Beware, Orlando Roller Coasters, Here Comes SeaWorld’s Mako

Beware, Orlando Roller Coasters, Here Comes Mako

Few creatures of the sea possess the combination of speed, power and agility displayed by the mako shark. The fastest species of sharks, makos roam warm waters around the world. Not only can they slice through their undersea habitat at up to almost 50 mph and change direction in an instant, but shockingly, they also can jump 30 feet in the air.

Sooner or later, someone was bound to name a roller coaster after them.

And what better homage than the longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster in a city practically ruled by long, tall and fast coasters.

SeaWorld® Orlando will be the place, beginning in summer 2016, to take a thrill ride unlike any other in America’s theme park capital.

The hyper coaster Mako™ incorporates all of the astounding traits of a shark in relentless pursuit of prey. Secured to their train seats by lap bars, 28 riders will experience the feeling of weightlessness nine separate times along a 4,760-foot track of streamlined, full-speed turns. And those turns begin after an almost-vertical, 200-foot drop at 73 mph. There may be no more harrowing 3 minutes in all of Orlando.

Roller coaster riders who dislike inversions need not worry about that experience on hyper coasters built by Bolliger & Mabillard like Mako. No portion of track twists upside-down. (This Sea World roller coaster is a shark simulation, and sharks don’t do the backstroke.) The thrill of this ride comes from its sheer speed and intensity, from the feelings of weightlessness it generates, and from its state-of-the-art special effects.

Shark Realm, a New Section at SeaWorldShark Realm, a New Section at SeaWorld

Actually, the roller coast is designed to startle non-riders as well as riders. Mako is part of an entire new, 2-acre section of SeaWorld called Shark Realm. Visitors enter an area themed as an underwater reef environment where sharks swarm about. Shark Realm will comprise existing SeaWorld favorites such as Shark Encounter and the Zagat-rated Sharks Underwater Grill® plus new shark-themed shops, attractions and educational points. A specialized sound system pumps Mako musical scoring throughout Shark Realm, but the sound changes—and other surprising effects kick in—when the coaster train speeds by to create the frightening illusion of an onrushing predator shark.

Not surprisingly, only a small portion of the coaster’s nearly 1-mile track crosses Shark Realm. The track follows International Drive all the way to Aquatica, SeaWorld’s adjacent water park, Mako’s turn-around point. The ride will enjoy a prominent profile along I-Drive, especially at night thanks to additional imaginative effects. Lights are programmed to create the illusion of fish scattering from the approaching shark’s path.

But while the ride capitalizes for thrills on the reputation of sharks as vaunted predators, down in Shark Realm visitors learn that in reality sharks are vulnerable prey. The International Union for Conservation of Nature ranks the makos species just one level above endangered as fin harvesting by humans thins the population. Educational displays also impress on visitors the value sharks bring to the overall ecosystem.

As for the value that Mako adds for visitors as the newest SeaWorld roller coaster, a companion for Kraken® and Manta®, consider these facts:

  • It will be 6 mph faster at top speed than the Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando’s fastest as of 2015.
  • It will be about a football field longer than Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando’s longest.
  • It will be more than 30 feet higher at apex than Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida, Orlando’s tallest.

Kraken®Yet, full disclosure: Mako’s reign as Orlando’s tallest will be one year. In fact, won’t be the tallest on I-Drive. Just to the north of SeaWorld, at the Skyplex arcade complex, the 500-foot-high Skyscraper will debut in 2017 as the tallest coaster in the world.

Fast, agile and powerful, Mako is unrivaled at SeaWorld.

Just like in the undersea world.

Photo Credit: aj-clicks, princesskoko and Lauren Mitchell cc