Monday, May 21, 2018
Travel

SeaWorld’s water park Aquatica opens Ray Rush slide propelled by water jets

SeaWorld’s promise to add new rides instead of animal entertainers is building steam as a new ride has opened in the company’s Aquatica waterpark in Orlando.

Ray Rush, a new slide with an open air half-pipe that resembles a manta ray, opened a day earlier than expected on Friday. It’s the first in Florida to combine enclosed tube sections, a giant sphere and a drop into an open-air halfpipe, according to SeaWorld.

Ray Rush is a 60-foot-tall, four-person raft slide that includes water jet launches. The height requirement is 42 inches. Ray Rush encompasses three slide elements in rafts that seat up to four riders. First, riders will be launched with powerful water jets designed to propel the rafts into the first of several enclosed tube sections. Next, riders enter a giant translucent sphere, rocking back and forth as waves of water swirl around them. Finally, riders will drop into the attraction’s signature element, an open-air half pipe that resembles the shape of a manta ray.

"The combination of these three unique slide elements seamlessly blended into one attraction creates a ride experience that is both thrilling and family-friendly," said David Heaton, Aquatica Orlando vice president. "It’s the perfect addition to our slide portfolio."

MORE SLIDES: A glow-in-the-dark waterslide is coming to Tampa Bay

Infinity Falls, another a water ride featuring a 42-foot drop and rushing rapids is slated to open this summer at SeaWorld Orlando. There are also plans to open a Sesame Street land in Orlando by spring 2019.

MORE SLIDES: What to expect at Vanish Point, the new drop slide at Adventure Island

SeaWorld Entertainment, the parent company that also owns Busch Gardens, has had a four-year attendance slide, slumping revenues and management shakeups with two CEOs leaving in the last three years. But the company’s quarterly earnings report last week brought some good news. Attendance, annual pass sales, revenue and in-park spending all increased in the first quarter even though the company posted a $62.8 million net loss.

John T. Reilly, the new interim CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, touted an aggressive plan to build a new ride or attraction in every park each year and to run more efficiently.

PREVIOUSLY: Facing identity crisis and slumping profics, can SeaWorld rebuild?

Previous CEO Joel Manby attempted to combat criticism from the documentary Blackfish by announcing two years ago that all SeaWorld-branded parks would ban captive breeding of orcas and also phase out the theatrical Shamu shows. But the financial bleeding continued.

The company not only faces lingering criticism that arose from the searing 2013 documentary critical of the treatment of its captive killer whales, but it also faces fierce competition from Disney and Universal.

For tickets and information, see a quaticaorlando.com.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

Comments
Philadelphia’s American Revolution Museum winning battle for tourists

Philadelphia’s American Revolution Museum winning battle for tourists

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA The Museum of the American Revolution is a year old and officials say it has landed a decisive victory in capturing tourists’ attention in a city with lots of revolutionary competition. In honor of its first birthday Apri...
Published: 05/17/18
Tired of the Smithsonian? These small, quirky D.C. museums are worth a visit

Tired of the Smithsonian? These small, quirky D.C. museums are worth a visit

WASHINGTONWashington is known for its museums. But venture beyond the Mall, which is home to four of the 20 most-visited museums in the world, and you’ll find plenty of smaller, quirkier institutions. Want to learn about great inventions, the history...
Published: 05/17/18
SeaWorld joins Busch Gardens in offering free beer this summer

SeaWorld joins Busch Gardens in offering free beer this summer

SeaWorld is joining its sister park, Busch Gardens, in offering free cups of beer this summer. Guests 21 and up can receive up to two complimentary 7-ounce beers per visit at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio in the park starting Friday through Sept. 2. T...
Published: 05/16/18
SeaWorld’s water park Aquatica opens Ray Rush slide propelled by water jets

SeaWorld’s water park Aquatica opens Ray Rush slide propelled by water jets

SeaWorld’s promise to add new rides instead of animal entertainers is building steam as a new ride has opened in the company’s Aquatica waterpark in Orlando.Ray Rush, a new slide with an open air half-pipe that resembles a manta ray, opened a day ear...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/16/18
Active itineraries: More vacation packages combine travel and fitness

Active itineraries: More vacation packages combine travel and fitness

Diane DanielIf your resolution to get in shape still hasn’t quite gelled, consider an active vacation where fitness is factored into your trip. The options are all over the map, and they’re becoming ever more energetic."The move from more passive and...
Published: 05/10/18
Disney brings back After Hours tickets for Magic Kingdom this summer

Disney brings back After Hours tickets for Magic Kingdom this summer

Walt Disney World will bring back its separate ticket event called Disney After Hours that lets visitors into the Magic Kingdom on select nights this summer. It’s a chance to enjoy lighter crowds during the busiest time of the year at the world’s bus...
Updated one month ago
Sesame Street land is coming to SeaWorld Orlando

Sesame Street land is coming to SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld is building a Sesame Street-themed land to replace Shamu’s Happy Harbor play area on the south end of the park, with an expected completion in spring 2019. This will be the first time SeaWorld Orlando will have a daily parade that features E...
Updated one month ago
Enjoy a beach day in Mahahual, minutes from the cruise port in Costa Maya, Mexico

Enjoy a beach day in Mahahual, minutes from the cruise port in Costa Maya, Mexico

A trip to the Caribbean conjures up visions of swaying palms and a watercolor palette of blues, greens and shades in between. Just 10 minutes or so from the port of Costa Maya, Mexico, a fixture on most western Caribbean cruise itineraries, lies an i...
Updated one month ago