- Posted September 15, 2012 by
San Diego, California
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SEA WORLD SAN DIEGO'S "MANTA" RECEIVES GOLDEN TICKET AWARD
When Sea World San Diego opened it's new Manta ride this past May, the amusement park was gunning for a new attraction to keep attendance up and profits rising. And just like in 2011, when the new Turtle Reef increased attendance figures after the previous year's declines, Manta has been packing them in at the marine-themed Mission Bay. amusement park .
According to the Sea World San Diego's August 24th Facebook page,"Manta has welcomed over a million riders since it's opening" in May. A significant increase in attendance at the San Diego Sea World this year will no doubt be due to adding the new and successful Manta attraction.
Entertainmentdesigner.com analyzed the success of the Manta ride as a sign of the "rise of Family-Oriented Roller Coasters." The new San Diego Manta roller coaster "isn’t anything like the acclaimed Manta at SeaWorld Orlando, but it is unique in its own way." The San Diego Manta is smaller and tamer and "much more family-friendly than the Orlando version – and this has been the key to its success. Manta at SeaWorld San Diego satisfies a growing demand for small, but entertaining coasters as an alternative to the mega-coasters that have taken over many of the world’s theme parks."
Sea World did have to work within the California Coastal Commission restrictions in designing Manta. Entertainmentdesigner.com noted that "Manta San Diego was shaped in part by the height restrictions set in place by the California Coastal Commission. These kept the roller coaster at a moderate height of 30 feet, but by digging underground, Sea World was able to include a drop of 54 feet."
Manta has proven to be more than a hot new ride for Sea World San Diego. The theme park magazine "Amusement Today" recently released it's "Best of the Best" in the amusement industry and awarded their 15th annual "Golden Ticket Awards."
These industry awards are considered to be one of the highest honors in the amusement park field. Dolly Parton herself, hosted the Best of the Best Award presentation at her own theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Sea World San Diego was the recipient of the "Turnstile Award" for Manta. The combination of Manta's high speed coaster that combines action with marine education was saluted. The Sea World San Diego Facebook page was positively brimming over the news: "Our guests love Manta."
Amusement Today magazine was impressed and said “we salute the entire team at SeaWorld San Diego for its vision to bring a high-tech thrill ride to this marine-life park.”
Manta, which is located just north of Rocky Point Preserve is not just another roller coaster. “With Manta, our guests will be able to see and interact with 65 bat rays, 10 guitar fish, and hundreds of fish,” said SeaWorld San Diego curator of fishes Thad Dirksen , when Manta first opened.
Sea World San Diego is due congratulations for winning the impressive and prestigious Golden Ticket Award. The marine theme park has suffered criticisms from PETA and other environmental groups for "enslaving" the animals they feature at Mission Bay. The cost of tickets for Sea World are not inexpensive.
On the other hand, Sea World is very good about education and every kid in elementary school in San Diego has sat through a nice assembly presentation from the park . When a sick seal or dolphin turns up on local beaches or bays, the Sea World crew will usually come right out and pick up the animal for some TLC.
My little neighbor downstairs has ridden Manta several times and loves it. I applaud Sea World for bringing in a new attraction like Manta that is exciting, while at the same time, incorporating a educational aspect to it . The Ray pool and petting area allows visitors to touch and feed the Manta Rays.
As this Golden Ticket award suggests, Sea World San Diego offers a "lesson to all operators on how to apply reinvestment to beat the business cycle." An article in the San Diego Union newspaper noted an annual report produced by the nonprofit Themed Entertainment Association analyzes the ups and downs of the major amusement parks worldwide.
"While operators of most large amusement parks are continually refreshing their properties and adding new attractions, there's an art to identifying what resonates with the theme park crowd," said the report's author John Robinette. This Golden Ticket Award is proof that Sea World San Diego knows just what the public wants.
photo credits: Sea World San Diego/ Facebook.; entertainmentdesigner.com