:33 PM

I understand that "only enthusiasts would even know about the other Manta"....but really, is there that much of a lack of imagination that you can't come up with a brand-new (and unique!) name for a new and unique ride? Maybe so...

But there's still NO excuse for this: "Guests at SeaWorld’s sister park in Orlando have been enjoying a similar version of Manta since it opened in 2009." Couldn't be LESS similar...LOL! Nonetheless - this does sound like it could be fun... :)

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 4:27 PM

You're talking about a place where every whale is named Shamu. :)

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 10:38 PM

Without the description in the article, you would have never guessed this coaster was going to be more than a family friendly run of the mill launch coaster based on the preview animation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5U-277V49Q.

Don't get me wrong the 270 degree screen sounds cool but without seeing the bells and whistles, I just don't think this promo will get anyone excited

Last edited by JoelWhy, Wednesday, February 9, 2011 10:44 PM
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 10:52 PM

Jeff said:
You're talking about a place where every whale is named Shamu. :)

You win this round....but I'll be back. ;)

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011 11:15 PM

Well I'm excited Joel, because "stats" don't always speak to the actual ride experience, just ask Intamin.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:25 AM

Will the cheesy power ballad play during the actual ride?

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 11:15 AM

^ Would that make you happy? ;)

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 1:01 PM

Only in the way a person might appear while partially sedated wearing a straight jacket and hanging out in a padded cell.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 1:07 PM

As Richard said, Blue Fire is fantastic. I can see this being the first of many being built in the US. Much more comfortable than Intamin Accelerators and more reliable, obviously.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 1:13 PM

Looks more fun than Pony Express anyway. :) I'm stoked. This is the first real steel in SD. I just wish the coastal folks weren't so strinct. Come on. Mission Bay is a complete fabrication. They ripped out the wetlands to develop it as a recreation area with hotels, marinas, a TON of powerboat traffic...and they get uptight about building anything of decent size? It's a shame(u) really.

They should have named it Steel Eel. :)

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Thursday, February 10, 2011 2:33 PM

Do we know who set the height limit on this one? I would have thought that all the machinations they went through to build Journey to Atlantis they could have gone at least that high. Besides, their friendly neighborhood nemisis Donna Fry has retired from the city council (fnally).

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Monday, February 14, 2011 2:52 PM

I'll be visiting this Park on October 28 next year, which will be a fitting "Last Hurrah" for the Platinum Pass I bought at the San Antonio Sea World this past Halloween Weekend. :)

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