SeaWorld Orlando will soon be home to the tallest, longest, fastest roller coaster in Orlando. The Mako hypercoaster, named for a speedy species of shark, will rise 200 feet into the air by the time it’s done for the 2016 season, with top speeds of 73 mph and nearly a mile of track. Better yet for coaster enthusiasts like me is the fact that it’s built for maximum airtime. Be prepared to pop up in your seat repeatedly as you zip through the dips and hills.
I’m a long-time lover of B&M roller coasters like SheiKra and Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa, and B&M is also the company behind SeaWorld’s Kraken and Manta thrill machines, as well as Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure. I’m also a big air-time fan, and as of now we don’t have a good airtime option in Orlando. I pick up nice pops on ShieKra and Cheetah Hunt, but that requires over an hour of drive time to Busch. Now it looks like I’ll have my pop-out-of-your-seat thrills a lot closer to home.
SeaWorld announced Mako with flair, showing concept art and a virtual big-screen POV ride. Virtual reality is fine, but the park also wanted the media to experience a bit of Mako first hand. They offered crane rides 200 feet up to the spot where Mako’s lift hill will peak. Yes, it’s the same as SheiKra, but it’s so much more intimidating when you’re in a crane car dangling by what feels like a thread!
You can’t beat the view, though, with stunning sights like Kraken and the Orlando Eye looming over the Orange County Convention Center in the distance.
Mako is just one part of what will become a whole area devoted to sharks. You’ve already got the Shark Encounter and Sharks Underwater Grill, a sit-down restaurant with an amazing aquatic view. Now those areas will become part of a bigger themed land known for now as Sharks Realm.
While the name will likely change down the road, the concept will stay the same. You’ll see sharks and learn more about them, including ways to help them. We tend to view them as vicious predators, and they’re no slouches when it comes to hunting down prey, but unfortunately man in making it hard for them to survive. You’ll learn about doing things as simple as eating sustainable fish to help ensure that sharks will still find a hospitable home in our oceans.
Mako should be ready for next year’s summer season. While it will be hard to wait a whole year for a B&M hypercoaster in Orlando, I’ll enjoy watching it rise up above the construction walls at SeaWorld. In the meantime, Manta and Kraken will still be in full operation, and of course you’ll see plenty of dolphins, orcas, sea lions, and other talented animals bringing their special brand of delight to park guests. If you haven’t seen Sea Lion High yet, here are some highlights: