RIDING HIGH: Coast to coast coasters coming in 2022
Thrill-seekers will be riding high this year with the debut of no less than four major new attractions in the US, spanning the country from coast to coast. Busch Gardens will unveil Iron Gwazi in Tampa, while SeaWorld breaks the ice with a new ride in Orlando and California’s fastest, tallest, and longest dive coaster in San Diego. There’s also something for swingers in San Antonio. Here’s a look:
Ice Breaker promises to be SeaWorld Orlando’s coolest coaster yet. Set to officially open on Feb. 18, the ride will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 28-m.-tall spike with 100-degree angle. The coaster debuts after a two-year delay due to the pandemic and joins Manta, Kraken, and Mako, at the Orlando theme park.
Another coaster delayed by the pandemic, Iron Gwazi will launch at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in March as North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. It will be the Florida theme park’s 10th roller coaster, promising the unique thrill of plunging riders from a 63-m.-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaching top speeds of 122 kph. The journey will include a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as it races along more than 1,240 m. feet of purple steel track and giving riders a stunning view of African animals on the park’s Serengeti Plain. Other notable coasters at the theme park include Tigris, SheiKra, and Montu, recognized as one of the top 10 coasters in the United States.
The tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California, as well as the only floorless dive coaster in the state, will debut in March, at SeaWorld San Diego. Named after the world’s largest penguin, the new coaster will mimic the species’ amazing underwater diving ability. Climbing to 46 m. with feet dangling in the air, riders will be suspended on a 45-degree angle at the crown of the ride before plunging down a 43 m. facedown vertical drop, accelerating to more than 97 kph. Riders will also experience inversions, barrel roll, Immelmann loop, hammerhead turn and flat spin as they race along the nearly 762 m. of track. Each of the floorless ride cars will hold 18 riders in three, six-person rows – the first seating configuration of its kind in North America.
At SeaWorld San Antonio Tidal Surge will be the world’s tallest and fastest swing ride, taking riders on a journey “above the clouds to feel the sensation of flying high above the park.” Accommodating 40 riders, the ride will feature two pendulum-like arms that will soar progressively higher to a staggering height of 41 m. at its peak. The dueling arms will alternate sides and sway back-and-forth at 110 kph, creating multiple airtime moments that levitate guests out of their seats with each heart-stopping swing. Riders’ legs will dangle and hang as they soar over the waterski lake and take in the beautiful views of the park, while reaching multiple negative G moments before plunging back towards the earth.
SeaWorld San Antonio’s thrill ride portfolio currently includes four thrill coasters, and one for families, plus a high swing.
Jurassic World Velocicaster
Not to be forgotten, the newly opened (last summer), but perhaps missed by many during the pandemic maelstrom, Jurassic World Velocicaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando currently holds the title of Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, and the world’s first coaster based on the Jurassic World blockbuster franchise. The new species of roller coaster raises the bar in extreme roller coaster design and is the ultimate experience for coaster enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, with a series of intense manoeuvres that will send guests catapulting up to 113 kph and more than 45 m. in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.
First published at Travel Industry Today