Authors: Ryan S. & Dan L.

Some of us have had dreams and aspirations of flying during our childhood years. One may think it silly to continue those dreams, but now SeaWorld Orlando has invited us to rekindle that lost fantasy in a whole new way.

The all new attraction at SeaWorld Orlando, Manta, is not just a name synonymous with the whole SeaWorld aura. It’s a real life adaptation of immersing park guests into the underwater world of marine biota, with the signature foci: taking a flight with the largest ray – the Manta Ray.

The mastermind behind this creation is Brian Morrow, though if you ask him, he doesn’t take all the credit for the entity. The vision of Manta is more than a simple roller coaster. It’s a creation that brings a story to reality. The subtle cues help us get in touch with nature, the thematics bring us there, and the wildlife makes us become a part in this journey.

The journey sets stage as guests venture into a land of unknown. A land and universe where along the way we see and interact with a variety of marine creatures. Seperate aquariums are staged in such a way that it feels as if it were all one sea, the only ocean as we know it to be. As we traverse through caverns of the sea, we immerge into the staging area where we are greeted by the Manta Ray. Once boarded we take flight on a mystic voyage, a relic only Worlds of Discovery has delivered before. The flight of our lives, our foolish childhood fantasy. We giggle profously in joy, maybe scream in terror, but we’re caught in a lifetime moment of bliss.

In fact, the Bolliger & Mabillard flying coaster is so good, it could stand on its own as a world class attraction. Everything else is just a bonus that sets the bar up another notch for other amusement venues.

The attrition to detail in Manta takes more than a glance, even more than a second look. It was thought that the beauty of Manta should be experienced by even those who do not wish to take a ride on the flying ray. As such, there is a second entrance for an “Aquarium Only” walk-through of the attraction.

For guests looking to take in the Manta, there’s no shortage of views: from watching guest faces at the bottom of the Pretzel Loop, to watching Manta graze the water at the Wing Dip element, to seeing the signature lift hill among the highlight to the Eastern Orlando skyline.

Although the fresh InBev merger still lingers around the park with rumors and accusations of a sale immanent, Manta has brought a change to the atmosphere, albeit for a little. It’s proof positive that Manta looks toward the bright side of evolution. That Worlds of Discovery is still on the edge of driving the amusement industry into original, creative concepts. Not regurgitated Hollywood branding.

Manta is a theory and creation that targets a wide demographic and markets itself as not something you watch or do, but something you experience and make a part of you.

In the gloom of a slumped economy, Manta and Worlds of Discovery’s advertising stand for more than a new addition to a line-up of thrills. They stand as a poster child for the entire leisure industry; that, “Hey, we are still here and we are proud and confident in the ability of progression.”

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Manta opens on May 22nd. For more information visit seaworld.com or ridetheflyingray.com.

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