Manta recently celebrated its one year new birthday. We sat down with Brian Morrow, Corporate Director of Creative Development and Manta designer for a Q & A session.
What do you like best about your job?
The ability to develop original and enriching guest experiences. The work we do at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is unique in the world. We have the ability to develop attractions and experiences that can enlighten our guests to the wondrous world we all get to live in and provide them with the tools and motivation to protect it.
How cool was it to be the main designer of Manta?
VERY COOL! In all honesty it is a rarity that one person is responsible for any undertaking as large as Manta. Our entire development team, including many team members at the SeaWorld Orlando, were involved, and that's what made Manta so successful. It's not often that projects of this magnitude come along, and I would stop and speak with other project team members and tell them to look around, enjoy and relish in this experience because it's not often in your career that you get to create such amazing experiences.
From initial planning to complete construction, take us through the process, how long did it take to build Manta?
Manta was considered a fast track project for us. We developed multiple versions of what a new attraction could be at SeaWorld Orlando, and obviously Manta was the clear winner. Once we settled in on a site for the attraction (which we considered many) the project was able to take off into full development and production. It took the consultant team six months to produce all the required drawings to bid the project and the construction of Manta took 14 months.
What is your favorite part about Manta that people might not know?
Directly after you pass under the waterfall at the entrance to the ride, there is a small wooden bridge which leads you to the queue interior. While crossing that bridge there is a moment of perfection with the ride to your right, sounds of water everywhere and blending architecture into the natural rocks cape. It's pure SeaWorld.
What is so special and different about Manta?
Manta was the first coaster in the world to blend animal habitats with coaster thrills. The flawless delivery of the Manta experience is what ultimately makes it the best. I know we say often that only SeaWorld could bring Manta to the market but really it was the dedication of our project team members that were able to make it happen. We had a very clear sense of what we wanted the guests to feel emotionally in the Manta attraction, and we delivered upon this in every way.