& Aquatica California
San Diego, CA
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Park News - (3/8/19) Some great images showing off the new paint job they are giving Journey To Atlantis at SeaWorld San Diego can be seen in the tweet embedded below.
(3/3/19) SeaWorld San Diego will launch their own Seven Seas Craft Beer & Food Festival on the weekends from March 9 through April 28th. Guests can “embark on a global gastronomic cruise without leaving the park, including culinary delights representing the Caribbean, Europe, the Pacific Islands and Latin America and more, more than 125 craft beer selections and several wine varietals. Seven Seas, featuring 33 new food items and a new Flavors of India area”.
In other news the park has closed the Pets Rule show and will repurpose the Nautilus Amphitheater into a new concert performance friendly venue over the next couple months in time to reopen it in May for Viva La Musica concerts taking place on select dates from May 4 through May 19. From there the venue will also be used for other concerts and special events throughout 2019 such as the Illuminight show during the summer and more.
(2/21/19) SeaWorld San Diego’s SkyRide shut down in mid ride earlier this week after a freak wind storm blasted through the area, trapping 16 riders in mid-span from about 7pm to 11pm. From what I’ve heard the ride shut down when a safety sensor was tripped as a section of the ride’s cable had came out of the the groove on one of the sheaves (the wheel like things at the top of the towers that guide the cable), rolling inward and striking the sensor.
As the SkyRide was my old stomping ground when I worked at the park, I can tell you normally if the ride shut down for any kind of reason, if the safety sensors rechecked as being good you could still pull the cars slowly around the course via a backup gas-powered VW motor, but since the cable was blown off course in an unsafe area, the only means left was to call in the rescue teams who go out via boat to the ride’s two towers, climb about 90 feet up the ladder to the top and with climbing gear, they have to go out over the cables to each car, enter, and rig up a rescue system to lower each guest individually down to a waiting boat below. I’ve seen it done myself when I worked there, as we did test rehearsal drills with the fire department.
The ride also features a constant wind monitor that sends information to the operators in the station, and will sound an alarm if it gets over a certain speed, with different speeds set for each direction that if I recall, ranged anywhere from 14 to 28 mph. Unfortunately, the word I’ve been hearing is that a sudden gust sprung up out of nowhere with reported speeds up to 50 to 60 mph that rocked one of the cars as it was going over a tower and caused the cable to roll off and hit the sensor. By about 11:15 all 16 riders have been safely lowered back to the surface.
I’d expect the SkyRide to be closed for a bit to repair any cable issues, as well as undergo all new inspections and safety certifications, but everything appears to have worked exactly as designed, keeping everyone safe and sound. It sounds like the freak wind blast affected all areas of the city, as riders on a hot air balloon ride at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park also were caught off guard in mid flight and given a bit of a scare.
(2/12/19) Rehab work continues on Journey To Atlantis at SeaWorld San Diego this week, with the latest photos posted to Twitter showing that the ride’s towers and buildings are now all being repainted a sky blue color to blend in better with the skyline around the park.
(2/9/19) Now I’ve got something new to haunt my nightmares for the next several weeks. Crabs… the giant variety… specifically the Japanese Spider Crab. Just saying that out loud gives me the chills. SeaWorld San Diego caught one of their Japanese Spider Crabs in the act of molting… the process where it has outgrown its own exoskeleton and sheds it in order to grow a new larger exoskeleton. They repeat this process many times throughout their lifespan as the exoskeleton is incapable of “growing” with the crab as it ages.
According to SeaWorld the entire process they caught on time-lapse video took about six hours to complete. You can watch the horror show below, as it pops the lid on it’s old skin and begins to ooze its way out bit by bit, until blasting out free, legs and all in a new body significantly bigger than it’s former self. Ewwww….
(1/7/19) Big news came out from SeaWorld San Diego over the weekend as the park held some kind of presentation where they talked about their 2019 and 2020 plans. Scroll on down to see the new details released for each year.
