SeaWorld San Diego’s 2020 Dive Coaster project received unanimous consent from the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday, making it SeaWorld’s tallest project approved by the Coastal Commission, and second-tallest structure at the park behind the 320-ft. SkyTower.
SeaWorld first unveiled plans for their “Mako” roller coaster in early January at several community planning groups. This announcement, in addition to the leaked slides from last year, showed that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment was planning on adding a major coaster to each park in 2020.
The “Mako” ride experience starts off when the train turns out of the station and ascends up a 153-foot lift hill. Riders get a great view of Mission Bay as the the train circles around, but as they approach the vertical drop, the train stops, leaving them dangling and facing the ground. After a few seconds, the train is released and plunges 143 feet into an immelman loop. The train then goes through a hammerhead turnaround, and riders experience total weightlessness as they speed through a zero-g roll. The train turns around again and goes into a corkscrew, the coaster’s third and final inversion. Riders get jolted side-to-side as they go through a highly banked turn and hit the brake run. All-in-all, the experience lasts about two minutes and traverses 2,500 feet of track.
Before going to the Coastal Commission, the project then had to be reviewed by many local boards, including the Mission Bay Park Committee, Park and Recreation Board, and City Council. It received unanimous support. The project was finally brought before the Coastal Commission, and subsequently approved. Construction will begin very soon, and is expected to finish around May 2020. So far, fencing has gone up around the area in preparation for groundbreaking.
As part of the conditions for approval, SeaWorld has agreed not to place any lighting or special effects above 60 feet so that the coaster is practically invisible at night. In addition, Hubbs-SeaWorld researchers will monitor the animals at Wild Arctic to ensure that they won’t be adversely affected by the construction noise.
Although SeaWorld used the name “Mako” for the project, sources have suggested that they are looking to change the coaster’s name. After all, the coaster would be quite far from the actual Shark Encounter, and the coaster couldn’t be advertised as the fastest in San Diego like the Mako in Orlando was. Its top speed will be 62 mph, which is the same as Electric Eel.
We probably won’t know what they will officially name the coaster until the full project is announced later this summer. What do you think that they should name the 2020 coaster?