Roller Coasters are big business at SeaWorld Orlando
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SeaWorld shouldn’t just be known for its aquatic animals. The theme park chain has taken a step forward over the last decade to reinvent itself as a thrill seekers paradise.
There has been a real emphasis on roller coasters, as the park tries to compete with the likes of Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and Universal Studios. And make no mistake about it, these aren’t just kiddie coasters. The business of high-end roller coasters has become a staple at SeaWorld.
You don’t normally associate SeaWorld with thrill rides, but their collection of coasters might rival any theme park in the world. This holds especially true in Orlando, where the park features three massive roller coasters in Kraken, Manta, and Mako.
It starred in 2000 when SeaWorld debuted Kraken, a B&M floorless coaster that was brought out to compete with Universal’s new Incredible Hulk and Dueling Dragons coasters. Upon its unveiling, Kraken was the longest and tallest coaster in all of Florida. To add more fuel to Kraken’s fire, SeaWorld will add a VR element to the ride in 2017.
It took nine years for SeaWorld to debut its second coaster, Manta. It was the first flying coaster in all of Orlando, giving guests the sensation of flight. Manta was named Theme Park Insider best new attraction for 2009. Manta brought in record crowds to SeaWorld Orlando during its initial year of operation.
In 2016, SeaWorld Orlando produced its first hypercoaster, Mako. The product of B&M, Mako was met with huge anticipation from coaster enthusiasts across the world. It’s the tallest, fastest, and longest coaster in the greater Orlando area, and has been given rave reviews since its opening last June.
With all of these roller coasters, does SeaWorld Orlando have what it takes to compete with other Orlando area theme parks?
Universal Orlando doesn’t have a coaster as tall or extravagant as Mako, nor does it have a flying coaster such as Manta. There is also Busch Gardens Tampa that poses a threat to SeaWorld’s attendance. And while Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld are under the same family tree, there has been competition between the two over the last five years to produce the best coaster experience.
Universal and Busch Gardens might have more coaster themed rides in their parks, but the variety of SeaWorld’s coasters make it a worthy challenger. Neither of the aforementioned parks have a flying coaster, nor do they have VR on any of their rides. Throw in Mako, which is on par with Busch Gardens largest coaster, and you’ll see how SeaWorld stacks up against the competition.
SeaWorld Orlando might not be the first choice for tourists in the Orlando area, but for thrill seekers, it should be at the top of their list. The future for SeaWorld could mean more coasters, as the park looks to expand on its impressive resume. It’s safe to say that Shamu isn’t the only thing attracting guests to SeaWorld Orlando.
Follow Daniel James Gentile on twitter @dgentleman9288