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Manta

SeaWorld Orlando Flying Coaster Ride Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

By

Manta

Manta skims above the water and creates a cascade.

© Arthur Levine, 2010. Licensed to About.com.
With its impressive layout, inspired themeing, and smooth ride, the sleek and elegant Manta may be the best roller coaster to feature the flying concept. The only downside? The mesmerizing ride seems too short.

Manta is one of the top roller coasters in Florida. See which other rides made the list.

Manta Up-Front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 7
    "Flying" position may be intimidating for some riders. Inversions.
  • Coaster type: Flying
  • Top speed: 56 mph
  • Height restriction to ride: 54 inches
  • Height of lift hill: 140 feet
  • First drop: 113 feet
  • Ride time: 2 minutes, 35 seconds
  • Part of SeaWorld's Quick Queue program, guests can pay an additional fee to skip to the front of the line.
  • Be sure to remove everything from your pockets before riding. Since passengers face the ground for most of the ride, it's easy to lose items.
  • Learn how to manage the lines for Manta and other popular attractions. How to reduce wait times at SeaWorld Orlando.
  • Manta and SeaWorld Orlando Photo Gallery

Located near the front entrance of SeaWorld Orlando, Manta is a sight to behold. Reflecting its ocean theme, the track is painted in bold shades of blue. Every few minutes, a trainload of nearly prone riders, with a giant fiberglass manta ray perched on the lead car, swoops down and appears to skim the surface of a turquoise-colored pool, triggering a pleasing wake of water.

Manta Offers a Giddy, Wonderful Sensation of Flying

SeaWorld's Manta careens through a series of inversions.

© Arthur Levine, 2010. Licensed to About.com.
The boarding process for Manta is unlike loading onto a more traditional roller coaster. The first-generation flying coasters, like Batwing at Maryland's Six Flags America, have a convoluted loading process which includes multiple harnesses and motorized seatbacks. In those rides, passengers proceed up the lift hill backwards, and the track flips them at the top of the hill into a forward-facing flying position. Manta uses a simpler restraint system and flying concept. Riders load the train facing forwards. Once the ride ops check the restraints, a mechanism tilts the seats 45 degrees backwards, and riders leave the station facing the ground and moving forwards in flying mode.

Unlike the earlier flying coasters, which recline to an almost-prone position, passengers' knees are more bent on Manta. But, loading and unloading the ride takes much less time. Still, the loading process takes longer than conventional coasters. Fortunately, Manta's loading station accommodates two side-by-side trains to help keep the lines moving.

It feels odd to hang facing the ground while the train remains at a halt in the station. But after Manta climbs its lift hill and begins to navigate the track, it's a giddy, wonderful sensation. While it may not be exactly like flying or gliding through the water like an aerodynamic manta ray (not that I've experienced either), it is wild to dive down the first drop and careen through a series of inversions. Some of the elements, including a pretzel loop and a corkscrew, are disorienting as they momentarily send riders racing backwards and flipping over.

Diving Towards the Water

The second half of the ride is where Manta really shines. Staying relatively low to the ground, the train often skates just above the water. At one point, riders get sprayed with a gentle plume. Skirting past a waterfall, Manta enters a final corkscrew to scramble riders before they make one last dive towards the water. I found myself wanting more ride time whizzing past palm trees, waterfalls, and Manta's other lush landscaping and was disappointed when the train returned to the station.

The thrill ride continues SeaWorld's transformation into an "adventure" park (as its owners like to brand it). Back before the park adopted its trendy spelling (when there was a space between "Sea" and "World"), the most thrilling ride--really the only ride--was the Sky Tower. The gentle ride is still taking guests high above Shamu and his marine life pals, but since the late 1990s, SeaWorld has been adding coasters and other thrills to go along with the animal exhibits and shows.

Viewing tanks beneath the ride offer underwater glimpses of a variety of rays and other marine life.

© Arthur Levine, 2010. Licensed to About.com.
Unlike the park's other two coasters, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis, which are located on the edges of SeaWorld's property, Manta is plopped right in the middle of the action, and the riders' screams reverberate throughout the park. It's a bit jarring to hear the roar of the steel coaster and the shrieks of the passengers in the once-hushed park. I wonder what SeaWorld's dolphins and other animals make of the ruckus.

For all of its thrills, Manta also incorporates SeaWorld's marine life theme. Even coaster wimps who have no intention to ride will want to check out the exhibit under the coaster. Viewing tanks, enhanced by waterfalls and other elements, offer underwater glimpses of a variety of rays as well as sea dragons, sea horses, and other species of fish. It's a great place to chill out--so you can get back in line for another soaring ride aboard Manta.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
HORRIBLE...Save your money!, Member Renee0309

Roller coaster, Manta is amazing, BUT DO NOT PAY FOR THE SEA LION TOUR. I would give it no stars, but that was not an option. Save your money because you will not be up-close with a sea lion like the title and the picture suggest. First, you go to Pacific Point Preserve and they tell you the difference between a sea lion and a seal; which can be read on the signs around the exhibit. Next, you go to where the “Clyde & Seamore” show takes place. You are asked to sit in the first two rows and then are quickly taken up to the tank, a group at the time to have your picture quickly taken. You are not allow to look at the sea lion (you keep your back towards him) and have to take a large step forward before you can walk back to your seats. Then you head back to Pacific Point Preserve where you are given a bucket of fish to feed them with everyone else. Just save your money and get to the show early to sit in the first two rows and spend $20 and get five trays of fish to feed the seals/sea lions at Pacific Point Preserve.

3 out of 16 people found this helpful.

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