San Diego Business Journal

SeaWorld Sets May Date for Manta Coaster Debut

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SeaWorld San Diego plans a May 26 opening for its previously announced Manta roller coaster ride, currently under construction at the Mission Bay theme park.

Park officials held a Jan. 17 news conference updating progress on the new attraction, and also unveiled one of the coaster’s cars.

Park spokesman David Koontz said in an email that 55 percent of the coaster’s track has been installed, with the track’s completion expected by the end of February.

Construction gets under way in late January on the attraction’s launch tunnel and show building, which will include larger-than-life images of rays projected on a 270-degree enveloping screen. Exterior and interior walls of a new bat ray aquarium have been completed.

Ride testing and landscaping of the attraction will begin in April, Koontz said. Between 50 and 125 construction workers are at the site at various times.

Manta will take riders over a course shaped like a giant manta ray, at speeds up to 43 mph and with a 54-foot drop. A similar version of Manta opened in 2009 at the Orlando location of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

— Lou Hirsh