(12/23/18) The rehab of Journey To Atlantis at SeaWorld San Diego is moving ahead full steam, with some new pictures discovered on Twitter posted below. As you can see the towers are now covered in scaffolding and the domed top of the main tower (with the elevator lift inside) appears to have been removed and covered up. This makes sense as the rumors suggested this section of the ride would be undergoing some of the biggest changes and maintenance upgrades. (Update - Look For JTA To reopen in Spring 2019).
(12/17/18) A new Journey To Atlantis construction update has been posted on Twiter showing off the towers of the ride are now covered in scaffolding and several sections of track are now missing. Check it out below.
(12/3/18) We told you awhile back that Journey To Atlantis was going under the knife for a prolonged and major rehab and now we’ve got pictures sent in by a reader. As you can see, several sections of the ride’s outdoor coaster style track have now been removed. Based on this we can only assume these more high speed / dynamic track areas will be replaced with brand new track pieces, or they are sending out the old track to be refurbished and returned.
(11/28/18) According to this local news report a new 24-year-old female Walrus by the name of Uquq (pronounced “uk-uk") has arrived in the Wild Arctic exhibit at SeaWorld San Diego. If the name sounds familiar, you may have visited Six Flags Discovery Kingdom which was previously home to Uquq before being transferred to the San Diego park where she will join the park’s three other walruses.
(11/12/18) I kind of forgot that this deal was still in the works myself, but apparently SeaWorld San Diego just officially backed out of a deal to build a hotel next to the park with a local hotel partner. Honestly, I’m not surprised... the park is too land locked to use the little property they have for this kind of thing, and the location was kind of crazy as it would have taken up the entire employee parking lot. The only interesting thing is that it looked like the hotel would have actually given a purpose for the parks Skyride attraction by putting hotel guests (and possibly an on-site restaurant) at the other end of the aerial gondola ride. The ride is always a round-trip affair these days, but back when it was built it used to connect guests to the Atlantis Restaurant building that could also be visited by guests outside the park.
(10/16/18) SeaWorld San Diego has updated their attraction refurbishment schedule with a couple of interesting additions. Look for Shipwreck Rapids to be closed in November from the 5th to 16th, but the really wild one is that Journey To Atlantis closed on Monday, October 15th and will remain closed all the way through to May 24, 2019. This begs the question, just what are they doing with JTA over the next 7+ months?
The early rumor is that the ride is in need of a dramatic overhaul and updating, especially the ride’s more unique elevator lift system that comes into play half-way through the ride. I’m also hearing rumors that certain aspects of the ride may undergo some extensive rethemeing here and there as well, especially in the previously mentioned indoor lift. Don’t expect to see this reflected in a name change to the ride or anything though, but more on this as we find out.
(10/10/18) SeaWorld has announced a whole new annual pass program, featuring four tiered passes: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each comes with added benefits over the previous tier, along with a slightly higher per-month cost. For example the Bronze tier only gives you 50% off the price of parking and unlimited admission with 5 Blockout Dates for just $7.99 a month, while upgrading to the Silver pass for just $2 more a month will give you free parking, no blockout dates, a couple of free one-day passes to use on your friends, and discounts on food and merchandise in the park. Gold adds even more benfits and if you go all the way up to the Platinum level you can also use the pass for admission to 11 different parks in the chain. Follow this link to read up on all the details for each tier.
2018 - Electric Eel - (5/16/18) Today we update our coverage of the opening of Electric Eel with the official review by Mark:
Combining state-of-the-art animal facilities and world class entertainment is what SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks do best. SeaWorld San Diego’s new rollercoaster attraction Electric Eel is a perfect example. This new coaster adds an absolute thrill to the Ocean Explorer section of SeaWorld. Rising high above the park, it offers an impressive and unique view of SeaWorld and the surrounding Mission Bay Park.
Electric Eel is the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in San Diego County offering just the right amount of thrills for the more adventurous park guests. It propels riders over 60 miles per hour between three forward and backward launches offering intense airtime, dramatic twists and turns and an unforgettable heartline roll 150 feet in the air. The upside-down views of Mission Bay are spectacular! It is worth riding it a few times to enjoy the experience from different vantage points.
