Ice Breaker certainly doesn’t have the adrenaline-fear of Mako, the fastest coaster in Orlando.
Nor does Ice Breaker carry the sweetness of the park’s Sesame Street Land that’s aimed at the littlest ones.
Instead, SeaWorld Orlando‘s newest ride aims somewhere down the middle. Children (most likely in elementary school) who are at least 48 inches tall can ride Ice Breaker, but the roller coaster is intense enough that the big kids won’t be disappointed. Packed into 102 seconds are four launches and 13 thrilling airtime moments.
“There’s more airtime moments on Ice Breaker than there is on Mako, so it does pack a punch,” said Jonathan Smith, SeaWorld’s corporate vice president of rides and engineering.
Ice Breaker officially opens on Feb. 18, but the park held a media event Thursday. Park pass holders get early entry over the next few weeks before the official ride opening.
Ice Breaker, which had been delayed for nearly two years during the pandemic, is SeaWorld’s first new attraction since Sesame Street Land opened in 2019 and Infinity Falls in 2018.
The ride travels up to 52 mph, taking passengers both forward and backward and on twists. It goes up a vertical dead-end spike at more than 90 feet in the air.
Down the street, Universal and Disney are investing heavily into new attractions, particularly the thrill rides. For years, SeaWorld has fallen into third place but before the pandemic, the company had been rebounding and growing its attendance. SeaWorld is expected to release its fourth-quarter earnings in the next few weeks, but the past financials have shown the crowds are returning since the pandemic disrupted the theme park industry.
SeaWorld is optimistic Ice Breaker, with up to 800-riders-an-hour capacity, can help grow attendance at the Orlando park, said Rob McNicholas, vice president of operations.
“It’s going to be a big draw,” he said.
The orange and turquoise coaster built by manufacturer Premier Rides breathes new life into that section of the park, McNicholas said.
The first riders are giving positive reviews.
“I liked it,” said Matt Roseboom, publisher of the Orlando-based Attractions Magazine, after he rode it. “It’s definitely more intense than it looks from the ground.”