SeaWorld Orlando Announces New Mega-Attraction Coming In 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 29, 2008) -- SeaWorld Orlando announced today the next generation of SeaWorld thrills with Manta -- a new mega-attraction that will seamlessly transition guests from the awe of encountering rays in underwater flight … into the sensation of actually being one. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, then soar them face-down, in a horizontal position, aboard a manta-inspired flying coaster. Manta opens summer 2009.

The Manta flying coaster will create a new level of immersion into the animal world -- in a way only SeaWorld can do -- enveloping riders in a sensation of oneness with the ocean’s most powerful and graceful creature as they soar, dive and plummet through the air ... and at times within inches of the sea.

The journey begins the second that guests enter a mythical village filled with artisan-created engravings and artwork that celebrate ray legend and lore. No ordinary queue line – the attraction starts with the first step inside. Anticipation builds as guests wind through caverns adorned with ray-inspired art in marble, jewels, and mosaics, all hand-created and left behind by artists who were moved to pay tribute to the beauty, grace and intrigue of these animals.

Whether guests choose to ride or not, the attraction is a world unto itself. Floor-to-ceiling windows create mesmerizing face-to-fin encounters with 300 rays, as well as thousands of fish and mysterious creatures native to oceans all over the world. Shark rays, spotted eagle rays, leopard rays, cownose rays, and oscillate river rays float past guests with fluidity and grace in a view new to SeaWorld. Enhancing the feeling of awe, elaborate lighting, sound and rushing waterfalls further submerge guests into this underwater universe.

The experience then evolves from seeing ... to being.

Inspired by the underwater flight of these powerful creatures, guests will fly face-down, in a horizontal position, underneath the belly of a coaster train shaped as a giant manta. With a wing span of 12 feet, the giant manta will soar over sea and sky in the most graceful flying coaster ever created.

Gliding, swooping and diving up to nearly 60 mph, through four inversions on 3,359 feet of track, riders will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight effortlessly from sky to sea -- so close at times that the Manta’s wings skim the waves.

“This ride is uniquely SeaWorld,” said Dan Brown, Vice President and General Manager of SeaWorld Orlando. “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.

“The sensation of Manta also will be like none other in the world – guests will be inspired by the grace and power of live rays, then feel as if they, themselves, are gliding through air and water,” said Joseph Couceiro, Chief Marketing Officer for SeaWorld’s parent company, Busch Entertainment Corporation. “No one but SeaWorld can unite thrills and ocean animals into such a unique experience.”

The 7-acre, 140-ft tall attraction will be located inside the main entrance to SeaWorld, and become an icon in the park with its unique design. Towering over SeaWorld’s 200-acres, the manta-themed coaster – cloaked in hues of dark purple, ultramarine blue, and cobalt – will lure guests into the world of the mysterious ray.

SeaWorld is working with the renowned Swiss coaster design company, Bolliger & Mabillard for the design of Manta.