Just about a month ago, a series of alleged blueprints and images had been leaked for a potential “Manta” roller coaster going to SeaWorld San Diego, with construction bids online for a “SeaWorld Manta Exhibit & Ride Attraction 2012.” Nearly a month after those details surfaced, the park has now confirmed (according to Theme Park Tourist) it will be receiving its own $10 million Manta attraction for the 2012 season, which will “combine a traditional roller coaster with elements of a water ride.”
Unlike its sister park in Orlando, who received a B&M Flying coaster for their version of Manta, the one in San Diego will be a launched sit-down coaster from Mack Rides. With a tight 30-foot height limit set by the California Coastal Commission, the parks biggest drop of 54-feet, will go 24-feet down into the Earth so as not to exceed the height limit. From the previously leaked details, the ride will include two launch sections and numerous twists and turns, and some “water elements” over the 2,800-foot-long course. The ride will also utilize 20-passenger Manta-themed trains and giant projection screens, likely for the first launch, to immerse riders in manta rays. Reaching a top speed of 43 mph and a maximum of 4 Gs, the ride will be more of a family-launched coaster, featuring no inversions.
Along with the new coaster, the Forbidden Reef exhibit will be revamped into the rides Manta ray exhibit, which will feature at least 65 bat rays, 10 guitar fish, and over 400 other sea creatures. The exhibit will be built surrounded by the ray tanks with giant portholes for viewing, as well as informational touch screens and displays.
The park originally planned to open a new roller coaster for the 2010 season, but the project was put on hold when the SeaWorld and Busch parks were bought by the Blackstone Group, following InBev’s takeover in 2009. That coaster was apparently supposed to be a roller coaster similar in design to the pair of Revenge of the Mummy roller coasters seen at the Universal parks in Hollywood and Florida.