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SeaWorld Orlando | Penguin Trek | B&M Family Launch Coaster | 2024

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. Since COVID hit in 2020, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin has stood SBNO. Given that it's been shut for nearly 3 years now and the park have removed all references to it, it has long since been assumed to be defunct and awaiting a replacement. However, that replacement could finally be on its way. According to Screamscape, strong rumours are spreading about a partially enclosed family launch coaster being built to replace it in 2024 or 2025. Here's the gist of what Lance has to say regarding the rumour:
Screamscape said:
2024/2025 - Revised Antarctica Attraction / New Coaster - Rumor - (1/1/2023) We don’t know exactly who may supply the new launched coaster being planned for SeaWorld Orlando as a replacement for the closed Antarctica dark ride. Previous speculation has mostly been that it might be Intamin, as they are supplying the hardware for both of the 2023 “straddle” coasters coming to the San Diego and Williamsburg parks, as well as having built the one in Texas. However… the concept for the new coaster may still be out for others to bid on, as we received word from an insider claiming that reps from Mack Rides were also previously seen touring the site several weeks ago. Mack Rides was behind San Diego’s very popular launched Manta roller coaster, which provides for a thrilling multi-launch coaster experience with a layout that remains very close to the ground.

(12/29/2022) Would you believe that SeaWorld Orlando is preparing for another new roller coaster for 2024 or 2025? I’ve been sitting on this news for a bit as some elements were said to be a bit up in the air, but as I’ve pointed out before the park’s former Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin dark ride is kaput… dead… gone and buried. How did a perfectly good dark ride die so quickly? I’m not going to go into details, but from what I’ve heard let’s just say that when the entire park was shut down in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, the old ride system was not left in a state meant for long-term storage. Even when the park opened a few months later, they had no intention of opening the enclosed dark ride just yet, so it just sat idle for far too long.
So what’s next for SeaWorld? Well, the situation here is a bit more tricky, but if you look at what they’ve been building at their other parks you can probably make some good guesses as to what may be planned here… a new enclosed or semi-enclosed family-friendly roller coaster ride. A number of possibilities have been looked at as to just how they are going to do it, which is one reason I was sitting on this news for awhile.
Essentially SeaWorld was looking at options here similar to what they have under construction in SeaWorld San Diego (Arctic Rescue) and Busch Gardens Williamsburg (DarKoaster). However the repurposing of this particular structure is a bit more tricky as unlike those other projects, the former dark ride was integrated much more closely with the existing and still operational penguin habitat.
Well, it’s time to spill the beans on this project because construction work is now starting. Midway Mayhem’s latest video from SeaWorld (see below) mentions the rumor of putting a new coaster in there, and then goes over to discover construction fences have gone up between the pathway to the Pacific Point SeaLion exhibit and the backside of the former dark ride building, which is exactly where the new coaster project is going.
No major heavy lifting, clearing or deep digging just yet of course, but from what Screamscape was told we can expect the entrance to the new coaster to actually be where these new work walls are, and the old dark ride entrance area will be exclusively used for the ongoing use of the penguin exhibit. I don’t know the theme of the ride yet, but it is possible that the shift of the entrance out of the arctic themed section could possibly indicate a theme with a warner climate. I guess it depends on just how much of the coaster will take place inside the enclosed former dark ride structure and how much will be outdoors.
This leads to the question of ride style, which again, I’m not sure if this will be another “straddle” coaster with a Wave Runner or Snow Mobile theme like the Arctic Rescue coming to San Diego, or the previous Wave Breaker that opened in Texas. If so then that style would require a bit more outdoor track sections due to the launch concept, but then again they were said to be looking at smaller concepts like the fully enclosed DarKoaster project going into Williamsburg right now as well. Like all things, it was going to come down to cost, and how much of the old building area they felt they could re-use for the coaster and how much they were going to have to give up to the operations of the Penguin exhibit, along with the cost factor of adding any new buildings in the space available vs just building an open air coaster layout like they are doing in San Diego.
A quick aerial look at the site will reveal that there is very little open space back there, as the back of the Penguin building bumps up against the backside of the Kraken queue and station, with only a narrow but necessary access road between Kraken and Pacific Point that leads out towards Kraken’s Cobra Roll and trenches. With all that in mind, if I had to guess, the best thing we’re going to get for the coaster station to be enclosed in the dark ride building with maybe a short dark ride room or two before the launch that will probably sent the train out and around the backside of Pacific Point and back, and maybe through some of Kraken’s cobra roll area if need be. There is just very little undeveloped land out there to use unless they take some inspiration from the Texas coaster and feature some low-level twists and turns over the retention pond between Kraken and Mako before returning back to the station.
Just keep in mind that the majority of the backstage end of the Penguin building is the oldest section that was originally the Penguin Encounter exhibit, and the former Antarctica dark ride sections were added to the front side of that original structure. Stay tuned and keep your eyes open when visiting the park, as this project is just getting started.
Source: https://screamscape.com/html/seaworld_florida.htm

