Manta at Seaworld, Orlando

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Florida Guide > Sea World

Manta at Seaworld, Orlando

I was lucky enough to be one of the first people on this ride. The day we visited Seaworld Manta, their newest ride, was only open for park employees and their families. It was due to open to the general public about a week later. As we went round the park we could see the ride, and hear the riders, and it all sounded like great fun. Being a bit of a wimp in the roller coaster department, I was secretly quite happy that it wasn’t open to us that day. But, hang on, at the start of this article I said that I was ‘lucky’ to get onto it… As we were leaving the park at the end of another great day, we noticed that the sign at the entrance to the ride said it was now open to all riders. My husband didn’t have to think too hard about it, and I decided to be brave (after all we were on our way home, and if I felt too awful at least it wouldn’t spoil the rest of my Seaworld day) and make this most of this opportunity to ride something that wasn’t officially open yet, so we joined the line.

Because the ride hadn’t opened fully, the line did not take us through the aquarium area, so there wasn’t really much to look at as we made our way to the loading area. We had a wait of about 5 minutes and then it was our turn. The seats hang below a manta ray shaped ‘canopy’ in rows – four people to a row. When you are seated the shoulder harness comes down and clamps come across and hold your dangling ankles firmly in place. Then, as the ride gets ready to begin, your feet and ankles are raised backwards so that you end up hanging parallel to, and looking at, the ground. It is a strange sensation at first, but perfectly secure. Then, with a creaking, clanking sound the ride began. . .

It was absolutely exhilarating as we ‘flew’ up and round, and over and down, and looped the loop – swooping over the park, and close to the ground and the people standing below with cameras at the ready. The view was always tremendous and, because of the ‘flying’ head first position, everyone has a completely clear line of sight. Sometimes you are looking at the ground, then it’s the trees, then the rail, then water, then the sky. It is utterly breathtaking.

As we slowed down and came back into the loading bay, I realised that Manta was one of the best experiences ever. No more roller-coaster wimp for me. I can’t wait to go back and have another go! !

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