The entrance to Electric Eel is situated next to the California Moray Eel exhibit of Ocean Explorer. Did you know that electric eels are not eels at all but instead belong to a family of Central and South American freshwater fish known as knifefish? SeaWorld does an amazing job bringing an educational element into all of their attractions. “We always strive to provide new reasons to visit SeaWorld and give our guests experiences that matter with a blend of exciting rides and incredible animal and educational experiences,” said Marilyn Hannes, president of SeaWorld San Diego. “We want our guests from around the world to not only have a great time, but be inspired to care about the ocean and the animals that live there.” It is my personal experience that while at SeaWorld, you will learn something new at every turn. THAT makes SeaWorld special.
SeaWorld has recently been pairing their attractions and events with local conservation or non-profit components. A great recent example of this was the Lunar New Year festival (Year of the Dog) that was paired with local animal shelters. Electric Eel has paired with WILDCOAST who works to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. “I am very excited about our new partnership,” said Hannes. “SeaWorld has been a global leader in animal rescue, conservation and research for more than 50 years, while WILDCOAST has been conserving coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife for nearly two decades. Together we can make a difference in helping even more people understand why we must protect our oceans.”
The Electric Eel area also features Mission: Deep Discovery, an interactive educational experience which allows a team of up to four players to embark on a virtual deep-sea adventure aboard a manned-vehicle where they encounter the marvels of the deep ocean. This has a similar feel to the park’s Race for the Beach at Turtle Reef.
Electric Eel will be a challenge during busy days. This attraction will average only around 600 people per hour. The park’s Quick Queue pass will not offer express access to Electric Eel but a one-time express line pass can be purchased at the kiosk located at the start of the queue. The line does not have much in the way of shade, so it’ll be an extremely warm wait in the summer.
Electric Eel brings a whole new level of thrill into the park and will be loved by adults and families with older children. It is an extremely fun attraction and well worth the visit to SeaWorld San Diego.
(5/12/18) Along with the opening of the new Electric Eel coaster at SeaWorld San Diego, our own San Diego guy, Mark, was on hand to head down to the park to give it a test run for Screamscape. In a park where over 90% of the structures are 30 feet tall or less, it is safe to say that the introduction of the park's first tall coaster, standing 150 feet tall, really does a lot to change the skyline there.
Electric Eel is another Premier Rides "Sky Rocket II" model coasters, like Tempesto that was introduced at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2015, that is ultra compact, but packs a bunch of thrills into a very tiny footprint and should do very well at a park the size of SeaWorld San Diego.
While Mark tries to unscramble his brain and put some words together about his opinion on the experience, I thought I'd share the on-ride video of all the action.
(4/17/18) SeaWorld San Diego has let us know that the grand opening of their new Electric Eel coaster has been pushed up a few days and will now open to the public on May 10, 2018.
(4/6/18) SeaWorld San Diego has confirmed that the new Electric Eel coaster will open for guests on May 12th. In the meantime, testing of the coaster is now ongoing which you can also see in the video below.
(3/12/18) Thanks to a local reader for sending in three new pictures of the Electric Eel construction site as of this weekend.
(2/22/18) Drop by CaliforniaCoasterKings to get the latest peek at the Electric Eel construction site this week, which includes a look at the station, the train on the tracks and more.
(1/21/18) A fun collection of four new pictures of Electric Eel were sent in by a reader this afternoon. As you can see in some images, there is still work taking place on the station and hardware within, but otherwise the coaster structure is complete.
(1/19/18) SeaWorld San Diego celebrated the completion of the Electric Eel track with an unveiling of the coaster train. Just like the sister ride in Williamsburg (Tempesto), Electric Eel will feature a combination lap bar and over the should restraint system that are bucked together.
(1/18/18) A small group of photos of the complete Electric Eel coaster track at SeaWorld San Diego were sent in to Screamscape this week. Enjoy!
