Saying goodbye to Anaheim we headed south towards San Diego for the parks in that area beginning with a new one for me. In 2002 there were no coasters at Seaworld, just animals in tanks but seeing the need to attract coaster nerds to their park they added a couple, including one that had only just opened in the days leading up to our visit. There are no elephants in Seaworld!
A rather cute car that's too important to park in the car park with everyone else. Why pay for priority parking when you can theme your car and park wherever you wish!
Meeting us at the park was this wonderful old chap with a patter on the microphone that bordered on the torturous. Fresh from a stint at Guantanamo where he became a replacement for water-boarding after that was outed, he subjected us to a 30 minute barrage of park promotion whilst we waited for tickets.
For those that are interested in visiting the major parks in California then this Southern Cali CityPASS may be worth considering. I thought it was a good idea and interesting that different brands had signed up to it.
Be prepared to wait if you insist on having your park tickets painted by hand. Ray does his best to hurry things up by casting his best time-turning spell, but it didn't work.
The new ride to the park, and our first destination was Manta, a Mack launched coaster themed around rays.
I guess the local avian wildlife were still getting to grips with a fast ride being around, and to avoid bird strikes they'd called upon a falconer to scare them away. However there didn't appear to be anything to stop the hawk from hitting the coaster.
Which does of course give me this wonderful opportunity to show what might happen if a bird does happen to hit someone
The ride itself wasn't bad with a very well themed launch from a tunnel surrounded by projections of manta rays swimming around you. (no cameras on the ride means no photos of that)
The rest of the ride didn't really match up the launch and went quickly downhill from the start. (obvious coaster pun intended, although don't be smart and comment there's a slight incline first)
The overcast weather also put a slight downer on the day with grey skies ruining photos that should have been bluer than Roy Chubby Brown in his favourite smurf outfit. For those that have ridden Rita at Alton Towers, the ride reminded me of that.
After the ride we were asked to hang around and wait to see if the park were able to offer us anything, so we waited, some passing the time by playing with the rays in the centre of the attraction. However nothing came to fruition so time wasted we headed off to see what else there was.
Journey to Atlantis is a water coaster made by the same company that made Manta, German based Mack.
The worst word in the ride description is of course "water" because it meant that to get the tick for this one you'd have to get soaked. This ride could have been drenching, but fortunately I escaped with just one wet leg.
Having ridden it we then spent a little bit of time ensuring others chasing the credit got wet, made even easier by the park having water cannons that you can fire for a quarter. A wonderful way of getting rid of loose change.
Aside from the 2 coasters there are a small number of well themed spin rides including this rather well themed spin ride. Now, how's that for the worst caption ever!
The rapids are pretty wet but, especially with the barrage of quarter dollar water cannons and on a hot day I'd have done it. Not today, instead I just spent more money getting others wet.
Wild Arctic is the penguin and puffin enclosure that was ruined by too much condensation on the window indoors that meant you couldn't see much going on at all. For all we know the penguins might have been having a full on orgy behind the mist...perhaps that was the cause.
Of course no visit to Seaworld is complete without a trip to the Shamu show...except our's. I just wasn't interested in seeing a whale beach itself for the enjoyment of thousands.
For those with enough money to pay for potential court case should you get too close to the dolphins you can have the chance of meeting and touching those wonderful de-horned narwhales.
"Guys, you keep them occupied whilst I go through their clothes and steal their money"
Of course it's not just killer whales, dolphins, penguins and puffins. There are other animals too. The beavers were quite cool watching them trying to get food out of the ice blocks the park had frozen them into.
Turtles are hard to photograph due to the low light and the stupid people next to you that think a flash is necessary to get the shot.
An hour or so before we were due to leave the skies started to become a little more clearer so I ran around and took some more photos of Manta.
and in a blatant attempt to fill the page with not much opinion about a ride that could have been better than it was here are some more photos of it.
The first ride of this type that Mack built was the rather excellent Blue Fire at the Mack owned Europa Park in Germany. Expectations were high that this would deliver something similar.
expectations weren't met.
Seaworld was a nice stop-gap park and not much more than that. Whilst Manta was being well received by the public, and acknowledging that it was really good for this park, personally I'd have expected more. Still if you were in the area you'd be daft to ignore it.