BY GABRIELLE RUSSON AND MARK SKONEKI
SeaWorld Orlando has confirmed that it is building a new roller coaster that will open next year.
The announcement earlier this month came with a 20-second teaser video that provided no details about the attraction, other than to declare it will feature “plunging thrills” and “predatory heights.”
The video takes the viewer on a ride through a snowy mountain scape with deep dives and turns. It said the ride would debut in 2020 but gave no exact date.
THREE YEARS SINCE MAKO
In September, leaked documents surfaced online that showed drawings for a new launch coaster that reached 55 mph and would open next year.
At the time, a SeaWorld spokesman confirmed the drawings were real and from a company presentation but added no final plans had been made.
It’s been nearly three years since SeaWorld Orlando opened a new roller coaster.
The grand opening for Mako, the steel coaster that travels up to 73 mph, was held June 10, 2016.
SeaWorld leaders have said their plan is to add a new ride or experience at each of the 12 parks across the country every year in hopes of pushing their attendance increases further in the company rebound that started in 2018.
The aggressive plan for expansion also comes as the Orlando-based company seeks to save millions of dollars and has undergone rounds of layoffs three times in about 20 months, including most recently in April.
The theme park wars are intensifying in Orlando.
Universal strikes first this summer, opening a roller coaster June 13 that whizzes riders through the Forbidden Forest, home to Hagrid.
Disney’s turn comes in August when it debuts the Star Wars-themed land at Hollywood Studios. The twin land in California held its opening day May 31.
Meanwhile, SeaWorld Orlando has sought to expand its ride portfolio as well with the raft ride Infinity Falls that opened in October.
In late March, the family-friendly Sesame Street land that features sets from the beloved children’s show and re-themed rides opened.