SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment shared ride car designs and new details on many of the company’s new attractions during the recent IAAPA Attractions Expo. SeaWorld Orlando and San Antonio, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Williamsburg revealed the lead ride car design and details on their new park attractions, while SeaWorld San Diego announced the name of its 2020 attraction is Emperor.
A New Legend
The lead car for North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world, Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, was on display at the Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) booth. Intamin displayed the lead car for the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster, Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The lead car for the tallest, fastest and longest wooden coaster in the state of Texas, Texas Stingray at SeaWorld San Antonio, was shown at Great Coasters International (GCI). Premier Rides showed of a ride vehicle for the coaster with the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando. To be built by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California and the only floorless dive coaster in the state, was named Emperor and will rise at SeaWorld San Diego. From Whitewater, America’s first dual-tailspin water slide, Solar Vortex, will debut at Adventure Island. Also from Whitewater, Tonga Twister is two body slides destined for San Antonio’s Aquatica. Florida’s first-ever dueling water slide, Riptide Race from ProSlide, is set to open at Aquatica Orlando.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s construction manager Andrew Schafer joined RMC’s president Fred Grubb at the RMC booth to unveil the lead vehicle for Iron Gwazi. A new legend is surfacing in 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with the evolution of Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Manufactured by RMC, Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91º drop, and reach top speeds of 76 mph. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime moments as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track. With a 48 inch height requirement, Iron Gwazi will be an exciting thrill attraction that families can take on together.
While elements of the former wooden attraction will be integrated into the new ride, the steel track and reimagined layout of Iron Gwazi present an entirely unique experience that tells a different story. Iron Gwazi will highlight the best of both worlds, the classic nostalgia of a wooden coaster and the bold innovation of a steel coaster. Thriving and adapting over millions of years, this evolutionary crossroad is perfectly represented in the crocodile, the largest living reptile and the animal inspiration for Iron Gwazi.
GCI’s president Clair Hain and vice president Robert Paskanik were on hand for the unveiling of the Texas Stingray vehicle at the GCI booth. SeaWorld San Antonio has announced exciting details about Texas Stingray; the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster in the state of Texas. This record-breaking coaster, which will reach a top speed of 55 mph, includes a breathtaking hundred-foot drop and a sensory-bending hundred-foot long tunnel. Texas Stingray marks a major addition to SeaWorld San Antonio’s gravity-defying roller coaster portfolio with five unique coaster experiences.
Making its debut in spring 2020, riders will shiver through family friendly adventures on SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster, Ice Breaker, on display at the Premier Rides booth. Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot tall spike with 100º angle.
Located near the Wild Arctic Attraction, the ride’s theme is reflective of this area with a nod to Ice Breaker’s conservation partner, Alaska SeaLife Center. Primarily dedicated to marine research, education and wildlife response, the Alaska SeaLife Center mission matches closely to SeaWorld Orlando’s, making them an ideal partner to help educate riders about the Artic and its inhabitants. The opening of Ice Breaker is the perfect addition to SeaWorld’s ever-growing ride portfolio, and its 48-inch rider height makes it a family friendly thrill ride.
A Swirling Journey
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has announced that the fastest multi-launch coaster in the world is coming to the park in spring 2020. Proudly displayed at the Intamin booth, Pantheon features four launches, reaching a top speed of 73 mph. Located in the park’s Festa Italia village, Pantheon combines the might of five Roman gods in one record-breaking display of strength, speed and power, including forward and backward launches, two inversions and a 95-degree drop. The Gods reinforce the theming of the new coaster and illustrate some of the thrilling elements for brave riders.
SeaWorld San Diego has revealed the name of its record-breaking dive coaster is Emperor, opening in summer 2020. From B&M, this new roller coaster will be the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California, as well as the only floorless dive coaster in the state. Climbing to 153 feet with their feet dangling in the air, riders will be suspended on a 45º angle at the crown of the ride before plunging down a 143-foot facedown vertical drop accelerating to more than 60 miles per hour. Riders will also experience inversions, a barrel roll, an Immelmann loop, a hammerhead turn and flat spin as they race along the nearly 2,500 feet of track. Each of the floorless ride cars will hold 18 riders in three, six-person rows. The coaster will be located adjacent to Journey to Atlantis in the southeast corner of the park.
Emperor is named after the emperor penguin colony at SeaWorld San Diego, which was the world’s first zoological facility and the first place outside of Antarctica to successful breed, hatch and raise emperor penguin chicks. Twenty-three emperor penguins chicks have been hatched and raised at SeaWorld San Diego since 1979.
Adventure Island, Tampa Bay introduces Solar Vortex, America’s first dual-tailspin water slide. This thrilling family raft slide combines high-banking rotations and rapid descents, sending sliders on a swirling journey through two open tailspin features. Manufactured by Whitewater, Solar Vortex will also include three dynamic AquaLucent elements, harnessing the power of the Florida sun into colourful patterns that shine through the slide as riders reach speeds of up to 20 mph.
A New Park
Coming to Aquatica San Antonio in 2020 is Tonga Twister, two thrilling, heart pounding body slides, each with distinct twists and runs. Tonga Twister features AquaLucent tubes that create special effect lighting patterns, giving the rider an electrifying light show. Riders plummet and slide from a height of over 50 feet and navigate 415 feet of twists and turns before splashing down into a refreshing pool. High-energy music piped into the tubes will elevate the excitement and fun.
Aquatica Orlando is racing into 2020 with a one-of-a-kind new park attraction that will thrill park-goers, Florida’s first-ever duelling water slide, Riptide Race by ProSlide. Starting atop a 68-foot tower, riders will be able to grab a raft and take their mark in side-by-side racing lanes at top speeds. Each raft holds a team of two, so every rider will have a partner as they plunge toward a hopeful victory. Riptide Race rafts feature low walls to ensure full view of the competition. Duelling face-to-face, racers will navigate tight loops and accelerations through indoor and outdoor sections.
Also new, SeaWorld Entertainment and Sesame Workshop recently announced the location of a new Sesame Place theme park, opening in San Diego in spring 2021. It will be the second Sesame Place in the United States and the first one on the West Coast.
Sesame Place San Diego will feature all the fun, laughter, and learning of Sesame Street in a highly immersive way, with exciting family rides, water slides, live character shows, parades and interactive experiences that will extend the laughter and learning of Sesame Street. The original Sesame Place, currently the only U.S. theme park based entirely on the iconic children’s program, opened outside Philadelphia in July 1980 and has been a premier destination for families countrywide for nearly 40 years.
Sesame Place San Diego will open as a Certified Autism Center (CAC), mirroring its Philadelphia sister park, which was the first theme park in the world to achieve this designation. Staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training will be completed prior to the park’s debut, and robust pre-visit planning resources, including a park-specific sensory guide will be featured on its website, making it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations. Designated quiet spaces with adjustable lighting and comfortable seating will be incorporated into the park’s design.