Manta – SeaWorld Orlando’s New Signature Attraction
Manta Roller Coaster - SeaWorld OrlandoAfter the eight hour drive down to Orlando for the Manta Grand Opening and Media Day, I was hoping to not be disappointed and thankfully I wasn’t. It was my first time to SeaWorld, but right away I recognized that I was at a Busch-owned theme park. The park was clean and beautifully-themed. Manta is the much-hyped flying roller coaster that I first blogged about some 13 months ago.

Manta’s station was integrated with a really cool manta exhibit. The exhibit was accessible guests without having to enter the ride’s queue. If you’ve never seen a manta in person, they’re quite unforgettable. They look like they’re flying as they swim hence the tag line for the coaster, “Ride the Flying Ray.” I recommend the exhibit whether you ride Manta or not. I will try to upload my short video of the exhibit. On to the ride.

As you reach the station, you can’t help but notice the tricked out trains complete with blue sting ray theming. The trains look like standard Bolliger & Mabillard inverted trains at first. They are positioned below the track with  eight rows of cars that have four across seating. Then, after everyone is secured in the comfortable harnesses, the seats fold upward until the riders are facing the floor below in a superman-like position. SeaWorld did a nice job in spicing up this transition with a loud sound effect. Both the riders aboard the train and those waiting to ride cheer in excitement and the train begins its ascent.

140 feet later, with the tropical trees far below, the train begins its swooping 113 foot drop. After the drop, the train climbs back up and into the 98 foot tall pretzel loop. (Coaster Geek Analysis – In comparison, S:UF’s loop is 78′ tall and Tatsu’s is 124′ tall) Where other B&M flyers flatten out or gradually climb before entering this inside-downward loop, Manta makes a pretty sharp climb up into it. This causes what may possibly be the world’s first moment of airtime on a flying roller coaster. It’s brief, but noticeable and it’s the reason why I prefer Manta in the front more than in the back. At the bottom of the loop, riders are pressed against their seat as they’re now flat on their backs on the ground looking up at the sky. The g-forces are pretty strong and they seemed even stronger towards the back of the train.

Manta at SeaWorld Orlando

Manta’s Signature Moment
After the pretzel loop, the train takes a left turn and is then thrown into an in-line twist (360 degree roll). I didn’t really enjoy this element, but I can’t really put my finger on why. It seemed kind of out place or something. Next, there’s another turn that sends the train through the pretzel loop and into a better inversion; a nice corkscrew which leads up to the brake run. The short brake run sets up the ride’s signature moment. Manta’s coup de grâce is a short dive to a pond that puts riders only a few feet from the water below. Manta gains a lot of points for the innovative dive. It froze onlookers in their tracks and had many waiting for another train to come by just to see it. As the train passes over the water a fountain-like splash is triggered which sprays the riders a little. You won’t get soaked, but if you sit on the far right seat you will get wet. I’ll have to add this maneuver to my Memorable Coaster Moments category.

An Excellent Near Miss
After Manta’s signature move the ride has one more trick up it’s wing(?). The train swoops right past a rocky wall with a water fall. If you sit on the far left side of the train you feel as if you’ll certainly hit the wall. I have no idea how close the train actually is, but it was very surprising and probably my favorite part of the ride. Manta finishes with another corkscrew and then hits the station brakes to applause from the hanging riders. 

Manta Ride Guide – Back vs. Front & Left vs. Right
The back seems popular for its intensity. The pretzel loop did seem more intense in the back, but it wasn’t a cake walk in the front either. Again, with the front offering that unusual moment of airtime, I favor the front or towards the front. With regards to which side of the four across train to ride, the right side will put you right into the water during the dive. The far left side will throw you closer to the rocky water fall. My favorite here is the left side as that rock wall and waterfall come out of nowhere and you feel like you just may smack right into it. The water spray is much cooler for off-ride viewers than on the ride. Everything happens so fast, that suddenly you’re getting hit with water. When I rode on the far right, my right leg DID get wet.

As a complete attraction, Manta is excellent. If you’re a well-traveled enthusiasts, flying roller coasters are nothing new, but SeaWorld did as Roller Coaster Reviews Rating - Excellentmuch as they could to make a pretty unique and memorable experience. Between the immense level of theming to the thrilling layout with few surprises, Manta delivers more than just a flight like experience. It delivers an unforgettable world-class ride. Final Rating – 9.0 (Excellent)

What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Manta at SeaWorld Orlando? Do you agree with my rating? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

42 Responses

  1. holly

    I rode manta in july 09. Prior to it ,the only other flying coaster i've rode is air at alton towers and i thought the pretzel loop and force just gave it an edge over air. i would also give it 9.

  2. Ben

    i've ridden manta, tatsu, and superman. tatsu is still my favorite, due to it being larger and having a higher average elevation from the ground while riding. manta def wins the theming category though, and probably unique ride experience as well. but i still gotta go with tatsu, the visuals during the lift climb and the pretzel loop are out of this world.

  3. JaMeS

    I just got back from seaworld. 3 train wait 4 front of manta, after walking up to it, 10 min. wait 4 kraken, and 75 FOR ATLANTIS! ridiculous. front was ok, I did'nt think it was much better, but it was ok.

