Mako Soft Opening and Review

A little birdy told me that Mako was in soft opening this weekend at SeaWorld orlando so I decided to drive down and take a look.

As I drove up to the park, I could see Mako actually testing which was exciting in and of itself. Upon driving closer, however, I definitely saw people on the trains so I knew I might be in for a treat.

Lo and behold, as I entered the park around 12:45, a large sign (sorry, didn’t get a picture) announced that Mako was in preview runs and may or may not be open at any point throughout the day. Needless to say, the closer I got to the coaster, the busier the park seemed to get because everyone wanted a ride on Sea World’s new ride.

If you want a TL:DR version of my review, see this tweet

Let’s start this review with the best parts of Mako.

  • The new ‘reef’ area around the ride is spectacular. The shipwreck and coral theming look great and really help reinforce the whole “guests are a shark swimming underwater” theme that Sea World is going for.
  • Mako looks fantastic from most areas in the park; especially across the lagoon.
  • Watching it sweep around and above you as you’re in the Shark Reef area is quite enjoyable. The audio and visual cues that accompany a train completing a circuit make for a fun little show for those in the area.
  • The audio work in general for the ride is top notch. The entire score sounds fantastic and is a great addition to the ride. I’ve already mentioned how good it is as a train goes by outside the queue, but the queue score and station score sound wonderful as well. To top it all off, the theme going up the lift is perfectly paced to coincide with your 200ft. climb.
  • The station has a fun little show whenever a train begins its journey which is pretty cool and fun to watch.
  • The trains themselves look fantastic and are comfortable as hell.
  • Airtime throughout the ride is phenomenal, pulling you out of your seat for seconds at a time no matter which seat you’re in.
  • Mako’s speed is definitely a good change in the Sea World lineup and makes for quite a fun ride overall.
  • The ride is glass smooth. Seriously, I don’t know if I have ever been on a smoother rollercoaster in my life. From the word “go”, Mako glides along the tracks like a hot knife through butter; here’s to hoping a case of B&M rattle doesn’t set in after a few years.
IMG_20160604_133414-ANIMATION
Here, have a Mako gif.
IMG_20160604_133424-ANIMATION
And have another. For some reason they’ve been split (and this one is hella dark).

Now, enough with all the sunshine and rainbows, let’s turn a critical eye to Orlando’s newest mega-coaster.

  • Mako’s queue is going to absolutely bake people. I’m sure you’ve heard as much already, but Mako’s queue is primarily uncovered and directly in the sun with maybe six fans in total to move some air around. The only area of the queue that is shaded sits under the station (and on the stairs up to it) but comes with the added fun of more or less being an oven with no air movement and lots of guests tightly packed together. Unless something changes quickly, waiting in this queue is going to be absolutely dreadful over the summer.
  • Operations (currently at least) are fairly slow. I know this is just soft opening and the crew is getting trained but I felt I should at least mention it. Throughout my time in the area, I don’t think I ever saw Mako without all three trains stacked in the station/brake run between dispatches. Here’s to hoping this is just for the preview period.
  • Too much trim after the turnaround. On each of my rides, the trim was on so strongly that everyone in the train lurched forward from the quick loss of momentum.
  • The second half of the ride is, well, just a boring, uninspiring slog. The trim brake doesn’t help much with this, but everything from the midcourse brakes onward is quite forcelss and slow; basically the exact opposite of the first half of the ride. The drastic change in pacing isn’t enough to make Mako a bad ride, but it does tarnish my overall opinion of the ride because it just feels like someone played Rollercoaster Tycoon and didn’t know how to make their coaster complete a circuit so they gave up in the middle of construction.

Overall, I really did enjoy my experience with Mako. It is a good, but not great, coaster with some great theming and audio effects.  It really is a much needed addition to Sea World Orlando’s line-up and I’m sure it will pull in quite a few guests this season. I’d definitely say Mako is a worthwhile addition; despite my few issues with the ride and queue, I would go back and ride it for hours if I get the chance.

 

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