(1/12/18) A reader sent in some brand spankin' new construction pictures of Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego tonight. They've gotten an impressive amount of work done in such a short period of time and appear to have installed all of the track.
(12/26/17) Special thanks to one of our readers who sent in three new construction pictures of the new Electric Eel coaster going up at SeaWorld San Diego this week. It was also noted that the new Submarine Quest that closed down suddenly in late summer is STILL CLOSED. (Update - It reopened from the rehab earlier this month, so this new closure is something new.)
(12/24/17) A reader sent in a couple of new picture of the Electric Eel coaster construction taking place at SeaWorld San Diego, as seen from the SkyTower.
(12/1/17) Time to get excited for SeaWorld San Diego as the coaster supports for the new Electric Eel coaster have arrived on site. Thanks to a reader for sending in the pictures!
(10/9/17) A reader sent in a couple picture from SeaWorld San Diego taken over the weekend where it looks like work is finally starting up to install the new Electric Eel coaster.
(9/12/17) A reader sent in a picture from SeaWorld San Diego a few hours ago showing off what appears to be the first sections of roller coaster track for the Electric Eel coaster arriving on-site.
(8/11/17) Good news for SeaWorld San Diego, the park received the final approved needed for the Electric Eel coaster from the California Coastal Commission last night. With that final hurdle out of the way, you can expect to see construction start very soon... oh... and those construction walls we had posted pictures of last week? Apparently those were left over from the building of the Ocean Explorer land, but new walls will soon go up for Electric Eel at Polar Bear Plaza, next to Journey To Atlantis.
(8/5/17) Good news for SeaWorld San Diego's coaster fans... the park has now put up construction walls for the new Electric Eel coaster to open in Summer 2018.
(5/30/17) Good news for SeaWorld San Diego for once as the park’s plan to add the Electric Eel coaster in 2018 won an easy vote of approval from the city’s Planning Commission. Now the City Council must vote on it as well, and then it will go to the California Coastal Commission for final approval.
(3/6/17) A few new pieces of concept art for the new Electric Eel coaster have been posted to OrcaAction, showing off how the new ride will be colored to be less obtrusive in the sky near the park, as well as a piece of art showing off what the ride would look like from outside the park from a nearby road where it only looks a little taller than the park's Journey To Atlantis structures.
(1/4/17) SeaWorld San Diego has confirmed that their 2018 coaster plans are indeed a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II design that they will call the Electric Eel. The plans still have to get final approval from the California Coastal Commission, but the site chosen for the coaster is already placed on one of four locations in the park already approved for attractions up to 160 feet in height.
(12/24/16) So what is SeaWorld San Diego planing to build for their 2018 coaster? New evidence released by the city in the form of an email from Morris E. Dye (Development Project Manage for the City of San Diego) sent to one of our readers confirms new details that might unlock the mystery. The email confirms that it will be a compact coaster design standing 150 feet tall, featuring inversions, twists, turns and would be visible from outside the park. The ride would also be painted in colors, above the 60 foot level, that would either blend with the skyline or be more muted than the colors used at the bottom, and use an "open and airy track and support structure" to help it increase transparency on a site taking up only 2 acres of space.
So what new coaster has SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment built recently that stands exactly 150 feet in height and would fit perfectly into a small 2-acre site? How about Tempesto, a Premier Rides SkyRocket II coaster clone? You can actually see the layout much better if you look at the Phobia Phear Coaster version installed at Lake Compounce a few months ago. The ride features a unique launch experience where it launches forward, then backwards, and then forwards once again, each time gaining more speed, before launching the riders up through the entire ride course.
This theory also matches up perfectly with the confirmation from Premier Rides (see our story here) that they would open a new Sky Rocket II coaster in the USA in 2018, thus bringing the first steel looping coaster to San Diego.
