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SeaWorld announces opening date for Mako, Orlando's highest and fastest roller coaster

Brace yourself thrill seekers, the fastest, tallest and longest roller coaster in Orlando will open June 10, SeaWorld announced Monday.

Mako, a shark-themed hypercoaster — a designation given to a roller coaster with a drop greater than 200 feet — is the central attraction of a new two-acre shark realm in the Orlando theme park. The area will also include Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, gift shops, and shark- and shipwreck-themed educational experiences.

It is an example of SeaWorld's new business model, CEO Joel Manby said last month when he announced the company will no longer breed orcas and will phase out theatrical shows in the next two years. Manby pointed to the opening of Mako as an example of the way the company will champion sea life with educational exhibits and create attractions based on them.

Named for one of the ocean's fastest known sharks, Mako will put riders on a coaster train to the top, at 200 feet tall, then drop at a top speed of 73 miles per hour before a 125-foot turn into a 115-foot airtime hill, giving riders a moment of weightlessness.

Starting Monday, the park began showing a new live presentation for visitors who want a preview of the ride design, construction and experience. The presentation, called Mako Rising, is being shown at Nautilus Theater daily at 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.

Admission to SeaWorld is $99 or $79 if purchased in advance at SeaWorld.com. For Florida residents, SeaWorld is offering free admission through the end of 2016 to children 5 and under whose parents register for a Preschool Card. The card must be activated by May 27.

Attendance, revenues and the company's stock price had dropped sharply after the 2013 documentary Blackfish called into question the treatment of killer whales at SeaWorld. That led to a management shakeup and a year ago the company installed Manby as CEO. Since announcing an end to orca breeding, SeaWorld has seen more than a 20 percent increase in its stock.

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

SeaWorld announces opening date for Mako, Orlando's highest and fastest roller coaster 04/04/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2016 1:39pm]
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