  4. Judy P in Pgh

    Hi, Joel! I'm heading to Orlando next week and plan to make Manta my 200th coaster. I'm really hoping for the short lines that James wrote about!

  5. Judy P in Pgh

    I spent Oct. 22 at SeaWorld (first time trip there for me). Manta was a walk-on at 9:30 a.m. I took a back seat ride, then waited 1 cycle for a front seat ride. I had walk-ons for Journey to Atlantis and Kraken (6 rides on Kraken). The longest wait of the day was 3 cycles for Shamu Express. The observation tower was closed for most of the day due to "high winds" (?), but opened around 5. There was plenty of seating for the shows, with Shamu's Believe being the most crowded. I got 3 more walk-on rides on Manta just before closing. I've decided my favorite seat is in the back row on the left side. You don't get wet from the wing dip in that seat, but you do get wet from coming incredibly close to the waterfall tumbling off the rock wall after the wing dip.

    The park closed at 6 p.m. in order to get ready for their evening Halloween festivities. With the low daytime attendance, though, there was plenty of time to ride everything I wanted.

  6. Kalie

    BEST RIDE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!! 19 TIMES IN A ROW!!!! I CANT GET ENOUGHT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. JaMeS

    its good to know that it isn't just me that likes this ride alot, because every time i went there were people holding their backs after riding- that never happened to me

  8. Quil

    i know what you mean, after i got off batwing@SFAm i noticed the same thing, i didn`t get it, but i guess some people found it painful instead of just disorienting.

  9. Ryan

    I can't say I disagree with the rating. I rode it on Wednesday and thought it was a solid ride and something I would easily ride again. Gives Sea World even more to do in a park I always have enjoyed. I approve.

  10. Lauraemmas

    Looks alittle like Air at Alton Towers in the UK… I will be able to do a comparison, when i'm in the US in September!!!!!

  11. Coaster Expert

    I went this past summer with my mother.

    She was terrified kept her eyes closed the entire ride.

    But I couldn't get enough of it, honestly the best roller coaster I have ever been on next to the Shakira at Busch Gardens FL.

    Anyways, overall 9.7

  12. cc

    this is one or my fav rides it was the first i have ever been on its a smooth easy ride i have ridden a few since but still love this ride but i got to say the boobs thing gets annoying

  13. Alyssa

    I know it has nothing to do with the coaster, but there aren't any actual mantas in the aquarium. A manta is a type of ray that can get up to 200 ft long and (as far as I know) has never been a manta in an aquarium. What you saw was other rays including cownose rays, leopard rays, spotted eagle rays, some guitar fish, as well as some other sting rays I can't remember.

  14. Samuel

    Alyssa is right in that there are no Mantas at Seaworld, but they don't get quite up to 200 feet long. A little over 20 is more like it. It's not a fish commonly found in aquariums but there are a couple around the world that can handle them. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has a few of the beasties (and whale sharks as well) and they're extremely impressive to look at in person.

    As for this attraction, I think it's a great addition to Sea World and it and the surrounding pools and rocks make it in my opinion the most beautiful roller coaster in the world, bar none.

  15. Renee

    Roller Coaster is Amazing, but DO NOT PAY FOR THE SEA LION TOUR. I would give it no stars, but that was not an option. Save your money because you will not be up-close with a sea lion like the title and the picture suggest. First, you go to Pacific Point Preserve and they tell you the difference between a sea lion and a seal; which can be read on the signs around the exhibit. Next, you go to where the “Clyde & Seamore” show takes place. You are asked to sit in the first two rows and then are quickly taken up to the tank, a group at the time to have your picture quickly taken. You are not allow to look at the sea lion (you keep your back towards him) and have to take a large step forward before you can walk back to your seats. Then you head back to Pacific Point Preserve where you are given a bucket of fish to feed them with everyone else. Just save your money and get to the show early to sit in the first two rows and spend $20 and get five trays of fish to feed the seals/sea lions at Pacific Point Preserve for the same experience.

  16. Akil Smith

    I love Manta and I agree with you it's no 10/10 ride but I can certainly say it's more smoother and better than Super the Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Great Adventure. The experience is amazing, but I can tell you it's more of a first experience roller coaster meaning; You feel like your are actually flying and the feel is exhilarating after that it's just a fun filled coaster experience. It also is better than most coaster I've been on. Sea World gives quality roller coasters and I can't wait for their next installment.

  17. SeaSide

    Tried this ride for 1st time yesterday. I’m no wimp – grew up around Cedar Point & would get quickly bored with each new scream machine they added (1970’s-90’s).

    I have to admit, this ride was a bit too much for me. It was at the point going into pretzel loop that did it. I found this feeling most unpleasant, and one I had never experienced before. I thought it was because I’m nearing 50 y/o, but I heard the same feeling expressed by a much younger rider . The rest of the ride was great, but that one part kept me off it the rest of day, and I was happy to go over and drive the “Pinto” (Kraken) to redeem my confidence. Enjoy!


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