Sea World announced their latest addition to the park and one that might point to a larger shift for the 41 year old educational theme park. Mako will be the park’s third coaster. At 4,760 feet long, topping out at 73 mph and dropping 200 feet it will be the longest, fastest and tallest coaster in Orlando. Those numbers are currently spread out around the area with Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure (fastest,67 mph), Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios (tallest, 167 ft) and Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest (longest, 4,424 ft).
The new coaster makes SeaWorld, long a family park, a must-see for thrill seekers visiting Orlando. The park is already home to two of the top local coasters. Kraken, SeaWorld’s first thrill coaster, opened in 2000, and features a unique floorless ride vehicle. Manta opened in 2009 and is Florida’s only flying coaster. Mako will be manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, a Swiss based thrill ride design group. Both Kraken and Manta are B&M coasters as well. Locally Hulk, Dragon Challenge, SheiKra, Kumba and Montu are also B&M designed coasters.
Mako will anchor an updated shark themed section of the park where the current Shark Encounter exhibit is. When that exhibit opened it was one of the most impressive shark tanks in the world and featured what was at the time the largest acrylic tunnel in the world.
The new shark and shipwreck reef themed area will include updated façades to Shark Encounter and its attached restaurant, Sharks Underwater Grill. Additional nearby buildings will be updated to include a shark themed gift shop and large entrance for the new coaster.
Mako will mostly sit behind the Sea Lion and Otter Stadium where the new Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High show opened earlier this year. The station for the ride will be between the sharks exhibit and the Nautilus Theater, the main show at that theater was cancelled late last year as part of a larger cost cutting at SeaWorld Parks.
The ride features an east facing lift hill with the majority of the ride running along the eastern side of a retention pond. It will be easily visible from International Drive which runs parallel to the new ride. It will also be visible from I-4 and nearby attractions like the convention center and SeaWorld’s Aquatica, which is located just across the street. The ride will feature a small segment towards the end of the track where it will swoop over the sidewalk near the front of Shark Encounter and will stretch over a small segment of SeaWorld Orlando’s central lake. The ride will add action to what is currently a quieter and older segment of the park.
The coaster will be well lit with projection style lighting that will feature ‘school of fish’ and water ripple effects.
SeaWorld Orlando’s two most recently opened attractions were family-friendly. Turtle Trek, a 3-D domed movie where guests stand up for the short video, is part of the updated manatee and sea turtle area. Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin was a complete retheming of the penguin area of the park and featured a brand new trackless ride.
Like Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin Mako will feature original music during key parts of the ride, such as the lift hill. The shark themed area will also feature an original score that will ‘react’ to the coaster coming through.
Mako is near the shark exhibits but there has yet to be any official confirmation on integrating sharks or other predators into the new queue. The queue will be themed to an underwater reef area below a pier.
Construction walls should be up for the new ride by next week with the grand opening planned for summer of next year.
Article by Ken Storey. Follow him on Twitter @Klstorey