SeaWorld 2017 Announcement Rundown- New Coaster, Virtual Reality, and More!

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SeaWorld Entertainment Company has finally unveiled their plans for 2017 at their three main parks- SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio, and San Diego.

SeaWorld San Antonio is about to add their 5th roller coaster, debuting in 2017! The ride, called Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster, is a family coaster themed to, of course, rescuing animals. The ride will be a perfect fit among their current line up of coasters, as the only other coaster in their collection geared towards the young ones is a kiddie coaster called Shamu Express. This will be a nice intermediate ride for those not yet quite able to conquer the larger rides.

© SeaWorld San Antonio

The ride is expected to cost 18 million dollars, and will have a maximum height of 61 feet with a track length of 2,600 feet. Together that encompasses two launches, airtime hills, and banked turns. But the most unique part of this coaster- riders are seated on Jet Ski's. This seating arrangement can only be found on a few select roller coasters, so Wave Breaker will stand as the only one of its kind in North America.

The ride is to be built by Intamin of Switzerland- a company known for rides such as Millennium Force, Intimidator 305, or Superman: The Ride. This coaster also marks the first Intamin coaster built in the country since Skyrush, in 2012.

As for the rides location, sticking with the Jet Ski theme, its no surprise that SeaWorld plans on building the coaster out over the existing lake. You can view the announcement video for the coaster below:

When I took my first ever visit to this San Antonio theme park, I was surprised at how much land they had that wasn't being used. Parts of the park just felt 'empty.' This coaster for sure will help fill that gap.

Moving on to SeaWorld Orlando, they plan on upgrading their dolphin nursery to accommodate underwater viewing. In addition to a new nighttime show called 'electric ocean,' and a new festival called 'Seven Seas Festival,' the park plans on bringing virtual reality to their Kraken roller coaster.

© Wiki

Virtual Reality on roller coasters is still a fairly new technology- we saw it come to multiple coasters across the Six Flags chain this past year, and was met with mixed reactions. Having experienced multiple VR coasters myself, I found it to be a cool experience for sure, but it certainly has its disadvantages. For one, wait times are significantly lengthened, as time goes into making sure the headset works perfectly for each rider on the train. And since Kraken is one of the most popular attractions in the park, I'd advise going to Kraken first thing when the park opens in the morning, as it'll likely get a longer line as the day goes on.

The VR experience itself is expected to be themed to take riders in a submarine of some sorts as they dive deeper underwater, encountering sea life of all kinds, which of course includes the Kraken himself.

SeaWorld says it'll be like nothing you've ever seen, so it'll be interesting to see how well the story is told and how guests react to it. Those who haven't been to a park outside of Florida in the past year likely haven't ever experience virtual reality on a coaster, so it's good that VR is reaching new regions.

© SeaWorld Orlando

As for SeaWorld San Diego, a new dark ride will be opening for 2017, along with 4 family rides. These attractions will be a part of an all new realm, and if its anything like what the current park looks like, its sure to be visually stunning with lots of detail.

The new land is set to be called "Ocean Explorer," with the main attraction being Submarine Quest. Not only is this ride said to be interactive, but also educational! And of course, most! The other three rides will be themed to ocean life, and will be geared towards the younger ones. This in combination with multiple habitats for a variety of sea creatures is sure to be a great addition for this wonderful park.

© SeaWorld San Diego

While all three of these improvements are different, they're all specifically beneficial to these parks, which is something I love. I've been privileged to travel to two out of the three SeaWorld parks, with the exception of SeaWorld Orlando. I know just based off of the concept art that the planned expansions will be great new additions.

You can check out some footage posted earlier this year of what the current parks are like. Just imagine what they'll be like next year!

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