It seems as though its been forever since the rumors of Sea World Orlando receiving a new B&M Flyer started to whirl in July of 2007. Since then, the mystery surrounding this ride has only added to the hype that always accompanies any joint effort between the Busch parks and master coaster designers, Bolliger and Mabillard. But one thing was certain through all of the uncertainties. From the rumor stage, to the concept art, to the official announcement, to the pouring of the first footers, everyone knew that this ride would be something special.
In early April of 2008, word leaked out that Sea World was officially going to be building a new thrill machine. Hover it was immediately stated that it would be like nothing the world had ever seen. Part educational exhibit, part aquarium, and part roller coaster, even enthusiasts such as ourselves where scratching our heads wondering what this park had up its sleeves.
Later that month, rough conceptual renderings of the ride began to pop up. These clearly depicted a "ray" themed flyer that would actually did its wings into the water creating a splash-down element.
Finally, on May 29, Sea World Orlando officially announced that they were contracting B&M to build for them a world class flying coaster that would truly be a spectacle to behold. But the name of Manta and its bare-bones stats were all that were presented of the ride at that time.
Once again the rumor mill began to whirl regarding the details of this ride. Could it really be as extraordinary as the PR guys were claiming? And would it be more closely related to the SUF clones or to Tatsu?
Over the past six months, ground work and vertical construction have proceeded at an astonishing pace. Each section of track laid into possition gave us more knowledge about this new coaster. And now it is complete ... well almost.
The trackwork is complete and looks like it will truly deliver an awesome ride. But what should really make this ride shine is its theme. The Busch parks have always paid excessive attention to detail and Manta should top all previous coasters in that category.
So once again we wait and watch. But still we can be assured that when it opens, Manta will truly be something special.