De­tails about new wa­ter ride headed to SeaWorld,

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By De­wayne Bevil Staff Writer dbevil@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com; 407-420-5477; Twit­ter: @The­meParks

Here are five things we’ve learned about In­fin­ity Falls, the river raft ride com­ing to SeaWorld Or­lando in 2018. The at­trac­tion’s ride ve­hi­cle, a round, blue-and-green eight­seater, was un­veiled at the IAAPA At­trac­tions Expo at the Or­ange County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter on Tues­day.

The cli­mac­tic end­ing will be a 40-foot drop, a world record for a river raft ride, said Brian Morrow, vice pres­i­dent for theme park ex­pe­ri­ence for SeaWorld Parks & En­ter­tain­ment.

It falls, so to speak, in the cat­e­gory of fam­ily ad­ven­ture ride.

SeaWorld’s con­ser­va­tion mis­sion is seep­ing out­side its usual box. “It’s part of SeaWorld’s mis­sion to tell new sto­ries be­yond just our oceans, but re­ally about the con­nec­tive eco­log­i­cal tis­sue around the coun­try and around the planet — and that’s the rivers and streams that make their way to the oceans them­selves,” Morrow said.

The ve­hi­cles are tricked out to look like part of a base camp that’s in­cor­po­rated into the In­fin­ity Falls sto­ry­line. “It’s sup­posed to re­sem­ble this sci­en­tific out­post,” said Mike Den­ninger, vice pres­i­dent of rides and engi­neer­ing. “They’re in the rain for­est. They’ve es­tab­lished a base camp. … This re­sem­bles their con­veyance to move their equip­ment and them­selves around the river.”

They’re go­ing for a cool, fu­tur­is­tic, sci­en­tific look, Morrow said, a draw for young guests “who will come to our park and be in­spired, that they, too, can be sci­en­tists.

“Sci­ence is cool,” he said. “Sci­ence is con­tem­po­rary and mod­ern, and we need those sci­en­tists to help us save the planet to­day and into the fu­ture.” An un­usual ver­ti­cal lift will carry rid­ers and rafts to the top of the river. “It’s hoisted up very quickly. It’s ac­tu­ally a lit­tle ride el­e­ment unto it­self,” Den­ninger says.

As for the trip down: “It’s not a roller coaster — but you do get a nice slide down and a nice good splash at the bot­tom. It’s good for the rid­ers and … you also get a good non­rider vis­ual of that ex­pe­ri­ence.”

But how wet will we get? “We stud­ied how much wa­ter is good and how much wa­ter is just too much. There is a bal­ance there,” Den­ninger said.

“We have the abil­ity to sort of tweak up and down how much wa­ter gets into the raft,” he said. “We think it’s go­ing to be just right.”

JOE BUR­BANK/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Brian Mar­row un­veils the pas­sen­ger raft of the In­fin­ity Falls at­trac­tion com­ing to SeaWorld Or­lando in 2018. The re­veal came in press con­fer­ence Tues­day at the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Amuse­ment Parks and At­trac­tions an­nual con­ven­tion at the Or­ange County Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

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