It’s been nearly a decade since SeaWorld San Antonio added a new roller coaster, so there is plenty of pent-up anticipation over the planned arrival of Wave Breaker next year. SeaWorld San Antonio President Carl Lum said he expects the theme park’s latest capital investment will pull in visitors from a larger geographic area. “It’s been nine years since we’ve had a new coaster. This is a big deal for us,” said Lum, who was in Orlando this week for the 2016 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo. “This is an iconic ride. There’s not anything like it.”
Indeed, Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster will be the first attraction of its kind in North America. SeaWorld officials said it was inspired by actual marine animal rescue missions. Park officials would not disclose the cost of the new coaster. But they did confirm that work on the ride is progressing and Wave Breaker is on schedule to open in early summer 2017.
Race into action on a new generation of coaster that combines the thrill of the sea with the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster in ways never before seen or experienced. Coming to SeaWorld San Antonio in summer 2017, Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster will enable riders to feel what it’s like to race alongside SeaWorld’s heroic animal care team and veterinarians as they spring into action at a moment’s notice to help rescue animals in distress.
“The new coaster promises a ride of a lifetime that’s also unique to SeaWorld’s mission,” said SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Carl Lum. “Replicating an adventure limited to only a few trained professionals, Wave Breaker will launch riders into an exhilarating experience similar to going on an animal rescue mission. The coaster is sure to thrill, but also brings awareness to the brave efforts of our animal teams as they join forces with organizations around the world to help ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned animals.”
Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster boasts a variety of features inspired by the reality of jet skiing across a body of water. The unique jet ski-style car design is the first such coaster design in North America and engages riders in a straddled seating position. The design will allow riders to lean into a series of banked and serpentine turns, and grip the handle bars as they race over air time humps and a pair of high acceleration launches. Reaching heights of up to 61-feet, the majority of the coaster’s 2,600-foot track will be directly over water, creating the sensation that riders are racing across the park’s Ski Lake. With a minimum height requirement of 48”, Wave Breaker promises to be a dynamic coaster experience for the whole family.
“Inspired by our guests’ ongoing requests to learn more about how they can help support animal rescue efforts, each ride begins by telling the story of a rescue mission and invites guests to become personally involved in helping to protect animals,” adds Lum. “Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster will definitely be a thrilling ride, but we also hope it brings riders on a journey of discovery, as together we work to protect the wild wonders of our world.”
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. was upgraded Thursday to neutral from underperform at Credit Suisse, but that doesn’t mean the analysts have high hopes for the company.
The upgrade came as analyst Benjamin Chaiken didn’t think SeaWorld SEAS, +0.76% was “in a better position structurally,” just that Wall Street’s expectations and the stock’s valuation are now more reasonable than in May, when he turned bearish on the stock. He said the upgrade is also based on the belief that SeaWorld should, and will, lower its dividend and use the money to reinvest in the business, pinning its hopes on the addition of new roller coasters.
Shares of SeaWorld climbed 0.8%, but had been up as much as 3.1% earlier in the session. The shares have tumbled 28% in the past three months, compared with the S&P 500’s SPX, -0.08% gain of 5.9%.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. — looking to boost profits and attendance following years of public backlash — plans to begin construction on an $18 million attraction at its San Antonio park in August, state records show. SeaWorld San Antonio plans to reveal the new attraction in September, said spokeswoman Lindsey Campbell, declining to elaborate. She provided a 20-second promotional video released in April featuring footage of SeaWorld employees jetting across bodies of water on personal watercrafts and handling dolphins, turtles and other animals.
“Race into action with a new generation of heroes. We need you,” text superimposed over images of roller coaster tracks reads. The video adds that “a new thrill” is coming in 2017.