(12/22/16) One of our readers who lives very close to SeaWorld San Diego received an interesting item in the mail today. It was a public notice from the City of San Diego regarding a new building application files by SeaWorld San Diego to "remove existing shade structure and construct a new roller coaster ride, site improvements and ancillary buildings" such as an aquarium, a retail area, food service areas and a maintenance building for the new coaster. The project name is 'Sea World 2018 Attraction".
(5/16/16) In an interview with Joel Manby, he mentions some details about future plans for the San Diego park this week. For starters, while he says that while the Ocean Explorer attraction coming in 2017 is really "more for smaller children", the park is planning something "for teenagers with more of a thrill factor" for the 2018 season season.
2019 - Tidal Twister and 55th Celebration - (3/14/19) A video construction update showing off the progress of Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego can be seen below.
(2/13/19) A new construction photo showing off the Tidal Twister site at SeaWorld San Diego was posted to Twitter earlier today. Check it out below.
(1/7/19) While we know 2019 is all about the new Tidal Twister ride, SeaWorld San Diego will also be celebrating the park’s 55th anniversary celebration that year with an assortment of other enhancements. According to a report at BehindTheThrills, this will include a special Celebration Weekend event from Mar. 21-24, new enhancements to the Rescue Plaza, special pass member events, upgrades to the entrance plaza to make security checks go more smoothly, a Sesame Street 50th Birthday Parade in the summer and an upgraded Electric Ocean sky show involving light-up drones in the sky over the park. For the last item, they say they are talking to Intel about it, who you might remember worked on other similar shows in Las Vegas and even Walt Disney World at one point, and they are calling it the BrilliantSea Sky Show.
(11/14/18) Skyline Attractions and SeaWorld San Diego had the lead car from the new Tidal Twister ride on display at IAAPA this week.
(10/20/18) Construction walls are up at SeaWorld San Diego for the new Tidal Twister ride, and based on the photos, this is going to be quite a tight fit to squeeze that ride into this small area between the tide pools and the stadium.
(10/10/18) SeaWorld San Diego confirmed all the details for 2019 by announcing Tidal Twister for 2019. As we predicted, this was confirmed to be the world’s first Skywarp Horizon from Skyline Atttractions. The interesting thing is SeaWorld is marketing this as “dueling coastrers” even though the two trains are really connected on one side. But the way these rides work is that unlike a Larson Loop where the train’s movements are powered the entire time, the Skywarp attractions really are just one very long train on a coaster track… where they are given power and pushed through the station by drive-wheels most of the time, but there is a section of time where the train does just “coast” as it moves through the layout. This technically does make it a coaster I think… though mostly a powered one. The interesting possibility is that if the ride length is programmed to go long enough, these kind of rides could take the record for most inversions quite easily. Just something to think about. Look for Tidal Twister to open in May 2019 next to the park’s tide pools.
(9/25/18) While Screamscape uncovered that SeaWorld San Diego's new coaster would be the world's first Skywarp Horizon ride, a leaked presentation graphc does show off some of the ocean themeing they are going to incorporate into this attraction as it swoops and loops around on the infinity loop shaped track. It also confirms that as expected, the layout will include an inversion.
(7/28/18) A little more news leaked out regarding the new coaster coming to SeaWorld San Diego. Backing up our report that this will be possibly the first Skywarp Horizon ride from Skyline Attractions, a report on the ride by the local newspaper confirms that the new ride will contain a moment where the riders are inverted. One of our readers on Facebook posted a neat idea that could also explain the lower height limit, pondering a possible slight change to the design, where instead of a hill over the inversion, what if the train attempted to go UNDER the inversion instead, creating a great "High-5" style moment as the two trains passed by each other here.
While the theme is unknown, it was mentioned that the ride would maintain elements of the park's "Rising Tide" conservation program. With the ride also located next to the park's Aquaria tide pool and aquarium exhibit, so I imagine some kind of theme and enhanced animal exhibit could be tied into the ride as well.
