SeaWorld’s newest roller coaster Mako opened on June 10, 2016 after around one week of soft openings.
Mako forms the centrepiece of a new "Shark Wreck Reef“ area of the park along with the Shark Encounter attraction and the table service restaurant, Sharks Underwater Grill. The area has been given shark and shipwreck reef theming offering both thrills, education and shopping.
Mako is inspired by one of natures fastest sharks and has been billed as Orlando’s tallest, longest and fastest coaster with a height of 200 feet, length of 4,760 feet and a top speed of 73 mph. At 200 foot tall, technically it is described as a hypercoaster.
It provides plenty of tall hills, drops and weightless “air time” especially if you ride towards the back of the train. The initial 200 foot drop is truly breathtaking. There are lockers at the entrance for keeping wallets, sunglasses, loose change and cell phones safe.
There are seven cars in each train. Each car features four seats across with lap guards with built in hand holds; there are no shoulder restraints as there are no inversions. Each train seats 28 riders and there are three trains in total. The lead car in each train is inspired by the head of a mako shark.
Minimum ride height is 54 inches, maximum height 80 inches and there is a test seat outside of the ride. However, some “larger” people may struggle getting the lap guard to engage fully across their thighs/legs and unlike other coasters, there are no special larger seats.
The track takes the coaster past the front entrance of Shark Encounter and most of the ride is over an area that was previously “backstage”. One neat touch in the shipwreck area is as a train gets close, music is played and LED lights flash like bubbles to simulate fish scattering as the mako approaches. This is best viewed during the evening.
SeaWorld has partnered with the artist and conservationist Guy Harvey who narrates in the shark videos you see as you walk through the coaster queue. There is also a giant mural painted by Harvey at the exit and a percentage of the proceeds from his artwork goes towards his conservation charity.
On May 27, 2015, SeaWorld announced their new roller coaster was going to be called "Mako”. The opening was scheduled for Summer 2016.
Designed by the Swiss company, B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard), Mako is an out and back steel sit down coaster.
The preliminary concept artwork showed a very long coaster ride with a number of sweeping climbs and drops giving plenty of “air time”. The cars appeared to be seven rows of four-abreast seating and this was confirmed in February 2016 when SeaWorld revealed one of the coaster cars.
B&M also designed both of SeaWorld Orlando’s other main roller coasters. the flying coaster Manta which opened in 2009 and the floorless coaster “Kraken”.
SeaWorld also has two family coaster rides, the hybrid water/coaster “Journey to Atlantis” and Shamu Express.
As part of SeaWorld’s education programme, they engaged artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi to create a model shark, called “Finn” out of non-biodegradable plastics that are polluting and endangering our oceans. Other models including an octopus and a trigger fish have been exhibited at SeaWorld in the past as part of the “The Washed Ashore Project”.
Throughout the 2 acre Shark Wreck Reef area, you will also find display boards for kids to engage with highlighting the plight of sharks today.