May 22, 2009
SeaWorld created something unique with Manta by starting the experience in the queue. While waiting to board the roller coaster, guests will get the chance to view the underwater worlds of tropical fish and rays.
Floor-to-ceiling aquariums showcase rare leafy sea dragons and thousands of schooling fish. Children will get to peer into an aquarium with nearly 300 colorful clownfish and mysterious sea anemones by climbing into a unique pop-up aquarium that offers a 360-degree view. There are also three hundred rays — their group known as a "fever" &mdash that swim or fly past and even over guests heads.
SeaWorld says there's a sense of being immersed and surrounded by thousands of mysterious creatures.
As you move through the queue you'll finally have a close encounter with a giant manta ray. Peering through a waterfall, guests feel the punch of air as something huge zooms by, just inches away. It's a giant manta ray on steel rails with 32 riders secured to the manta's belly.
"Manta takes what SeaWorld does best — animal encounters and thrill rides — and blends them to create something you can't find anywhere else in the world," says Dan Brown, SeaWorld's general manager. "Manta's actually the next generation of what makes Orlando so much fun."
Manta is the only flying roller coaster of its kind in the world.
Boarding Manta riders will climb into what looks like a traditional roller coaster seat, but that familiarity ends quickly when the seats fold up placing the riders into a horizontal "flying" position, face down.
"It's like flying," says SeaWorld.
A total of 32 riders are positioned four-abreast in eight rows on the belly of a massive 12-foot wide manta.
Manta takes flight by climbing to 140-feet before beginning a thrilling 113-foot descent. The two and half minute ride includes a twisting pretzel loop, in-line spins, a waterfall close call and Manta's signature wing dip just inches from the water.
For those too young or too afraid to ride, Manta still offers unique animal encounters that can be experienced throughout the queue without having to board the roller coaster.
SeaWorld plans to offer "Quick Queue" for those who want to skip the lines. This additional charge add-on lets guests skip the lines at popular rides like Manta and offers reserved seating at SeaWorld shows.
Manta is a product of renowned roller coaster engineers Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland.
The attraction's debut today is just in time for the start of Orlando's busiest tourism season and the Memorial Day holiday.
Manta photo courtesy of SeaWorld Orlando. All rights reserved.
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