In a random and surprise development survey markers have gone up all around the Sea Garden area of SeaWorld Orlando.
These markers led us to thinking about how 2018 will be considered a major year on in CEO Joel Manby’s plan. A plan that had a big new attraction coming to the park every other year. A process that started with Mako last year, making 2018 another year for a major attraction.
So what could it be? There are 3 possibilities and when we take a close look at them my best guess would narrow it down to something most would say is unexpected.
First, a dark ride. We’ve seen the concepts a million times by now, and this one lends to the idea that it has not been announced for any SeaWorld park yet. My counter to this rumor is that not only does SeaWorld Orlando already have a fairly recently opened dark ride, but SeaWorld San Diego will be getting a kids version this year. Don’t rule it our for Orlando’s future, but I don’t think this is where they want to put it in the park.
Second, A compact launching coaster. Rumor says that when SeaWorld parks and entertainment first bought Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, they agreed to buy 3.
That rumor is supported by the recent announcement that SeaWorld San Diego is getting Electric Eel in 2018.
I would rule this one out for the reason of not wanting to build the same coaster in the same year. I would also rule this one out on the grounds that SeaWorld Orlando just got a major coaster in Mako last year, a span of 7 years between major coasters. Not saying they couldn’t shorten that span but in this case I just don’t see it.
Which brings us to number 3, a water ride. Something SeaWorld or any of the parks hasn’t seen in a long time. But from water ride I believe we could narrow even further. The Orlando park already has Journey to Atlantis, a flume based water coaster, so for that reason we rule out log flume and obviously water coaster. Splash boats are fun but often times carry a small footprint and not a lot to see in a ride layout. The simplistic layout seems to be something that wouldn’t help SeaWorld tell a story. Which leaves my strong pick for what replaces Sea Garden: A river rapids ride.
Before you throw this idea away let’s consider the plus sides to this:
- High Capacity
- Ability to put a lot of ride track in a smaller area
- Able to theme it to tell a conservation or animal based story
- Easy and quick to build
- Usually a lower height requirement making it family friendly
SeaWorld has worked with a couple of companies in recent times that make great River Rapids rides. Most notable is Whitewater West who is responsible for building Aquatica. This company purchased Hopkins which has a great traditional style.
Other possible companies include Intamin who also built Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges at Universal Orlando. Zamperla whom SeaWorld and Busch Gardens purchase a lot of kids rides from. Zamperla also has a newer concept River Rapids with vertical lift.
So we also hear walls could go up around Sea Garden before summer starts, in order to move this project forward. What will happen to the Pass Member Lounge? What will become of the area?
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