Have you ever wished you could experience the sensation of gliding through the air like a bird in flight? Now you can, and you don’t even have to grow a pair of wings. All you need to do is visit SeaWorld Orlando this summer, and climb aboard their new Manta flying coaster.
The Manta coaster is one of the more highly anticipated new roller coasters for 2009. Manta is a themed flying coaster that was inspired by the graceful underwater flight of the manta ray. What is a flying coaster, you ask? It’s a style of steel roller coaster that was designed to simulate the feeling of flight. The roller coaster cars are suspended beneath the track, with riders safely secured in a superhero-like, horizontal flying position parallel to the track.
The Manta flying coaster was created to transition guests at SeaWorld Orlando from witnessing the beauty of manta rays in underwater flight, to experiencing the sensation of being one. Swooping and diving at speeds up to 60 mph, Manta riders will see amazing underwater animal habitats, then fly through four inversions on 3,359 feet of track.
Riding face-down underneath the belly of a coaster train shaped like a giant manta ray, riders will soar effortlessly from sky to sea, at times so close that the wings of the Manta coaster skim the waves below. The 140-foot-tall steel flying coaster features a 113-foot first drop, and has a ride time that’s just over two and a half minutes.
“SeaWorld is famous for connecting guests with the sea and its amazing creatures, and Manta does this in a way that has never been done before, creating a true sense of oneness between human and animal,” said Dan Brown, Vice President and General Manager of SeaWorld Orlando.
The unique Manta experience begins when you enter a mythical village filled with artwork and engravings that showcase the legends and lore of the manta ray. The queue line for the Manta flying coaster winds through caverns decorated with hand-created manta art in marble, jewels and mosaics.
Those who choose not to ride the Manta flying coaster can still enjoy unforgettable up-close encounters with 300 rays and thousands of fish that float past floor-to-ceiling windows within the 7-acre marine attraction. Elaborate lighting, sound and rushing waterfalls submerge park guests even deeper into this incredible underwater experience.
SeaWorld Orlando commissioned renowned Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard (B & M) for the design of their Manta flying coaster. B&M roller coasters are famous for providing a smooth-as-glass ride. Their first flying coaster was Air at Great Britain’s Alton Towers Park which opened in 2002, with Superman: Ultimate Flight opening at Six Flags Over Georgia later that same year. The world’s tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster is Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
The Manta flying coaster was designed with four inversions: a pretzel loop, an in-line twist (360 degree in-line roll) and two corkscrew spins. Featuring hues of dark purple, ultramarine and cobalt blue, the Manta coaster has 3 trains with 8 cars each. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train. You must be 54″ or taller to ride the Manta flying coaster.
SeaWorld Orlando is home to several other thrill rides, most notably their Kraken floorless coaster and Journey to Atlantis, a water coaster ride. The Manta flying coaster won’t be the tallest or fastest roller coaster in the world, but it does look like one of the most exciting new roller coasters to debut this year.