Yesterday April 14th in the early afternoon SeaWorld Orlando playfully teased an image with the caption, “Some beautiful palm trees right there…”. However just beyond the palm trees was a tractor trailer hauling two segments of ice cool blue Bolliger & Mabillard track. It looks like the long rumored Project Penguin has come to roost. This coaster was first rumored to be in production in January of 2020 when a permit was filed with local planning offices to clear land for an upcoming project. With Ice Breaker already announced it looked like this coaster was being planned for 2021. However we all know what happened next and timetables were shifted.
Now in the spring of 2022 with Ice Breaker open the track for this unannounced coaster has started showing up in Orlando. This coaster back in 2020 was rumored to be a new model supplied by B&M that was being called a surf coaster. When you look at B&M’s available models it is difficult to know what a surf coaster might be. We joked at the time on Coaster-net that we would be on our bellies sliding along like a penguin. However not long after we got additional clues.
A series of construction liens (see below) were filed against SeaWorld parks by their various vendors in the spring of 2020. A curious one popped up for Orlando from Swiss manufacturer, B&M. The lien was for services and materials supplied to SeaWorld Orlando for a “custom Launch Coaster”. The paperwork referred to the project as Penguin Coaster so we had the code name for the project again and a description of a launch. At the end of the summer of 2020 in September another clue surfaced, a patent for a new generation of stand up coaster chassis. It isn’t a secret that the stand up coaster is uncomfortable and unmarketable. Did this new patent reveal that B&M had solved the issues holding this model back and were ready to reimagine it?
At this point we have more questions than answers. Is a surf coaster a rebrand of the stand up? Is it the beginning of a series of launched B&M’s. Is the Project Penguin both a stand up and launched coaster. With no official information it is really too soon to say, but we do know that whatever it is, it is arriving. And that is an exciting start.