Welcome one, welcome all to the once glorious Sea World Orlando!
Full disclosure: this was my first time going to Sea World Orlando; my only previous Sea World experience was Sea World Ohio (RIP) so I was mostly going in blind to things.
Sea World was looking great over the weekend; everything was clean and I was ready to hop on a few coasters and try to get some nice pictures of Mako! Sadly one of those plans would be horribly thwarted by the end of the day.
First things first; I’m not sure when this happened, but the ‘splash’ on Manta seems to have been severely neutered from what it used to be. At this point, the splash is more of a half-hearted spray of just a few jets as Manta soars by and looks rather disappointing from what I had seen of it in years past. The whole area still looks spectacular and was drawing crowds of people who stood and watched as trains swooped by, but some of the visual flair was missing with the smaller “splash” of water.
That being said, Manta is still riding fantastically and has jumped to the top of my personal picks for Flying coasters (although if I ever get on Tatsu or The Flying Dinosaur, that’s sure to change). The Quick Queue line really needs to be better labeled, since it is almost completely obscured behind the exit/gift shop, but at least it is accessible.
Journey to Atlantis was…fine. The ride was overwhelmingly wet for those in the front row, but I managed to escape two rides with a tolerable and moderate amount of wetness in the second and third rows. A lot of the effects during the first indoor portion of the ride seemed to not be working during my time at the park which, annoyingly, made me miss whatever little story there is on the ride. Splash Mountain this ain’t.
Right next door, Kraken was running two trains all day with a continuously empty queue so, of course, I took advantage of this fact to score some rerides and take some of the only pictures of Mako that I could.
One thing that most theme park blogs don’t seem to get across in their pictures of Mako is just how hard the damn thing is to photograph from inside the park. Kraken winds up, around, and through Mako’s run, providing spectacular views of the new hyper coaster, but that is really the only place in the park you can see Mako currently. Since the Skytower was closed all day due to high winds, I also wasn’t able to get some areal views of the track either.
Regardless, Mako is complete! The final turnaround has been hoisted and bolted into place and I’m sure it will be just a few short weeks before those awesome looking trains are making the first test runs. From what I’ve seen of the course, Mako looks pretty amazing and will almost definitely provide an awesome ride provided the B&M shakes don’t start setting in after a few years.
Most impressive is the view of Mako from across the lagoon and around the Shark Encounter area; here the track makes some twisted turns with a dive down to the water (which hasn’t been filled in yet) all while going over guests on the path. I for one am excited for Mako to swoop overhead as I walk by.
Other than that, nothing has changed much at Sea World. The park was still extremely light on crowds despite Universal and Disney being in their “peak” seasons for Spring Break, and I really hope that isn’t as frequent an issue as it seems. The park has some great rides and a fun atmosphere; I think they just need a few more rides (like Mako) to really start drawing people back after the Blackfish fiasco.