As Lance mentions, construction fences have now been erected around the area that backs onto the Antarctica ride building, as shown in Midway Mayhem's latest construction update on Pipeline:
(Go to 7:41 for the relevant section)

To me, this strongly suggests that something is happening with the area.

It was originally thought that the ride would be an Intamin straddle coaster, similar to Wave Breaker, DarKoaster and Arctic Rescue, but Mack Rides' name is now being thrown into the ring after Mack Rides staff were seen on the construction site. Due to much of Antarctica's former building being utilised for the penguin exhibit, it is thought that large sections of the ride will be outdoors, stretching over the ride area of Kraken and onto the lake between Kraken and Mako.

Interestingly, the ride's entrance area is thought to be located on the new area of land being cleared, with the current heavily-themed Antarctica area being kept solely for the penguin exhibit.

What do you guys reckon to this rumour? I think that coaster sounds like a good fit for the park if true; SeaWorld does lack a family coaster, seeing as even Ice Breaker has had issues meaning that it is now unable to fill this void. With that in mind, I think a family launch coaster would be a really nice addition!
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Roller Poster
If I had to take a wild guess, Mack is doing the SWO family Launch Coaster and Intamin is doing one for BGT a bit down the road.


Giga Poster
Recently SeaWorld has filed a new Fire Systems permit for the modification of the Antarctica building, dubbed Project Toboggan. Giving us a good look at the station, this is with certainty 100% a new coaster. Based on the air gates, we can assume that this is one of two things; an Intamin straddle coaster (Juvelen does seat 18 riders) or Mack YoungStar coaster, as its their one family coaster model that consistently takes out the front row of their 2x2 car setup in favor of a decor piece and they all seat 18 riders. Personally I'd be more open to betting on Intamin but we shall see.
First reported by Behind The Thrills
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Matt N

CF Legend
A prototype B&M for this project could be very interesting if it were to be one… stranger things have happened lately, and with B&M’s apparent entry into the market of tamer rides as of late, I certainly wouldn’t rule it out!

However, I’m still predicting an Intamin “straddle coaster” myself. SeaWorld seems to be rather enamoured with that ride type at the moment, and it would also make an awful lot of sense with the Antarctica theme the ride will probably be receiving (given its location within the Antarctica themed area).

The only thing leading me away from a “straddle coaster” is Hagrid’s. That ride is located just down the road and is arguably the magnum opus of that ride type… would SeaWorld really want to build that style of ride when they’re unlikely to be able to match the budget and grandeur of Hagrid’s?

I’m probably overthinking it, though, and I do think that a “straddle coaster” seems like the most likely option overall.


Giga Poster
Pretty crazy though that the park is actually really in need of a decent dark ride and they are ripping out one of their only dark rides for yet another rollercoaster.


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
Pretty crazy though that the park is actually really in need of a decent dark ride and they are ripping out one of their only dark rides for yet another rollercoaster.
I'll be honest - hadn't a clue there was actually a trackless dark ride in there until I just looked it up. I guess the vile smell of fish has me quickly passing through that section of the park as I make my way to Mako. 😅


Hyper Poster
Doing some very iffy measurements of the proposed station, I believe the length of this 9-row train will be somewhere around 52ft long. In my mind, that excludes an Intamin Straddle coaster, as a 9-car train would be far longer than 52ft. 9 sets of air gates is certainly interesting. Each gate being spaced equally from the next makes me think it will be individually trailered cars. Working with that assumption, and assuming that this will actually be a FAMILY coaster, I could see a few different things here with 9 rows:

Vekoma LIM Family Coaster:
Something similar to Big Bear Mountain, this would give the park a proper family coaster and still be enjoyable for all. 39" height requirement would do wonders there. Only con to this would be 3 continuous launch coaster additions, but that hasn't been an issue with SEAS.

