Today, two of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s world class theme parks announced all-new attractions to open in 2011. For those planning a trip to Central Florida next year and beyond, the announcements mean new thrills and up-close encounters with exotic animals at both Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Discovery Cove in Orlando.
BuschGardens Tampa Bay
For more than five decades, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has found inspiration in its animals. Animal care experts have turned that inspiration into adventure with immersive natural habitats like the Serengeti Plain and Myombe Reserve. Engineers have also turned it into adrenaline, capturing the spirit of the animals in wood and steel with coasters like Kumba, Gwazi and SheiKra.
Now, the next generation of thrills emerges from the crossroads where up-close animal encounters and awe-inspiring rides come together. Spring 2011, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay introduces a mega-attraction that invites guests to feel the spirit and feel the speed of the cheetah.
The centerpiece of the new attraction is Cheetah Hunt, a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) Launch Coaster that uses the force of repelling magnets to launch riders from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds – not once, but three times.
The first launch propels the train out of its station and into the grasslands that surround the new area. Moments later, a second burst of speed accelerates riders to 60 mph and up into the ride’s signature tower element that climbs more than 10 stories above the African landscape before plunging 130 feet into a subterranean trench. At the far end of this three-quarter-mile path, a third burst of speed rockets the train back across the plain toward the station in a thrill-ride experience unlike anything Busch Gardens’ guests have ever experienced.
But this one-of-a-kind coaster experience is only a portion of the new realm. Building on Busch Gardens’ unrivaled ability to combine thrills with immersive animal encounters, Cheetah Run will set a new standard for bringing nature and humans together in a really unique way.
Located in the area that formerly housed the Budweiser Clydesdales, this expansive new habitat will give visitors the opportunity to get closer to cheetahs than ever before with elevated, glass-paneled viewing areas. Even more exciting will be the chance to witness the world’s fastest land animal in action. Busch Gardens’ trainers will conduct daily sprints with the cheetahs for an awesome opportunity to see one of nature’s true wonders in full form!
Families can also explore interactive touch screens to learn even more about these big cats and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s work on their behalf. Through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, the adventure parks have been helping cheetahs in the wild since 2005.
Cheetah Hunt and the Cheetah Run open in spring 2011. Together, they form a unique experience – the kind you’ll only find at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Cheetah Hunt Facts
Type of ride -- Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) Launch Coaster
Launches -- Launch 1: 30 mph ... Launch 2: 60 mph ... Launch 3: 40 mph
Other elements -- 130-foot drop into an underground trench ... over-banked turns ... "air time" parabolas ... heartline roll inversion.
Track length -- 4,429 feet -- more than three quarters of a mile!
Maximum speed -- 60 mph
Maximum force -- 4 G
Height -- 102 feet
Ride duration -- 3 1/2 minutes (including loading and unloading)
Seats/Train -- 5 trains, 16 passengers per train
Guest capacity -- 1,370 guests per hour
Height requirement -- 48"
Location -- Crown Colony Plaza, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Manufacturer -- Intaride LLC, exclusive U.S. supplier of Intamin rides.
In Orlando, Discovery Cove takes immersion to new depths when it opens an all-new area -- The Grand Reef -- in June 2011. The new reef features multiple levels of exploration, from shallow waters to deeper swimming adventures, from white sandy beaches and hammocks swaying in the breeze, to snorkeling among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world.
“The Grand Reef takes Discovery Cove’s world-class animal encounters to an all new level -- several, actually,” said Stewart Clark, the park’s vice president. “It’s what our guests expect from us, unforgettable connections with the sea and making memories that will last forever. This could only be created by Discovery Cove.”
Visitors just need to get their feet wet to enjoy The Grand Reef, or they can choose to go deep. They can step into tranquil, shallow waters to discover a below-the-surface world teeming with sea life, or they can snorkel in deeper waters as thousands of exotic fish and graceful rays swim around them.
Surprises abound. Families can seek discoveries along the water’s edge or cross a bridge to see sharks swimming below. They’ll play hide-and-seek with thousands of beautiful fish, from small colorful wrasses to large spotted eagle rays. Further out in the reef, stunning habitats create the feeling of swimming right alongside venomous lionfish and sharp-toothed reef sharks, each safely behind glass. Guests can take paths and bridges to the reef’s islands and hidden grottos as they delve into the reef from above, around and below.
Those looking for an even more exhilarating adventure can take part in The Grand Reef’s innovative experience, SeaVenture, an underwater walking tour. Wearing dive helmets, guests find up-close excitement around every corner, each step yielding a new discovery.
They’ll come across lionfish and sharks (safely behind massive panoramic windows), one-on-one touches with unique animals and schools of fish and gentle rays swimming by. SeaVenture is a once-in-a-lifetime, undersea experience available for a nominal fee.
The Grand Reef is the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation, a fully immersive tropical escape, new to discover in Orlando in 2011. There’s more to learn at www.DiscoveryCove.com.