March 23, 1999
Unveiled in conjunction with SeaWorld's '99 grand opening March 6, the multi-million-dollar Steel Eel became the first shiny new coaster to be introduced in the U.S. in 1999. It's also the only hypercoaster in Texas or the Southwest.
The custom-designed coaster reaches speeds up to 65 mph as it races up and down camelback humps which give the ride a serpentine appearance, thus the name Steel Eel. Its thrilling three-minute, 3,700-foot run produces exhilarating periods of weightlessness, the signature feature of a hypercoaster.
Members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) who encountered the Eel for the first time said its "bite" definitely complements the park's other state-of-the-art coaster, "The Great White" inverted coaster, which sends riders heels over head five times.
ACE members used adjectives such as "fabulous," "smooth," "incredible" and "breaktaking" to describe The Steel Eel. Others chimed in with "loads of fun," "perfectly designed" and "love that air time."
"The ride is very smooth, and you wouldn't believe the view," said an ACE member from Dallas. "It's a great coaster!"
Another ACE expert from the Dallas-Fort Worth area called it "the most anticipated coaster in Texas. It's a winner."
Hundreds of other ACE members from around the world will get to challenge The Steel Eel and The Great White in June 1999 when the organization holds its national convention – CoasterCon XXII – in San Antonio.
Steel Eel photo courtesy of Sea World of Texas. All rights reserved.