SeaWorld Ride Mixes Water with Speed


ORLANDO -- If your clients are taking a trip to SeaWorld Adventure Park's new Journey to Atlantis here, there is one certainty.

gogglesThey'll get wet.

Some riders prepare for this by donning raincoats, but clients should also be ready for roller coaster-like twists and turns. The attraction also features two steep, scream-inducing drops.

Journey is perhaps best described as a combination high-speed water ride and careening roller coaster.

The ride begins placidly enough when participants board an eight-passenger boat. Though rickety-looking, the boats are sturdy enough for the voyage. They each weigh 1.2 tons or the equivalent of a small automobile.

Participants ignore a Greek fisherman's warnings not to enter the lost city of Atlantis, which includes a 10-story tower crowned by a blue dome, riders see rocky cliffs and mist-shrouded Greek temples modeled after a Greek palace, Knossos.

Then they enter troubled waters ruled by Allura, an evil spirit.

In the ensuing battle, hundreds of special effects bombard riders as the boat dives, careens and dashes through the lost city, with Allura firing water cannons at the boat.

The boat pauses briefly at the precipice of the first 60-foot fall. This is where observers standing outside the attraction see the riders and hear some of them scream as they fall from a near-vertical waterfall to splash into the sea below.

There is more water under this bridge, as the narrator reminds riders. They travel through additional S-curves before encountering another drop through a massive wave of water. Altogether, riders experience 116,000 gallons of water during the journey, and they do get wet. The experience is a cooling contrast to the sticky summertime here, when temperatures tend to be in the 90s.

The experience ends on a less-adventuresome note as disembarking guests enter a gallery surrounded by eight aquariums containing hundreds of sharks, stingrays and tropical fishes.

The ride, which can handle 1,800 visitors per hour, is said to be SeaWorld's largest and most expensive attraction.

Since SeaWorld was acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 1989, the Florida park has added more than 24 shows and attractions.

The Anheuser-Busch parks include Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Fla., and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va.; SeaWorld Adventure parks in Orlando, San Diego, San Antonio and Cleveland; Adventure Island in Tampa; Water Country in Williamsburg, Va., and Sesame Place near Philadelphia.

Phone: (800) 4-ADVENTURE

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI