On heels of Electric Eel, SeaWorld planning one more coaster
Just two months after opening Electric Eel, SeaWorld is already at work on another coaster it hopes to debut next year.
While the San Diego park has made no formal announcements about the upcoming attraction, some details emerged in a report prepared by the California Coastal Commission, which will review the planned project next month.
The commission notes that the unnamed coaster will be small in scale — 22 feet high and occupying 1.2 acres. It is being planned for the northwest portion of the park, inland of the Cirque Stadium, requiring demolition of a restroom facility.
SeaWorld San Diego spokesman David Koontz said Thursday that the coaster is still in the planning stage and would only reveal that the 2019 attraction will be a “horizontal coaster experience” that will traverse a figure-eight track.
Taking a page from the park’s newest coaster, a portion of the ride will include a feature where riders are inverted. The attraction will be in the northwest corner of the park near the Bayside Amphitheater and Aquaria touch pool and aquarium, Koontz said.
“We will unveil the attraction’s name as well as specific details about theming and animal and conservation components in the near future,” he said in an email.
The commission report does note that the attraction will be in keeping with the aquatic and educational mission of SeaWorld by incorporating elements of its “Rising Tide” conservation program, which promotes sustainable aquaculture and protection of coral reefs.
It’s unlikely that the new coaster will be capable of packing the same level of thrills as Electric Eel, which at 150 feet tall and a speed of up to 60.2 mph, offers multiple twists and turns and an upside down view of Mission Bay at the ride’s peak height.
While the latest coaster was not specifically identified in SeaWorld’s master plan, Coastal Commission staff says it does not have objections to the project.
At one point in the report it notes that given the attraction’s small size, it “will likely mainly attract existing patrons of the theme park” and therefore will not significantly increase current attendance, traffic volumes or parking demands.
SeaWorld San Diego has been struggling with attendance declines in recent years, and the current leadership of parent company SeaWorld Entertainment has been putting more of an emphasis on introducing new attractions on a more frequent schedule.
In a May interview, John Reilly, SeaWorld Entertainment’s interim CEO, said he recognized the need to focus more on attractions.
“We’ve studied our competitors a great deal, and we found that they’ve been able to open a lot more attractions across their portfolio with more frequency than we have the last few years,” he said at the time.