SeaWorld Orlando reveals new details about Mako shark-themed coaster to open in summer 2016
SeaWorld Orlando revealed this week that its #nothingfaster campaign is indeed leading up to a shark-themed roller coaster that will open in summer 2016. Mako, named after one of the world’s fastest sharks, will hit all the superlatives at 200 feet high, 73 miles per hour, 4,760 feet (almost a mile) in length, a ride time of 3 minutes, 13 seconds -- and it’s Orlando’s first hypercoaster.
A hypercoaster is known for multiple, tall inclines and high speeds, which combine to create the weightless feeling of “air time” when a rider lifts off the seat. SeaWorld is calling the Mako experience one that offers “relentless airtime” and is “highly repeatable,” according to Brian Morrow, creative director of SeaWorld attractions.
See for yourself with a virtual ride on the coaster in the video below.
Like all well-designed theme park attractions, Mako has a back story that its creators crafted: “A bunch of sunken ships have sort of fallen apart over time, landed right here, and the sea has taken them back,” Morrow said at a media event. “Corals have grown on the ship. From that come the prey fish that live in the coral reef, and that brings the sharks. Mako is going to crash through the shipwreck and scatter all the prey fish, and the guests will be part of that experience as they are standing in the plaza. The sound and lighting will sound like the fish are scattering as the predator comes into the realm, and as it circles the guests, the music will follow.”
Mako will be integrated into the shark realm of the theme park, which already includes the Shark Encounter attraction, with its underwater viewing tunnel and surface feeding of the animals, and Sharks Underwater Grill, a signature restaurant with underwater views of the shark tanks. The attraction will add an educational component about sharks, and it will show guests what they can do to help sharks in the wild.
SeaWorld isn’t revealing much about the coaster’s station, but the queue will make “riders feel as though they are floating under a pier, winding through shipwrecks and shadows,” a press release states.
So, how will Mako compare to SeaWorld Orlando’s other big coasters, Manta and Kraken?
“Mako complements the other two attractions, said Mike Denninger, senior director of rides and engineering at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Kraken is more about speed and loops and twists, and Manta is that soaring thrill as you’re soaring along like a manta ray. Mako is going to be about speed and weightlessness and these dynamic dives that you’re going to get like you were a Mako shark in the ocean.”
“I think this type of attraction has a more broad appeal than other coaster attractions,” Denninger said. “Mako is all about air time. It is, in essence, the pure roller coaster experience. It’s vertical curves and straight curves where you really feel that weightlessness as you’re soaring over the curves. And then you have that strong G-force that feels like you’re being pulled into your seat at the bottom of the curves. There are no inversions on a hypercoaster.”
As with Manta and Kraken, riders on Mako must meet a 54-inch height requirement.
You can see more of my interview with Denninger, which took place 200 feet in the air – approximately where the first incline of Mako will crest – in the video below.
“What we’re known for is the tying of education, animal habitats and rides together,” said Morrow. “[Visitors] can go underwater with sharks, feed sharks and then go on this attraction like you are the shark. And it only happens here.”
NOTE: Special thanks to Amanda Tinney of DisneyEveryDay.com for shooting the photos and video of me in the construction crane basket.