(7/27/18) Some breaking news for everyone, SeaWorld San Diego is adding another new coaster for 2019 and have filed the necessary paperwork with the California Coastal Commission. The project will involve the removal of the old restroom structure between the Tide Pools and the Cirque lagoon stadium with the replacement of what looks to be a figure-8 shaped coaster layout that they claim will only be about 22 feet tall or so.
While at first you may dismiss this as being another kiddie coaster or a powered SBF/Visa spinning coaster, I think we may be in for a much bigger treat. A quick look at the layout drawing of the site show that the coaster seems to have loading stations on BOTH SIDES of the
Figure-8… which immediately brought to mind something unique I saw at IAAPA this November that has never been built anywhere before. A Skyline Attractions “Skywarp Horizon”, which features the same loading station layout and a figure-8 layout, except the track goes over an airtime hill on one pass and spirals through a corkscrew below it on the return path.
The only thing is that the layout really just shows a simple figure-8… with no sign of the inversion, and a Skywarp Horizon, while it would perfectly fit the site (115ft x 55 ft) is said to be 30 feet tall, and not 22 feet tall, so perhaps SeaWorld has asked for a more family friendly version of the Skywarp Horizon without the inversion.
2020 - Mako / B&M Dive Machine - Planning - (2/4/19) Based on the layout plans released thus far Coaster-Nation has created an animation showing off what Mako at SeaWorld San Diego could look like when it opens in 2020.
(1/24/19) A reader came across a document with the Mako proposal artwork (added here) which included the official initial layout for the proposed new Dive Machine coaster. It also lists the major elements as: Immelmann, Hammerhead, Barrel Roll and Flat Spin.
(1/7/19) SeaWorld San Diego dropped one hell of a bomb about what they are planning for 2020. They are planning to add a new coaster called Mako, but unlike the Orlando park’s Mako, the version planned for San Diego will be a mini B&M Dive Machine coaster standing 153 feet tall and placed very close to the park’s Journey To Atlantis ride, with a 143 foot vertical first drop. If approved as planned, it will end up being the Longest, Tallest and Fastest Dive Coaster in all of California… which simply means it will be bigger than Hangtime at Knott’s Berry Farm. I would also bet that unlike the sister Dive Machine coasters at the Busch Gardens parks (Sheikra and Griffon) this one won’t feature wide trains, but instead will likely be the more cost friendly “D6” design that only seats 6 riders across each row and uses a smaller size track.
2021 - Wild Arctic Ride Replacement / Penguin Encounter Update - Rumor - (3/22/19) According to the local news SeaWorld San Diego is looking into ideas to replace the park’s Wild Arctic simulator attraction. A park spokesperson confirmed that after 25-years of service, they are looking to “replace the ride experience at the attraction” with a new kind of arctic themed ride, but one that will be lower than 30 feet in height. Little else was revealed other than that this project is something they are planning for 2021.
Previous rumors had indicated that the park may have been planning to also renovate the park’s Penguin Encounter this same year, which sits across the plaza from the entrance to Wild Arctic. If this plan is still in the works, it would likely see the animal exhibit completely renovated, much like what was done in Orlando… but without the costly dark ride experience that was added in Florida.
Fun note… going way way back to the time I spent at this park, there was one a dream of creating some kind of attraction that could sit between the Penguin Encounter and Wild Arctic, that could offer two different experience, one that would offer a trip to the south pole and unload guests at the Penguin Encounter while the other would be a trip to the north pole, dropping guests off inside Wild Arctic. It is also worth mentioning that while the park says it is time to replace the ride… this could be misleading as the sister attraction built at SeaWorld Orlando is a few years older and still operational.
(3/14/19) According to the latest rumors, SeaWorld San Diego will be replacing the park’s old Penguin Encounter attraction for the 2021 season. No word on if they will simply built a new modern facility, upgrade the old one, or look into building something new entirely. While there is always a chance they could try to mimic what was done in Orlando, I have serious doubts that they would try to add the same Antarctica dark ride experience to San Diego after guests in Orlando seemed to be very underwhelmed with the Orlando attraction when it opened.