Manta Double-Launch Coast Thrills At Sea World San Diego

Thursday, 16 Jan 2014, 7:55:00 AM

Brenton Garen

Manta is a double-launch coaster that features a marine-life habitat.
Courtesy Photo
Manta is a double-launch coaster that features a marine-life habitat.

Anyone

who hasn’t been to SeaWorld San Diego in a few years will be in for a treat

with the arrival of its new mega-attraction Manta, a double-launch coaster that

opened in May 2012.

Swooping

over sea and sky, Manta not only inspires riders with a 100,000-gallon

aquarium, but also takes riders on an exhilarating ride on a coaster shaped like

a giant manta ray, with dozens of twists and turns and a thrilling 54-foot

drop.

SeaWorld

Park President John Reilly said the ride delivered exactly what guests wanted:

a fun, family coaster complemented by a hands-on animal experience.

“We

want our guests to feel immersed in the world of rays, like they themselves are

a giant manta ray, twisting, soaring, and diving through the ocean,” Reilly

said. “Then, they’ll even get the opportunity to reach in the water and touch

and feed real California bat rays.”

Manta

sits on five acres just north of SeaWorld’s Dolphin Point. 

Guests

are first introduced to the attraction as 20-seat trains zip around a 30-foot

rock formation with bamboo, ferns, and a prominent Manta sign. 

Guests

feel as if they’ve landed on an exotic Southeast Asian island, sprinkled with

flowers and featuring a variety of palm trees, Japanese black pines, a palm,

and cycad canyon and a succulent garden. 

Large

trees line the perimeter of Manta, while small shrines, Japanese rockwork,

potted bonsai trees, and a stone pagoda and bell tower (two structures dating

back to 1964 when the park opened) blend into the landscape.

For

those 48 inches and taller, the roller coaster at Manta is the highlight of the

experience. 

Known

as a linear synchronous motor (LSM) launch coaster, Manta features half a mile

of track, with four trains (20 seats each) that take riders around banks and

turns and a 54-foot drop where the cars skim a lake (without getting riders

wet).  

The

maximum height of the ride is 30 feet, but the drop is a total of 54 feet,

achieved through a 24-foot excavation. 

Lasting

one minute and 40 seconds, Manta features two separate launches and reaches

maximum speed in just two seconds.

The

first launch takes place in a 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 visually enhances the

physical acceleration as the ride launches down the track. This

state-of-the-art projection system is the first of its kind in the United

States.

In

developing and constructing Manta, SeaWorld worked with German ride design

company MACK, which also engineered SeaWorld San Diego’s popular ride, Journey

to Atlantis. 

Manta’s

100,000-gallon aquarium is filled with three species of rays (California bat

rays, diamond stingrays, and shovelnose guitarfish). The reef-themed aquarium

includes eight acrylic viewing windows where guests can see marine life above

and in front of them, and a shallow aboveground pool where guests can touch and

feed California bat rays. 

This

hands-on experience allows guests to make a connection with rays, which may

inspire them to protect this amazing species by cherishing its ocean home, and

the environment in general.

“Wish

lanterns” with messages and imagery hand-drawn by SeaWorld employees can be

seen in the lake area of the ride, where the coaster makes its 54-foot drop

(and can be seen while in the queue for the ride).

To

learn more about Manta, visit www.seaworld.com/manta.

SeaWorld

San Diego is open year-round, including holidays. Park admission is $79 for

ages 10 and older; $71 for ages 3–9. Hours vary by season. 

For

more information, visit 

www.seaworldsandiego.com or call 800.257.4268.

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