I’m extremely excited about Ocean Explorer and I know our guests, of all ages, are going to love this fun, interactive and educational new area of the park. The opportunity to see and learn about some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, coupled with a mix of distinctive rides and activities, will give our visitors a meaningful experience only SeaWorld can create.” — John Reilly, SeaWorld San Diego Park President
Orlando, FL and San Diego, CA, USA (February 16, 2016) — Today, SeaWorld Orlando unveiled the custom-built Mako lead car that will take riders on a thrilling experience this summer – the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando, while SeaWorld San Diego announced a new attraction for 2017, Ocean Explorer, that will “create an expedition of wonder across the seven seas” by combining multiple aquariums, new rides and digital technologies to engage park guests in an experience centered on exploration and adventure “inspiring them to protect the wonders of our oceans.”
Mako’s design and engineering was inspired by the real mako shark – one of the ocean’s fastest shark species. When it opens, Mako will top 200 feet high and reach speeds of 73 mph on a track that’s nearly a mile long. The new ride will be a hypercoaster, with a track designed to concentrate on speed, tight turns and the weightless feeling riders get at the top of each hill.
In a collaboration between SeaWorld’s animal experts and ride engineers, the car is inspired by the physiology of an actual Mako shark, including five gills on each side, correct eye placement and a sleek, hydro-dynamic look. Wheels are comprised of a special compound that reduces friction — providing a smooth, fast ride from beginning to end. With only a lap guard on their lower body, riders’ upper bodies are free for added mobility and “airtime.”
The coaster will boast a total of 21 cars – including 3 trains of 7 cars per train.
As adventurers on a global expedition of scientific exploration, guests will travel to visit Ocean Explorer’s undersea animals aboard submarines, the signature ride of the attraction. Embarking on these mini subs, visitors will become researchers on a mission to collect data and learn how they can help animals. This three-minute experience will include an onboard digital navigation dashboard, as well as a few other surprises along their journey, enhancing the riders’ understanding of the ocean ecosystem.
“This newest, fully immersive attraction at SeaWorld San Diego is the next chapter in creating experiences that can create both wonder and curiosity for the oceans,” said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s vice president of theme park experience design. “Park guests will trek through sea-base stations, make special connections with incredible animals and discover how they too can take action to protect the oceans.”
The heart and destination of Ocean Explorer will be a series of undersea research bases housing specially-designed aquariums and interactive activities displaying unique as well as elusive ocean animals.
“I can’t be more thrilled about Ocean Explorer,” said Mike Price, SeaWorld San Diego’s assistant curator of fishes. “We will give our visitors the chance to come eye-to-eye with amazing animals like giant octopuses, huge spider crabs and hundreds of colorful jellies – some of which have never been seen at the park before. We will also give everyone a variety of different vantage points to view the animals by taking them around and inside these underwater habitats.”
Guests will discover these newly created aquariums, known as research pods, throughout Ocean Explorer. Enriching educational displays, technologies and graphics will be key components of each pod.
Ocean Explorer will also feature an exhilarating wave swinger ride where guests will literally fly through thousands of real bubbles in chairs suspended from the tentacles of a giant jelly. Three family-friendly rides will round out the fun of this immersive, new attraction.
“Our guests’ response to new attractions has always been tremendously positive,” said SeaWorld San Diego Park President John Reilly. “The scope of Ocean Explorer demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating new and fresh attractions, exhibits and events that provide the exciting, educational and entertaining experiences SeaWorld is known for.”
Construction on Ocean Explorer will begin in summer 2016 on a 3-acre site where the Animal Connections exhibit and the Circle of Flags are currently located on the southeast side of the park. This multi-million dollar attraction is scheduled to open in late spring of 2017.
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