Manta — a new mega-attraction that will seamlessly transition guests from the awe of watching rays in underwater flight … into the sensation of actually being one, is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend 2012 at SeaWorld San Diego. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta will not only inspire riders with amazing underwater animal habitats, but take them on an exhilarating ride on a coaster shaped like a giant manta ray, with speeds of up to 43 mph and a thrilling 54-foot drop. “We are delighted to bring energizing new attractions to our guests year after year,” said SeaWorld park president, John Reilly, “and Manta does just that, combining the thrill and excitement of a coaster, with the educational and entertaining value of an incredible marine-life exhibit.”
Gliding, flying and diving through more than a dozen twists and turns, riders will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight from sky to sea — so close at times that the Manta’s wings skim the waves.
Manta also will feature a unique “launch station” where the passengers will start the ride enclosed in a launch tunnel with larger-than-life images of rays projected on a 270-degree enveloping screen. This stunning introduction to the world of the rays also will visually enhance the physical acceleration as the ride launches down the track. This stateof- the-art projection system will be the first of its kind in the United States. Riders and non-riders alike will enjoy the graceful beauty of bat rays and fishes.Forbidden Reef, a former SeaWorld attraction where guests could feed and touch bat rays, will be incorporated and enhanced as part of Manta.
“With Manta, our guests will be able to see and interact with 65 bat rays, 10 guitar fish, and hundreds of fishes,” said SeaWorld San Diego curator of fishes, Thad Dirksen. “The below-water viewing area will include eight acrylic windows and a reef design. The above-water interaction area will allow our guests more opportunities to touch and feed the rays.”
Manta will be located just north of Rocky Point Preserve. SeaWorld is working with German ride design company MACK, which also engineered the marine-life park’s popular ride, Journey To Atlantis. Guests at SeaWorld’s sister park in Orlando have been enjoying a similar version of Manta since it opened in 2009.