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SeaWorld San Diego to add Manta coaster in 2012

February 09, 2011|By Brady MacDonald | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Mack
Mack (59192554.jpg )

SeaWorld San Diego will add a $10 million-plus roller coaster in 2012 that marks the U.S. debut of a highly anticipated prototype ride.

Paired with a 100,000-gallon aquarium and outdoor ray pool, the Manta coaster will be in a relatively unused back corner of the marine park near the Skyride and Flamingo Cove, SeaWorld officials said.

The 30-foot-tall Manta will feature dual launch zones, a 54-foot drop into a subterranean trench and a dramatic wing dip into a shallow lake over a 2,800-foot-long track. Launched from a tunnel filled with manta ray projections, the inversion-less family coaster will reach a top speed of 43 mph and pull 4 Gs during the two-minute trip. SeaWorld is expected to break ground on the new coaster in the next month.

The electromagnetic-launched mega-coaster, which has coaster enthusiasts salivating, will deliver a much-needed dose of thrills to a park habitually light on rides. I can't wait to take my first spin.

SeaWorld San Diego's Manta represents a significantly more compact version of the 125-foot-tall, 3,500-foot-long Blue Fire coaster in Germany, which features heart rate monitors, video screens for each rider and lap bar-only restraints. The prototype Mack coaster be found only at the company-owned Europa-Park, which serves as a proving ground for the manufacturer's newest rides.

SeaWorld's sister park in Orlando, Fla., opened a similarly themed Manta flying coaster in 2009 that features a wing dip splashdown across a shallow lake.

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