SeaWorld Orlando has unveiled its next thrill ride, Mako, which the theme park said will be Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest coaster when it opens in 2016.
SeaWorld's Brian Morrow revealed Wednesday that Mako will be 4,760 feet long — over 9/10 of a mile — and feature a 200-foot drop at a top speed of 73 mph.
Here's the official release from SeaWorld Orlando:
- Opening summer 2016, Mako will be the tallest, fastest and longest coaster in Orlando.
- Mako will be a hypercoaster, designed for speed and relentless "air time."
- SeaWorld Orlando will now have a portfolio of 5 thrill rides: 3 distinctly different coasters, plus 2 family coasters.
- The 2-acre realm of the park will now be fully themed around sharks: including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, themed gift shops, shark and shipwreck theming and educational experiences.
Surfacing summer 2016 at SeaWorld Orlando will be Mako, a 200-foot-tall hypercoaster that will reach 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track — nearly a mile long — and leave riders feeling both breathless and weightless. Named for one of the ocean's fastest known sharks, Mako will be Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.
"On Mako, you'll experience what it's like to be this apex predator, surging through the water at top speed and chasing prey throughout a massive reef," said Brian Morrow, SeaWorld's attraction creative director. "It will be a wild mix of fear, thrills and fun."
Mako's tight turns and speed are inspired by reality. Mako sharks — also called "blue pointers" — are known for their top speed, making extreme jumps and the ability to quickly change course as they pursue their prey.
The new coaster will become one of the world's true hypercoasters, a group of roller coasters known for high speeds and steep drops and hills that create a feeling of weightlessness or "air time." As the sleek coaster cars crest each hill, riders float, nearly weightless.
Mako is manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard, a company renowned among coaster enthusiasts. B&M has built many of the world's top roller coasters, including SeaWorld's Manta and Kraken, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's SheiKra.
SeaWorld's new hypercoaster will be the centerpiece of the newly themed surrounding realm. The two-acre plaza now will be fully shark themed including Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, shops, shark and shipwreck theming and educational experiences featuring sharks.
The entire realm is created to make guests feel they're underwater, part of the group of sharks and toothy animals that have taken over a shipwrecked reef.
In the plaza, guests will learn about the impact humans are having on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment. Sharks are hunted for their fins — considered a delicacy in certain countries — and thousands are caught accidentally in nets. Several species of sharks are on the verge of extinction.
"It's this blend of education and thrills, immersing guests in an underwater world, that sets a SeaWorld ride apart from others," said Morrow.
"Our fans will love how Mako complements our other rides. Kraken is big, monstrous and twisty. Manta is massive and glides smoothly, taking you on a flight like a huge ray. Mako is entirely different. It's streamlined and fast, just like a mako shark. There's no wasted motion, it's all speed and dives."
Mako uses a unique sound system to enhance the experience, and not just for those on the ride. The full score of Mako can be heard and follows riders out of the station and up the lift hill. Custom surround effects and musical scores fill the realm, changing as the coaster dives through the area.
At night, specialty lights will accent the coaster trains, realm and track, flickering and shimmering, simulating fish being scattered by a mako on the hunt.
Follow the Mako frenzy using the hashtag #NothingFaster. Visit SeaWorldOrlando.com for more information and updates on the new ride.
The Orlando Business Journal correctly deduced the name of the ride after finding two patents SeaWorld recently filed for the names "Mako" and "Reef Hunter."
Currently the tallest coaster in Orlando is Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando, standing 167 feet tall.
Orlando's fastest current coaster is the Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure, which reaches a top speed of 67 mph.
As for the longest coaster in Orlando, that honor currently goes to Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which spans 4,427 feet over about a 4-minute ride.
While Mako may become the tallest at any of Orlando's theme parks when it opens, its 200-foot peak will eventually be eclipsed by the 500-foot SkyScraper planned on International Drive in 2017.