This morning SeaWorld Orlando announced the next generation of thrills with Manta – a new attraction inspired by the underwater flight of powerful rays. Guests will fly face-down, in a horizontal position, underneath the belly of a coaster train shaped as a giant manta. With a wing span of 12 feet, the giant manta will soar over sea and sky in what SeaWorld is billing as “the most graceful flying coaster ever created”.
Riders will glide, swoop and dive up to nearly 60 mph, through four inversions on 3,359 feet of track. At times, riders will be so close to the water that the Manta’s wings will skim the waves and riders will be within inches of the water. “The sensation of Manta also will be like none other in the world – guests will be inspired by the grace and power of live rays, then feel as if they, themselves, are gliding through air and water,” said Joseph Couceiro, chief marketing officer for SeaWorld’s parent company, Busch Entertainment Corporation.
The four-acre, 140-foot-tall attraction will be located inside the main entrance to SeaWorld, and will become an icon in the park with its unique design. Towering above SeaWorld’s 200-acres, the manta-themed coaster will be cloaked in hues of dark purple, ultramarine blue and cobalt. SeaWorld is working with the renowned Swiss coaster design company, Bolliger & Mabillard for the design of Manta.
The journey will begin as guests enter a mythical village filled with artisan-created engravings and artwork that celebrate ray legend and lore. Billed as “no ordinary queue line,” guests will wind through caverns adorned with ray-inspired art in marble, jewels, and mosaics, all hand-created and left behind by artists who paid tribute to the ray.
Even if guests choose not to ride, there will be plenty for them to see. Floor-to-ceiling windows will create face-to-fin encounters with 300 rays, including shark rays, spotted eagles rays, leopard rays, cownose rays and oscillate river rays, as well as thousands of fish and mysterious creatures native to oceans all over the world. Elaborate lighting, sound and rushing waterfalls will further submerge guests into a underwater universe.
“This ride is uniquely SeaWorld,” said Dan Brown, vice president and general manager of SeaWorld Orlando. “SeaWorld is famous for connecting guests with the sea and its amazing creatures, and Manta does this in a way that has never been done before, creating a true sense of oneness between human and animal.
Manta is set to open in the summer of 2009.