Manta - SeaWorld

Florida Guide > Sea World

Another hot spring day as we approach Sea World probably our favorite theme park in Orlando. Through the picturesque entrance we make our way through the busy turnstiles and head towards the attractions.

Looming large and impressive is a massive blue structure twisting and turning in front of us. A coaster is half way round the track making those unmistakable noises with the obligatory screaming riders adding to the sound. On our previous visit this has been a water feature populated with bright pink flamingoes.

Such a new ride the queue was already 100 yards outside of the entry portal that leads in to the maze before you get to see the Coasters up close. Despite this we moved quite quickly and after the children had been height checked at the entrance walked in past the restful waterfall and continued into the ride.

As you snake round towards the actual ride giant fish tanks are strategically placed with shoals of beautiful coloured fish to take your mind off the queue.

After 40 minutes we finally came in sight of the new coasters. They are shaped like giant Manta Rays and painted predominantly in blue. The riders have 8 rows to choose from and each row has 4 seats. There were however long queues for both the front and back rows.

We all made our way in to the seats and secured the overhead restraints. When the ride attendants had ensured all the riders were fully secured the mechanism rotated each of the ride seats so that the riders were now secured by strapping facing the floor. This was the bit that for those with glasses either taking them off or securing them was a very necessary precaution.

The ride started slowly as the long manta coaster headed up the steep incline to give it the height and momentum from which to freefall descend. The view over the park was brilliant. Florida is so flat and on a sunny day you can see for miles in every direction. As you scan the scene below your attention is drawn to the Sea World Sky Tower and the view of Shamu Stadium.

As the ride starts its decent in addition to all the twists and turns you expect, the coaster flips you over 180 degrees so that all you can see is bright blue sky as you ride on your back. This is a really weird experience but one well worth queuing for. (For those adults with children there is a ride swop facility where parents can take it in turn to ride with only one of them having to queue from the beginning of the ride entrance).

All too quickly the ride is over, totally exhilarating, a ride worth doing again and again.

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Page added on: 6 June 2010
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