It doesn’t swim and it won’t float, but the Electric Eel now at SeaWorld amusement park in San Diego, Calif., definitely soars. Bringing loops, twists, and multiple launch experiences, guests will find themselves on a roller coaster that hurtles riders forward and backward through the ride’s station house, at an intense and exhilarating acceleration of over 60 m.p.h. in just seconds.
The new ride reaches 150 feet, then falls into a heart-line roll and twisting loop, allowing riders to see an upside-down view of Mission Bay.
The just-opened ride serves as at least a titular companion to the live eel habitat at the park, featuring moray eels in a natural-looking deep-ocean setting. It’s the third roller coaster in the park, joining Journey to Atlantis, and Manta, each with their own ocean-centric theme; Electric Eel is by far the fastest, and should be a big draw for roller coaster fans.
According to communications director David Koontz and SeaWorld San Diego park president Marilyn Hannes, riders on Electric Eel will “feel what it’s like to move like an eel as they twist and flip along nearly 900 feet of undulating track.”
Built by Maryland-based Premier Rides, the Electric Eel offers a single 18-seat train, and is a ride that’s smooth, intensely vertical, and fairly short, at 55 seconds of thrill. The coaster's triple-launch experience is a plus not just for riders but those waiting to board, who get to watch both the forward and backward acceleration. The vertical twist looks spectacular.
Premier Rides isn’t new to the vertical coaster world, and has installed the similarly designed Sky Rocket II vertical coaster at other amusement parks in Germany, Mexico, China, Virginia, Connecticut and Northern California.
The attraction area around the Electric Eel coaster also includes an interactive experience, Mission: Deep Discovery, which allows a team of 1- 4 players to go on a virtual deep sea adventure.
Hannes asserts “We want our guests from around the world to not only have a great time, but be inspired to care about the ocean and the animals that live there.”
The 190-acre park’s overall attendance is up – 15% in the first quarter; and it’s a relative bargain in major amusement park terms. An annual pass usually costs $119.88 and includes free parking and no blackout dates. Currently the year pass is available for $89.99 online; a single day admission, with all-you-can-eat food included, is available at the same price. Standard single day tickets are currently $69.99, and two day tickets are $79.99.
Adding more buzz this summer at the park is the Electric Ocean festival, with live performances, dance music, a laser light show, themed ocean characters, and the Cirque Electrique, with aerial performers clad in glowing LED suits traversing a backdrop of Mission Bay. The event returns from last year with flyboardchampion Jake Orel, and an additional performer, USBA world freestyle Jet Ski champion Mark Gomez. Park guests can enjoy the bioluminescent lighting, music and entertainment starting June 16th through September 3rd. Koontz notes that the event received a Brass Ring Award for Most Creative Property-wide Event from IAAPA.
Appealing to the younger set, the Sesame Street Bay of Play attraction is offering a summer expansion, too, with a new Sesame Street party parade that includes themed floats, music, and musical performances along the parade route. The parade runs weekends from May 5th through July 1st.
There’s also a new ride in the Sesame Street Bay of Play, Submarine Quest, which merges a slow-paced vehicle ride geared toward 4 to 8 year olds with animated video screens and a video console.
In the fall, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is back, hosting 12 trick or treat stations and a DJ-ledcostume party. The event also includes Halloween-themed sea lion and otter show Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash, and a Sesame Street Halloween Parade on weekends Sept. 22–Oct. 28.
Then, heading into the end of the year, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration returns with attractions such as Santa’s Christmas Village and Rudolph’s Christmastown, with a new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie experience. The park will also feature a bevy of holiday-themed animal shows from Nov. 17ththrough Jan. 5, 2019.
The park’s regular attractions include it’s two other coasters: the wet water ride of Journey to Atlantis, which simulates an experience on fishing boats and includes a 60-foot plunge; and Manta, a double-launch coaster with a twisting 54-foot drop designed to simulate a dive by a giant manta ray. Along with the Manta ride itself, there’s a 100,000 gallon marine life viewing area that allows a look at bat rays for park guests to also feed and touch. More family-oriented rides include Tentacle Twirl, the Sea Dragon Drop, and Octarock. Shipwreck Rapids is also popular; it is another water ride replete with waterfalls. Two comparatively tame but iconic rides are also still drawing guests: the Bayside Skyride and Skytower. Skytower lifts passengers high to a viewing platform with a view of Mission Bay, while the Skyride allows riders to comfortably glide above the water.
And of course, park visitors can still visit with living sea life such as Pacific octopuses and spider crabs, and take in animal shows. The park’s sea otter encounter, shark encounter, and its penguin encounter – the only emperor penguin colony in the western hemisphere – are all popular as well.
But right now, guests are lining up to fEEL the excitement of Electric Eel’s vertical twist and drop, putting a real thrill into the ocean of attractions at SeaWorld.