Skyline Attractions TrailRunner Family Coaster:
This would absolutely fall into the rumored 'prototype' category. With Skyline being located in Orlando, it wouldn't be the craziest concept that they'd get their first swing at a TrailRunner right in town.

Gerstlauer Family Semi-Shuttle:
Thinking along the lines of Firechaser Express or Wakala here. Low height requirement, very cool layout potential, forward & backward sections, etc.. More of these in the world is a good timeline.

Intamin Hot Racer:
This was the very first idea I had upon seeing the station, but it makes very little sense as an addition here. Low capacity, generally meant to have inversions, potential to be family oriented but not really. and did I mention low capacity?

Anyway, that's my initial thoughts. Shame SEAS can't keep up the dark ride, but a family coaster (that was intended to be one and fills that role, not you Ice Breaker) is also pretty needed at SWO.


Mega Poster
I can't remember if they ever said it publicly but surely this is all part of a concerted effort to rebrand their image from live porpoise shows to coaster and thrill destination. Which is honestly a smart move, good theme parks seem to do pretty well without the controversial shows---so why put up with all that nonsense if they don't have to? either way, more coasters for us is always good

Matt N

CF Legend
Zachary from ParkFans, an ever-reliable source for SeaWorld leaks who has successfully leaked projects including Pipeline, DarKoaster and Pantheon in the past, has gained access to the site plan for Project Toboggan (the codename for this coaster), and him and various others believe that they have deduced what this ride will be.

Everyone (myself included) seems to have been betting on an Intamin straddle coaster similar to other recent SeaWorld acquisitions like Arctic Rescue and DarKoaster, and indeed, this was the outcome that Zachary himself was assuming prior to delving into the siteplan in more detail. However, the outcome reached after delving into the siteplan is a rather unorthodox one that I'm sure not too many would have expected... according to Zachary, the siteplan hints towards a B&M sit-down family coaster.

Now, I'm aware that that probably sounds like a ludicrous prediction to make when there are so many more obvious candidates within the family coaster market than B&M. Without context, it would not sound like the most likely option. However, Zachary was clearly aware of this, as he disclosed the many pieces of evidence leading him to suspect that Project Toboggan will be a prototype B&M. These are as follows:
  • The earlier station plan showed 9 sets of airgates spaced far apart and in equal intervals, which was what led everyone to suspect an Intamin straddle coaster in the first place. This is corroborated by the siteplan, and Zachary measured the total station length to be 52ft and the airgate spacing to be 2.6ft. Using the previously leaked plans for DarKoaster and Arctic Rescue that he had access to, Zachary determined that the regular airgate spacing for an Intamin straddle coaster is 3.8ft, and each car of an Intamin straddle coaster is 7ft long. Therefore, the length of a 9-car Intamin straddle coaster train would be 63ft, which in itself is 11ft longer than Project Toboggan's whole station, thus ruling out an Intamin straddle coaster.
  • An interior floorplan for Project Toboggan suggests that the anticipated envelope width is 10-11ft, which is par for the course for a coaster with 2-across seating.
  • The support frequency was noticed to be surprisingly sparse compared to common family coaster models such as those manufactured by Intamin, Vekoma, Zierer and Gerstlauer, which would suggest an unusually robust track design for a family coaster.
  • The footer plan for Project Toboggan had the exact same naming code as that of other B&M coasters, such as Pipeline, Thunderbird and Dorney Park's 2024 Dive Coaster.
  • Project Toboggan also uses the exact same footer/support types as B&M use, in exactly the same contexts.
  • The 2.6ft airgate spacing was also considerably larger than that of most currently available family coaster models, with the closest match being B&M's Family Inverted Coasters in China. It should be noted that the Family Inverted Coaster is sold as a line of B&M's wider Family Coaster model, which "can be designed with vehicles running above or below the track" according to B&M's website. If the train design for B&M's sit-down family coaster were to be the same as their Family Inverted Coaster trains, but simply put above the track rather than below, then it would fit Project Toboggan's specifications perfectly.
The siteplan was also used to come up with the following predicted layout, which shows 2 launches, a dark ride section and various twists, turns and airtime moments:

To read about his predictions in more detail, here is his original post on ParkFans: https://parkfans.net/threads/seawor...4-antarctica-family-coaster.7586/#post-290060

The overhead view of the deduced layout is as follows: